The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will be hosting free introductory fly fishing lessons on Saturday, September 24 and Saturday, October 1 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Aquatic Resources Education Center, 2520 Lighthouse Road , Smyrna. The DNREC Fish and Wildlife Division and the White Clay Fly Fishers Club will provide instruction. Participants are encouraged to bring their own fly fishing gear, but there will be gear available for those who don’t.
Licensed anglers 16 and older must register at de.gov/arec. Exempt anglers must have their FIN number.
It all sounds very innocent, but I have to warn you, fly fishing is addictive. It’s like my first cigarette from my older cousin behind the barn on his father’s farm. I was 12 years old. When I finally quit, I was 24.
First, you start by catching sunfish in the local pond or stream. They are easy and will hit just about anything. Then it’s trout on opening day in a downstate pond or New Castle County creek. Then the fly fishing part of White Clay Creek where you meet lots of other tribesmen. Soon they’ll have you talking about Wooly Buggers, Hoppers, Royal Coachmen and the hugely popular Green Weenie.
Finally, you’ll start to frown upon those of us who resort to Worms, Corn, Flashy Spinners, and Gulps! twist the tails to catch our trout. Barbarians, you will call us.
But the worst is yet to come – when the first Orvis catalog arrives and your eyes glaze over and your credit card screams in pain. It starts with the vest. The vest has hundreds of pockets and you have to fill each of them. There are also small dangling things that you need to hang stuff on. This stuff costs money. The fact that a pair of $2 nail clippers would do the same job as a pair of $50 nail clippers is not even considered.
Fly tying materials come next. After watching the Delaware Saltwater Fly-Fishers fly Saturday morning at Lewes Harbor Marina, apparently you can’t have too much gear. I will say that these ladies and gentlemen will share everything they have with each other.
I almost hate to mention fly lines, leaders, rods and reels. I admit I have a few rods and reels for light tackle, surf, creek, deep water groundfish and at some point offshore fishing. Much the same happens with fly fishing. They have different rod lengths and weights for different types of fishing. Same with the fly lines. Different cones, weights and floating or sinking. Leaders come in all sorts of lengths and breaking strengths.
And a final warning, fly fishermen really do fish! This is going to come as a shock to us surf anglers who cast off, put the rod in a sand spike, then sit back, enjoy a cool drink and wait for a fish to bite. Fly fishing requires constant casts and retrieves.
Trolling is also a bit of a passive sport. You lay the lines, then watch them until a fish hits the lures. When you fly fish from a boat, you troll until a fish enters the spread and the captain disengages the boat. The fisherman throws fish from a dead boat.
So, before you enroll in the fly fishing course, remember that it could be life changing.
There have been a number of comments on social media about survey boats operating in the ocean near 3R Beach. I had no idea we had so many engineers and fishing experts, and their insightful feedback is truly appreciated. I certainly hope that the next time there is a public forum, they will share their knowledge in this format. I was the only angler at the last forum and it was really lonely.
The boats are testing the bottom of the beach in search of the best location to bring ashore the electrical cables for the wind turbines that will be built in the ocean. Once they are done in the ocean, they will travel to Indian River Bay and do the same job there.
I know there are many people who believe they can stop windmills, but I don’t think so. What we may be able to do is work with the engineers to get the best possible fishing result. We can try to bury the cables as deep as possible. Get the water around the open windmills for fishing. Renewable energy is the future. Fossil fuel is as dead as the dinosaurs that make it up.