So Why Fly Fishing?
I’m often asked what the appeal of fly fishing is, or what drew me to fly fishing, or – often – “isn’t it boring?” That last one gets me fired up and I end up taking the inquirer down a long path where I try to enlighten them on the subtleties of fly fishing.
This topic itself has come up in my head as I think about “where does fly fishing belong in the world of Delaware Surf Fishing?” Some may know that I’m fortunate enough to have been guiding for trout in Maryland for a few years. As a guide I get quite a few days on the water and a lot of time hiking the streams and watching bugs. There is nothing more peaceful to me. Trout fishing is what gets me up early in the morning. It is trout fishing that keeps me up late tying flies in the old coal room under the front porch and on the road in the winter traveling to shows and clubs. After all the years obsessively chasing the dream of a life in fishing I find myself alone in the truck at the end of the day calling my father and brother and old friends to tell them my tales. Every call ends with some version of “we’ll fish together soon.”
I try to avoid the fishing beaches mid-summer when there are sand spikes as far as the eye can see. Don’t get me wrong, I have a rack of bait runners and plugging rods down in the basement, I’d just rather wait till dark. As a transplanted angler (I’ve moved around quite a bit over the years) my extended family has made the Delaware shores their home. I live in DC and try to make every effort to visit. The beaches and ponds of Delaware have become the place where I get my fishing-fix with my father and brother.
Many years ago we made the jump to night time angling for striped bass. The late nights on the beach with my family are where I’m transplanted back to an era where I was a young guy who worked to fish. That was a stage in life when I could be found sleeping in the back of my truck somewhere near Seaside, NJ or up in NY State or even driving all night to freeze my butt off when one of my brothers moved out to Ohio. In our 40’s there is still nostalgia in cruising the beach in our waders at night in the fall. Countless cups of coffee and donuts have been eaten together standing over the hood of an old truck – I still have a family hand-me-down that everyone offers to buy back when I’m ready to move on.
Some of my best fishing memories are waiting in line for one particular donut shop to open up the back doors for the bar crowd at midnight with my family and friends and I, all in waders. If you’ve never eaten a pound of fried dough and washed it down with your own personal half-gallon of chocolate milk at 1:00 am then you haven’t lived. None of it is about the fish.
Fly fishing certainly isn’t the most efficient way to catch a fish. Not by a long way. It is, for me anyway, the never ending journey that I have been on with family for as long as I can remember. As long as we all still have fly fishing I know we’ll always have something to get together over.
Knee Deep Fly Fishing
Huge thanks to Micah Dammeyer for contributing to Delaware Surf Fishing. I am looking forward to his stories, advice, and general tom foolery on the water this year. You can follow Micah’s Adventures on Knee Deep Fly Fishing’s Facebook page.