Fishing Styles -- Mastering the Art of Still-Fishing

Hello, Blog Readers! 

It's been a good while since I wrote a technical post here; thus, I have worked a couple days to bring you this post on one of my favorite fishing styles: still-fishing


April 12th, 2014 - Still-fishing at Kelly Drive (Schuylkill River).

As a side note, this is the first post of my new "fishing style" series! This series of posts will portray not only the basics of different fishing styles and techniques, but also the not so trivial aspects in each one of them. Additionally, they will contain hints and knowledge that are not usually found in fishing books or other websites. In other words, these posts will be partially based on my own understandings and my field experiences in the sport (a.k.a. fishing trips!). Note that these posts will also help me a lot in the process of answering technical questions through e-mail and on the EPF Facebook Page. Through the years, I've noticed that many readers have difficulty finding information on "what to use," "how to fish," "what to do," etc (one of the reasons why forums and drama exist). Therefore, this series will work as a type of FAQ (Frequent Asked Questions) in disguise, saving me the time to answer each technical question individually.

Because this post is a little bit long, I've divided it in different sections for better organization:

1. Definition -- What is still-fishing?
2. Misconceptions -- There's much more to it as it sounds. 
3. FGB: Fish, Gear, and Bait -- Choose your target and adapt.
4. HWW: How? Where? Why? -- Increase your efficiency. 
5. Physics and Forces -- It's not just about casting and waiting.
6. Be a Steward -- Conclusion and additional notes. 

1. Definition -- What is still-fishing?   

The first thing that you need to know is that the word "still-fishing" is legit (yes -- I'm not a lunatic, and I didn't make it up). After searching through many online and hand dictionaries, I've come to the conclusion that Merriam-Webster does the best job in giving an accurate definition of it: "to fish with the line and bait resting still or stationary in water." Note that most dictionaries' definitions included the words "on the bottom," which actually portrays a huge misconception when it comes to still-fishing. I'll talk more about this in section 2 (Misconceptions). 

So, according to this general definition, it's very likely that every angler in this planet has practiced still-fishing at a certain point in life. Very likely, you yourself started the sport with the art of still-fishing: casting a float and letting it drift or casting some bait and let it sink. Aren't you proud now? Now you can go all out and tell people that "once upon a time, I was a still-fisher" (and you may still be one nowadays). As a matter of fact, still-fishing is not only a legit style, but also the oldest one when it comes to the history of fishing. For more details on fishing's history, you may click here for an older post. The first part of that post talks about the history of fishing and the faith of aquatic sustainability.

2. Misconceptions -- There's much more to it as it sounds.

Despite what most people think, still-fishing is not as easy and simple as it sounds (it's complexity will be discussed on sections 4 and 5). When talking to the general public, I've noticed that they often believe that still-fishing is all about throwing something in the water and let it sit there until the fish bites. Now...this idea is not wrong by definition; however, there is so much more to this style! Sadly, it often turns out that this is all the public knows about still-fishing.

Since the lack of knowledge in a field usually leads to misconceptions, here are a few curiosities and clarifications for everyone:

A. Still-fishing is always done on the bottom.

Wrong. As mentioned previously in the post, even some dictionaries describe "bottom fishing" as a synonym for still-fishing. Therefore, some folks tend to believe that still-fishing is all about casting something and letting it sink all the way. Here's the philosophical catch, though: although bottom fishing is part of still-fishing, still-fishing is not only bound to bottom fishing. Therefore, bottom fishing is only a part of the still-fishing style.

In reality, anglers always choose the depth of their baits based on the Species of fish that they will target (see next misconception for more details). One may still-fish close to the surface of the water, in mid-water, or all the way to the bottom. For example: take a float, which is a piece of equipment used to regulate bait depth. When an angler sets a float and casts it out there, it doesn't necessarily mean that he is fishing "on the bottom." Even so, the same is practicing still-fishing. 

