I will be fishing at Indian Head Inlet in Delaware with a friend this weekend. Neither of us have ever fished here before and I was wondering if anyone has suggestions as to rod weight , lines and flies to use.
Lots of Hickory shad around and bluefish right now. At night you might find some stripers on the shadow lines of the bridge or off the jetty.
The shad and blues are averaging about 15-18" so fish a rod that works for that size fish and a fly that looks like a 2-3" silver side. I've done well with a 5wt or an 8wt. Sinking line would help but not needed. Stripping basket will help too. Corkers will help stick to the rocks if you plan on walking out on the jetty.
My buddy and I arrived at Indian River Inlet (north parking lot) at 7:30am. This was the first time fishing this area and I thought it was a circus. The outgoing rips were rippin' and there were boats drift fishing around the bridge while other boats and jet skis were going full-speed in and out of the inlet. I guess this is why it's one of the 10 most dangerous inlets in the USA.
We walked to the jetty and it was already packed with folks chucking heavy lead (flounder) into the rips. We found a spot midway out and fished. I was using a 9-wt with a slow-sink SA striper line and my buddy used an 8-wt with a SA fast sink line. We used baitfish patterns, clousers and deceivers in various colors from size 2-6. Length from 2-5 inches. Fished this spot for about 2 hours, moving up and down the jetty as folks gave up spots. No serious bites but we caught some TINY black-spotted fish that looked like a grouper or snapper. I also caught 2 mussels.
With no action on the jetty we fished the north side of the beach. We walked until we hit a sign banning vehicles then fished back to the inlet. Again, no hits. Water was beautiful though with little surf.
We then fished a breakwater near the entrance to the marina, following a path past the Coast Guard station (not the CG museum) and some rental cottages. Lots of boats were drift fishing near this area. Again---nothing except some of those tiny black fish. It seems that everyone was fishing the bottom for flounder but not many people were catching anything even those fishing from boats. Of course, we got the old, " Man, you should have been here LAST weekend. There were tons of fish!"
The weather was probably too nice because after our lunch break the crowd had thickened around the inlet so we tried to fish some of the pull-offs heading back to town (Savage Ditch, Conquest Rd, etc) BUT every parking lot was packed and at some spots the US Park Service and police had the entrances blocked off and were turning folks away. We did get into Conquest Rd., but when we hit the beach it was packed with folks swimming or fishing.
We went back to fish the jetty at Indian River and again near the Coast Guard station but only caught more tiny black fish and I caught 2 more mussels.
Silverside flies (size 2-6)
Generic baitfish patterns in several colors (1/0-4)
Shrimp patterns (4-8), beach only but tried one near the jetty for a few casts
Crab patterns (2-4)
All with flurocarbon leaders.
Despite not catching much I used this trip as a scouting mission. I like the area and would go back again. I was also planning to drop in on Cape Henlopen but decided to spend the day around the inlet (traffic was a problem too).
Thanks to Salmo for the tips and the folks at Salisbury Fly Shop.
just got back from a week there. chummed up blues at db bouy. got blues on the fly on the incoming in the inlet itself. went out with my lady a couple of nights and were the only ones out there. ocean was like a mill pond. was gonna run to the lightship and chum for pelagic species but ended up not ... let me know if ican help wiht any more intel....
You'll do well to fish the south jetty, after 6 pm. This is when the folks leave the beach for dinner.
The reason I like the south jetty is that it is much safer, closer to the parking lot, (and the porta pots!), and there is lots of room to flycast. The north jetty is usually elbow to elbow, and that's not good for a fly rod.
Get there two hours prior to any tide- either incoming or outgoing, and take the fastest sinking line you have- the current there really rips!
Fly selection- deceivers, eel patterns, squid (yeah, squid!), sand eels, clousers all work.
You can also try poppers with a floating line once the tide goes slack - this can be really exciting.
Good luck and be safe.
Forgot to mention- you'll also want to check out the north side, but the inside portion of the groin from the beach-this is a good spot to cast from the beach into the protected corner, where a lot of baitfish seek refuge, and where bigger fish look for a snack.
Remember- moving water means fish.
Have fun and fish safe.
Thanks to everyone for the tips. I would definitely try the Inlet and beach again and bring a fast sink line. The intermediate I was using worked in the surf, but not in the Inlet. It just did not sink fast enough. Is there a better time during the year to fish this area or is it good year-round?
Fall and Spring are good. In the summer you can have an explosion of schoolie 18" fish around too. The inlet holds stripers all year long. It's not the easiest place in the world to fish but you can score on occasion.
I've done very well there in early November when they do the Pumpkin Chunkin thing and again just after Memorial Day weekend. Most people swear that Thanksgiving is the perfect time to be there. To each his own. But a wise man once said, the best time to go fishing is when you can.