Saltwater fly fishing has become a very popular sport, and the Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware has become a very popular fishing club. The popularity of saltwater fly fishing is not the only reason the club has attracted 160 members. From what I have seen, it is the many good things the club does that has allowed it to attract and hold so many members.
During the winter, the club meets every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon at Lewes Harbour Marina for what is billed as a fly-tying session. Granted, many beautiful flies are tied during these meetings, but just as many donuts and other sweet pastries are consumed, and even more fishing tales are told.
These Saturday morning get-togethers are not formal club meetings. Everyone just shows up and claims a spot at one of the tying tables or along the counter where the food is displayed.
The formal meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the Rolling Meadows Club House in the Rolling Meadows development off Route 1 behind the Wawa in the southbound lane. These meetings attract 50 to 70 members, and fly-tying demonstrations are given or perhaps an interesting speaker may address the members.
The one thing the club never does is get involved in politics. Its constitution forbids the club from making comments on any issue, and I believe this is one of the reasons the group has been so successful.
John Lupinetti is the current president of the group that was the brainchild of Don Avondolio. I have known John since the days of the World Championship Weakfish Tournament, and Don was already writing for the Fisherman Magazine when I started there in 1973.
Don had been an active saltwater fly fisherman on his native Long Island, N.Y., before relocating to Delaware. Once here, he saw the potential for fly fishing and decided to start a local fly fishing club. The rest, as they say, is history.
The club participates in several shows during the year including Lure Fest in Bowers Beach and Coast Day in Lewes. Members are there to show visitors how to tie flies and educate those who are interested in joining the group.
In addition to these events, the club will go as a group to shows such as Lefty Kreh’s Tie Fest in Maryland and the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset, N.J. I have not attended the Tie Fest, but have been to the show in Somerset. If it exists in the world of fly fishing, it will be at this show.
Interclub events include the annual picnic, holiday dinner and group fishing along the bay in Lewes. The summer meetings are held at Cape Henlopen, and as soon as business is completed the membership heads for the beach and some fly fishing.
One charity the group supports is Project Healing Waters. The objective is to get wounded military personnel out on the water and give them instructions on fly fishing. The club does this on a regular basis, and the results have been rewarding for the members and very helpful for the service members. Fly fishing is good physical therapy as well as giving the wounded men and women a feeling of accomplishment.
If you think this is a club you would like to join, stop by the Saturday morning tying event or one of the regular meetings at Rolling Meadows. For more information, Google Saltwater Fly Anglers of Delaware. Even if you don’t fly fish, it is worth a visit and, who knows, you just may pick up a new hobby.
Anyone who hunts or uses Delaware Wildlife Areas should attend the workshop put on by the DNREC Fish and Wildlife Division at the Georgetown campus of Delaware Technical Community College at 7 p.m., next Tuesday, Jan. 12. The state is proposing to raise fees for hunting and trapping licenses and create a Conservation Access Pass for state wildlife areas. It should be an interesting meeting.
Not much to report due to the holiday season and the cold weather. I do think the best of the rockfish run is yet to come. My friends in New Jersey are still catching fish from boats and from the surf. The last reports I had locally indicate there were still a good number of big rock off Wildwood, N.J.
Captain John Nedelka on the Karen Sue out of Indian River called to tell me about his success on tog. He has had trips with lots of dog sharks and a few tog and trips with limits of tog and no dog sharks. Tog action should improve as the water cools.
Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age. Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast. Eric can be reached at Eburnle@aol.com.