Also, think about it: if still-fishing was practiced always on the bottom, there would be only one general rig for it -- something similar to a slip-sinker rig (slip-sinker, swivel, and hook), which keeps the bait all the way down. However, there are so many different rigs in didactic fishing books! As an example, a "high-low" rig can keep baits off the bottom by 20 inches in salt-water. If used in a shallow Creek or Pond, this rig could be easily used to reach mid-water depth. The bait would still be sitting there; thus, still-fishing. 

For those who are more pictorial, below is a photo to portray this idea: 


September 3rd, 2012 -- Three White Perch caught on a custom rig. Here's my combination of a slip-sinker rig with a high-low rig for still-fishing. After casting it, the bottom hook sits on the bottom, whereas the top two hooks sit at 6 and 9 inches from the bottom, respectively. 

B. Only bottom-feeders are traditionally still-fished.

Another deadly misconception is that only bottom-feeders are caught while still-fishing. Although it's true that some Species of fish are only caught on the bottom (i.e. Common Carp and Channel Catfish), there is a plethora of other Species that will bite on a still-fishing session. So, here is the fact: still-fishing can be used to catch almost any Species of fish in our planet!

Excluding bottom-feeders, I've caught the following Species of fish in Philadelphia using the still-fishing style: Northern Snakehead, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, American Eel, Striped Bass, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Sunfish (includes all 4 types -- Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, Green Sunfish, and Redbreast Sunfish), Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Brook Trout, etc. Of course the rig and the bait played a very important role in catching these fish! These technicalities will be discussed further in section 3.     

As a curiosity, still-fishing is widely practiced around the world. In the U.K., for example, still-fishing is not only used for Carp, but also for Barb, Tench, Dace, etc. For those who are familiar with Jeremy Wade and the TV series River Monsters, one can notice that most of his monster fish are caught while still-fishing. So, there you go -- with the right setup and the right bait, still-fishing know no limits when it comes to diversity!

C. Still-fishing can only be practiced with live or organic bait.

Believe it or not, still fishing can even be practiced with "fake baits" (a.k.a lures). In the field of Bass Fishing, for example, there's an outrageous technique that is literally still-fishing in disguise: "dead sticking." It's actually hard to believe that such a motionless technique exists in a field that focuses so much on casting and retrieving. But it does exist indeed!

By definition, dead sticking is the idea of placing a lure in the water and letting it stay motionless for extended periods of time. This technique is usually performed with suspending jerkbaits and soft plastics; however, it will work for other types of bait as well. As a very simple example, leaving a jitterbug on top of the water is an example of deadsticking. The same applies for leaving a Senko on the bottom of a Lake or just letting a suspending jerkbait drift at a certain water depth. 

Most Bass anglers were very skeptical when this technique first showed up in the Bass community. The main question was: "Would the Bass really bite on a fake and motionless lure?" After a lot of meddling and testing, it turned out that even the most cunning Largemouth Bass would do so, under certain circumstances. For instance, it's been proved that there's a substantial chance of a Largemouth Bass to attack a motionless shad colored suspending jerkbait during the cold months of the year. And this is clearly not an accident: scientifically speaking, the Shad are very sensitive to water temperatures and they tend to become lethargic during the Winter. They are so sensitive that sometimes they die! So, deadsticking a shad colored suspending jerkbait may be a very good stratery depending on the season, the location, and the depth of the bait.

This specific strategy has gained so much reputation in the Bass community that even famous fishing magazines have written about it (i.e. Bass Masters, In-Fisherman, etc). As a matter of fact, some anglers nowadays even specialize in deadsticking.

---
Now that you folks are a little bit more familiar with still-fishing, it's time to get into the formalism and specifics of the same. Section three of this post will describe all the fishing jargon that you need to know before even hitting the water. 

3. FGB: Fish, Gear, and Bait -- Choose your target and adapt.

Any dedicated and experienced angler will tell you that the battle to outwit fish starts way before putting your line in the water. Since different Species of fish behave differently, anglers usually do a lot of research and reading before even going out to fish. In order to become a successful angler, one must be very knowledgeable about their living habits: eating and spawning behavior, natural habitats, migration patterns, etc. Not only that, one also needs to take into account the many different parameters that will influence fishing: the tide, the wind, the current, the weather, the water temperature, temporary cover/structure, etc. 

