Mark McManus with a nice fly caught crappie!
Another feisty crappie on the " Sneaky Pete".
Last weekend Chris and Lee fished at the Indian River Inlet. They arrived in the afternoon and fished into the night. The tide set up just right as the light changes started and they were able to stick some fish. Chris is a very experienced caster and tier but most of his fishing is from the beach. We worked on adapting his game to the currents and seams of the Inlet.
We are strong proponents of circle hooks in the shop. They help when blues are int he water since they tend to hook the fish in the corner of the mouth, they do not get stuck in the rocks as often and since the points are turned under they do not dull when back casts hit the rocks or the beach.
Our trips are not just for catching. they are learning opportunities. Chris wanted to expand his game and we helped fill some gaps. If you are new and just looking to get a head start or are an experienced angler that wants to branch out into an aspect of fly fishing that you have not mastered yet give us a call and we can construct a trip to match your needs.
Last week Terry and I dunked the Outcast PAC-13 in the river for her maiden voyage down the Brandywine. Obviously we took along fishing gear, but this was to be more of a "dry run" for the float trips we will be running this summer. We put it in at our uppermost put-in (at this time) the Lenape picnic park and floated to one of our take-outs on a private section of the Brandywine.
We started off drifting down the river with Terry on the oars and me on the bow. One thing became apparent right off the bat. Casting and fishing out of a drift boat is NOTHING like walk and wade fishing! After a few impromptu lessons from the boss and a learning curve that I made much harder than it needed it to be we started to get in sync. Pick up, cast, strip, strip, strip, repeat. There is no time for false casting and the strip is an aggressive, long , fast strip. One thing I had to wrap my brain around is that the boat is always moving down river. Shortly into the trip the first ever fish to be landed on the boat came to hand...
As we continued to float down the river Terry remarked at how easy the boat was to maneuver. I was surprised at the complexity of the oarsman's job. There is much more to rowing a drift boat than just floating down the middle of the river. Positioning for a river left or a river right cast, back rowing, looking for casting obstructions etc. are all part of the job. With two fishermen in the boat this will be quite the intense job. Terry had me in the game the whole afternoon, a true professional!
About an hour into the float we really started to get things down and started to land a few fish including a few nice Smallmouth. Unfortunately, the nicest fish had other plans when it came to picture time and back in the river she went. A solid 15 to 16" Bronze-back was the days best. One thing for sure, once you float in this boat you won't ever want to float in a canoe again. The stability of this boat is amazing. Weather sitting or standing casting is no problem. With the two of us and enough gear to stay on the river for two or three days the boat floated in less than 6" of water! The bow casting platform is very roomy and easy to work from. At no point did I feel like it was too small. If my back started to hurt I would just sit down and cast from the seat, the line of sight was not as good, but it was a nice break from standing.
Here is a short video of Terry bringing the boat through a narrow section of the river. Believe me, he makes this look easy. This was a tough slot to navigate.
If you have been thinking about floating the Brandywine, or looking to cross a few fish off of your "Challenge" list let me say there is no more comfortable way to do it than in our PAC-13 drift boat. If you have been floating in a canoe you really should try the PAC-13, the stability in this boat is unbelievable. Give us a call at the shop (302)654-6515 or contact us through email here if you are interested in more details about out summer float trips down the Brandywine. July is already starting to fill, but August is wide open. We look forward to hearing from you.
What a great week it was. Good reports from our local Trout rivers, the Shad are showing up in good fishable numbers, and the salt water seems to be turning on. We had a much needed rain storm last weekend that blew all of the local water for a few days. No fishing was had last weekend, but, I will swap a weekend of fishing for good, strong water levels any day. The weather has been crazy. I actually had to scrape frost off of my windshield the other day, I don't ever remember doing that on the 14th of May. This "true" spring we are having will hopefully set us up for good fishing throughout the summer. During years like this in the past we have had great trout fishing until the 4th of July and that is just fine with me.
The East branch of the Brandywine has been fishing strong. Terry has taken a few guide clients there and good fishing for them as well as a few of our customers lead me to believe this is the place to be. A large influx of stocked fish last week will have attractor patterns bringing their fair of fish to hand. Weenies, Worms, and Buggers will produce on the fresh stockers. If you prefer to stay to the science side of things May is Sulphur time and Sulphurs have been spotted on most of our local rivers. Rick had a great day fishing a Harrop emerger last weekend. Check out some of the pics. The rises seem to start late in the afternoon and continue late into the evening. Before the afternoon rises a tandem nymphing or a dry and dropper rig should be just the ticket. Be sure to have plenty of Sulphur dries in all stages and a heavy dose of Pheasant Tails. Don't forget the Caddis as these bugs will be with us for the duration. Elk Hair Caddis, X Caddis, CDC and Elk and Goddard Caddis are all great choices for the adult, for the larva the nondescript bead head larva will fill the bill.