It may sound ludicrous to do so; however, the hard work does pay off. An angler's total catch ratio may dramatically go down if the same disregards as little as a single parameter. Here's a good example for this statement: Largemouth Bass anglers in a national Bass competition! Local fishing idol Mike "Ike" Iaconelli once stated in his book that he did hours of online research before hitting the place of the competition. Then, he would scoop potential spots at the site and make decisions while "fishing the moment." Ike is a very successful angler in the Bass community nowadays; however, please keep in mind that his achievements came with a lot of sweat and hard work. Anglers are usually aware that little things contribute hugely to final results; however, pro anglers are even more aware of that! 

A. Fish.  

The first step is to choose your target and adapt to it. Pick a specific Species of fish and focus on it. Picture it; research it; study it; think like it. Write down everything about it. Focus, focus, and focus a little bit more. Try to absorb all the knowledge that you can - every little bit of information may be useful for your upcoming fishing session. As people usually say: "Better safe than sorry." That's pretty much the idea behind this.

For this whole section, let's take the Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) as an example, which is a perfect target for still-fishing. After picking the Flathead Catfish as your main target, you should just google it and write down as much information as you can:

"The Flathead Catfish is not just a bottom-feeder, but it will also eat live targets that are resting at night or swimming by. Big Flathead Catfish prefer to eat live organisms. They get very big, passing the range of 50lbs in some locations. Flathead Catfish tend to spawn during Summer time, close to structure (i.e. logs). The male guards the nest. They are more active at night time; however, they will also feed during day time. Flathead Catfish do hunt by sight and will be attracted to light at night time, where bait fish might congregate. They bite very well during the Fall season, before becoming torpid. They swim around their nests in search for food."

Note: the Internet is certainly a good source of information; however, an angler must also keep in mind that not all the information online is trustful and accurate! After all, we are not talking about primary sources. Eventually, it's up to the angler to see if those pieces of information are correct or not. An example is below:  


September 28th, 2011 - A small Flathead Catfish in comparison to a bottle of water. After selecting a target and researching it, one should not only be able to identify his own catch, but also verify if the online information was accurate and trustful. Since this fella was caught during day time, it's plausible to say that they can be caught before dark. Though, a single occurrence could be an anomaly. Therefore, one can only state something after the event happens many times! This is the idea of forming a hypothesis from field experience.   

Once you are done with your research, you should start thinking of how you will be able to handle the targeted fish. In other words, you should start gathering your gear.

2. Gear.

Preparing your fishing gear becomes much easier once a target fish is selected. As stated previously, different Species of fish behave differently; therefore, each one of them require a different gear setup! It cannot be forgotten that fish size also plays a crucial role in this section, since it determines the "size" of your gear: ultralight, light, medium, or heavy (including reel, rod, line, sinker, swivel, and hook).

Take note that having the right gear for a specific type of fish doesn't only help you land it, but also provides more entertainment to the sport. After all, part of the fun in the sport is fighting the fish! Think about it: would you rather use an ultralight or a heavy action rod while fishing for Bluegills? And why? It turns out that the answer is obviously an ultralight, since you can "feel" the fight much better with it. The video below is a great example:

In the video above, I was fishing for Sunnies at Knights Lake, Collingswood, NJ. Thus, I was using an ultralight setup: ultralight rod, light reel, 4lbs test line, and a 1/64 oz. jighead. For my surprise, a big Channel Catfish hit. :)

If "entertainment" and "gear weight" were placed in a mathematical scale, one would say that they are inversely proportional in the sport of fishing. In other words, "heavier the gear," less entertainment while fighting the fish. "Lighter the gear," more entertainment while fighting the fish. Thus, taking the surroundings in consideration, it's always recommended for anglers to go as light on their gear as possible.

Since we are taking the Flathead Catfish as an example, below are some things to think about. All the fishing jargon is also added below:

I. Rod: What type of rod do I want to use? Ultralight, light, medium, or heavy action?
Things to consider: size of the fish and environmental structure.

Author's ideology: for a rod, I would essentially pick a medium action for any kind of fish above 15lbs in the Philadelphia/South Jersey area. Over the years, many people have asked me why I don't use a heavy action rod for bigger fish. Here's the simple answer: it's just my style! I just like to play the fish. Even if there were plenty of structure around my fishing spot, I would still take the risk of letting the fish run, getting snagged, and losing the fish - all of that over power-playing it with a heavy action rod. Of course it's not as easy and simple as it sounds: playing a big fish with medium action gear requires a lot of skill and there are a lot of difficult counter-measurements to ensure that the fish doesn't go away. If the fish is lost, there's a lot of frustration! Heh. Therefore, most anglers prefer to "go heavy" and power-play them. 

Author's recommended gear: A medium action 10'6" Cortland Pro Cast Noodle Rod (formerly known as Cortland Endurance). It's not very expensive for a good rod, and it comes with limited Life-time warranty as well!       

II. Reel: What size reel do I want to use? How about the quality of the reel's drag system?
Things to consider: target fish's raw swimming power.

Author's ideology: for me, the reel is the most crucial part of the entire gear setup. Many people use conventional reels while Flathead fishing (a.k.a Baitcasters); however, I like to use spinning reels. When choosing a good reel, one must absolutely take its drag system in consideration! If you are not familiar with how a drag works, you may click here to read more about it. The main idea is to evaluate your targeted fish's raw swimming power and keep two factors in mind: (1) how fast are its short-bursts, and (2) how much can it swim before it gets tired. Factor (1) is the leading agent in snapping lines: folks usually set their drag too tight; thus, the line snaps once the fish gives a furious short-burst. In the blink of an eye, the fish is gone. Factor (2) is for bigger and stronger fish: it determines how much spooled line you will need (thus, the size of your reel). If the fish swims away at a constant speed, it will take a while for it to settle down. Meanwhile, you definitely want to avoid getting spooled.

Author's recommended gear: A Shimano Sedona FD 4000. For a Shimano quality product, the Sedona series is pretty cheap (in comparison to other products of the same brand). It is also sturdy and it has a very smooth drag system, just like all other Shimano drag systems. I've bought my first Sedona 3 years ago and the reel is still good to go! The Catfish video above portrays a Shimano Sedona as well.

III. Line: What pound test line do I want to use? And what type of line should I use?
Things to consider: Fish's visual sensibility to the line and raw swimming power.    

--- WORK IN PROGRESS --- 

October Fishing Sessions: 10/04 - Flathead Fishing at Kelly Drive (non-tidal Schuylkill River)

Hello, Readers!

After a little bit of effort, I've finally finished my September Fishing Sessions on the Blog! I've also uploaded a few more photos on the EPF Facebook Page. Just a reminder: even though I didn't post any fishing sessions on the Blog during this last Summer, I did post all photos on the Facebook Page. Enjoy!

Also, I have recently updated my Introductory post on Meadow Lake in South Philadelphia (FDR Park). With a little bit of research and some contributions (thank you, Visal!), I was able to confirm the existence of Flathead Catfish in Meadow Lake. For more details, you may click here for the post. 

Now, here's my short fishing report for October 4th:

--- October 4th, 2014 ---

Location: Schuylkill River (non-tidal)
Time: 1:30-5:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- None

In my mind, the ideal time for a good Flathead session would be from dusk to around midnight. Once it gets dark, they really go crazy on your bait! Heh. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time for night time sessions, not to mention that fishing by oneself after dark poses some dangers, socially speaking.

Thus, I went for a short Flathead session on Kelly Drive during day time. The second "unfortunately" comes now: I didn't have the best bait for the occasion, which would be live bait. Therefore, I had to use frozen cut bait. Even with the odds against me, I still went out there to give it a try. As my father used to tell me when I was a little kid: "hoping is always a part of fishing." 

After 3:30 hours, I got skunked. Not a single bite! Heh. Sometimes we catch, sometimes we don't. 
   
A nice view of the Girard Ferry Bridge on the non-tidal Schuylkill River.

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Hello, Readers!

After a little bit of effort, I've finally finished my September Fishing Sessions on the Blog! I've also uploaded a few more photos on the EPF Facebook Page. Just a reminder: even though I didn't post any fishing sessions on the Blog during this last Summer, I did post all photos on the Facebook Page. Enjoy!