This pattern should hold true on all of our local rivers for the next several weeks. Get yourself a good supply of Sulphur and Caddis adults, add in a verity of nymphs and larva and have a blast.
A few of Rick's shots from last weekend.
The Hickory Shad are showing up in fishable numbers. This years run is not the epic runs we had in 2005, 06, and 07, but there are fish to be had. It seems like moving around is the better bet rather than camping out in a single area. The best report we have heard has been about 50 fish in a extended evening of fishing, but, more realistic numbers are 10 to 25 fish in an evening. The evenings seem to be more productive than the mornings. Last weeks rains have the water level in Deer Creek up so a Versa leader or a short sink tip may be a good idea. The shops "Deer Creek S Fly" have been producing well, as well as the Micky Finn streamer. Anything bright and shiny will get a reactionary strike. We are never sure how long this run will last, so get down there as soon as you can to take advantage of this ever changing fishery.
These next pictures are from a Shad guide trip on Monday. Special thanks to Jim S. for taking these great shots.
The salt water reports we are getting are promising. A 41 inch Striper won the local surf fishing tournament last weekend, and several Flounder were caught also. Reports of Weakfish have been coming in as well with the area between the piers at Cape Henlopen being especially active. Roosevelt Inlet and the ferry wall deserve a look. Closures and Deceivers are always a good choice. If smaller bait is present some smaller Sand Eel imitations or glass minnows will be just the thing. Grab your 8 or 9 weight and head south, you just may hook your biggest fish of the year now!
With good action on the Trout rivers, Shad in Deer Creek, and the salt water action heating up it is a great time of year. Remember, Smallmouth fishing is just around the corner. Until next time...
Just add fish..
It has been quite a busy few weeks since the last report. We Hope everybody had a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Hopefully you were able to get out on one of our local streams during the extended holiday weekend. Local Trouting remains strong and we have had good reports from the White Clay, West branch of the Octoraro, and the East Branch of the Brandywine. Realize we are getting very close to full blown winter fishing conditions. Water temps have been hovering at or around 40 degrees and the water is thin and gin clear. Now is the time to get real friendly with your micro nymph box. Zebra midges in black or red will carry most of my winter fishing duty. The deadly tandem of a KF Flasher (a Zebra midge with a Krystal flash wing) and a tungsten Zebra, black with a silver bead and rib will always produce underneath. On top CDC puffs are one of my favorite Midge drys (thanks Rick for teaching me this pattern) or a Griffiths Gnat should get the job done. Remember all of these flies are a size 20 or smaller, told ya it was winter time! Prime times to be on the water are from 10:00 am till about 2:00 pm. That is what Rick did last week. He said he had solid action on top for over 2 hours. In that time several fish came to hand including these 2 beauties. all on a CDC puff.
Terry guided Dr John last Monday for the first guide trip of the winter season. They met at the shop at 11:00 and were on the water by 11:45. They fished till dark and had a wonderful afternoon. Bug action on top was minimal so they started off drifting 2 nymphs under an indicator. They spent the day working up river switching between a tandem indicator rig and a dry and dropper. It is kind of ironic that on a day with minimal bug activity that the biggest fish of the day would come on the attractor dry they were using as an indicator...a stout, 18" brown. Several fish were landed that day including a 5" rainbow with par marks on the sides. "Definitely a wild fish" Terry says, a great sign. We haven't seen a wild fish on that particular river in over 10 years. A great day on the river was capped off by a mature Bald Eagle flying overhead at dusk. Sounds like an awesome day, I wish I had been there with you.
If you have ever met Doc you know he is one of the nicest, most genuine people you will ever meet. He was in the shop recounting his day on the river with me and you could tell he had a blast. He told me he actually went home that night and tried to write down as many of the things that Terry taught him that day as he could remember. I have the feeling this is not the last time Doc and the boss will spend a day on the river.
For more information on our guided trips check out the "Guiding" tab on the home page. Give us a call and book a day on the water, like Dr John, you will be glad you did.
WCFF Holiday Stocking
As we approach Christmas we all should be thinking about the Holiday Stocking program that the White Clay Fly Fishers do every year. Please stop by the shop and take a look at the beautiful rod that is up for raffle. Rick Daring built an awesome Gatti 5 weight and then donated it to the club to raffle off to raise money for the Holiday Stocking. 100% of the money raised will go the the purchase of fish to be stocked in the middle branch of the White Clay. Last year enough money was raised to put almost 1200 fish in the river. They were stocked right after Christmas and we had good fishing through the winter months. We have the rod on display at the shop, stop by, take a look, and get a few tickets. WCFF and A Marblehaed Flyfisher inc thank you for your support of a great cause.
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