Also, I have recently updated my Introductory post on Meadow Lake in South Philadelphia (FDR Park). With a little bit of research and some contributions (thank you, Visal!), I was able to confirm the existence of Flathead Catfish in Meadow Lake. For more details, you may click here for the post. 

Now, here's my fishing report for October 1st:

--- October 1st, 2014 ---

Location: Wissahickon Creek (East Falls)
Time: 2:00-5:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 5 Redbreast Sunfish
-- 1 Largemouth Bass
-- 3 Smallmouth Bass
-- 2 Rock Bass

The Wissahickon Creek has never disappointed me when it comes to Fall fishing! Through trial and error, over the years, I was able to pin-point the best Wissy locations for fishing during Fall time. In common words, those locations would be what anglers call "fishing holes."

Every time I go to the Wissahickon Creek at East Falls, I start right next to the Wissahickon Transfer Center, I don't waste any time -- I just walk along the Creek, from hole to hole, all the way to the beginning of Forbidden Drive. I fish every hole for about 10-20 minutes and move on.

Therefore, all the fishes cited above were caught between the mouth of the Wissahickon and the beginning of Forbidden Drive. Most of them were caught on small 1/64oz. jigheads with either trout magnets or "Gulp! Alive Minnows," with the exception of the Bass. The Smallies and Largemouth were caught on 4 inch wacky rigged Senkos on a size 2 hook. Photos are below:


"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" It's too small for you folks to see, but this photo shows a small type of ant carrying a dead spider!

First fish of the day: a small Largemouth Bass on a wacky rigged 4" Gary Yamamoto Senko.

A nice-sized Redbreast Sunfish from the Wissy! Note that they are very abundant in the Wissahickon Creek (and in other Creeks around the area as well).

A small and fat Rock Bass. It was caught on a Shad "Gulp! Alive Minnow." 

The water level in the Wissahickon Creek was extremely low. We seriously need some rain, folks...

This set of rapids used to be a wonderful spot for Trout Fishing with in-line spinners; however, it was way too shallow to hold fish due to the lack of rain.

Here's another good location for Bass and Trout. The rock formations are beautiful, aren't they? :)

Little greedy Smallie bit on a 4" Senko. This fella was my smallest one of the day.

And finally, here's a proper "Wissy Smallie." The beautiful coloration on the fish portrays the environment it lives in: low saturated water with plenty of diffused oxygen. Any ideas where the "Bronzeback" nickname came from? Heh.

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Hello, Readers!

Here's my fishing report for September 27th:

--- September 27th, 2014 ---

Location: Upper Cooper River/Wallworth Lake (Haddonfield, NJ)
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 1 Bluegill X Green Sunfish Hybrid
-- 1 Pumpkinseed
-- 5 Bluegill
-- 7 Black Crappie
-- 1 Yellow Perch
-- 25 Largemouth Bass
-- 11 Gizzard Shad

I usually like to tell my fellow anglers that size is not everything when it comes to fishing. Of course size is important: I believe that at a certain point in life, anglers have all experienced that punch of adrenaline when fighting a "trophy" fish! You know...that wonderful moment when you get all shaky? For a Multi-Species angler, it's not so different! That punch of adrenaline can easily come in while reeling in a rare Species of fish or a surprise catch! I remember very well when I first caught a Common Carp; a Channel Catfish; and even a Banded Killifish, a Common Shiner, and a Warmouth -- and man...I was shaking back then, over and over and over again. Heh. It's an awesome feeling, isn't it? I truly believe that this "shaky feeling" is one of the aspects that makes fishing unique. If you are reading this and you are not an angler, I highly recommend you to get a pole and hit your closest body of water! It's at moments like these that I like to quote Robert Altman: "You put that line in the water and you don't know what's on the other side. Your imagination is under there."

But anyways...when it comes to Multi-Species fishing, there are a couple locations that I'm very fond of. Most of these locations are able to produce 5-10 different Species of fish in a single fishing session! It turns out that the Upper Cooper River and the Wallworth Lake in Haddonfield are some of these fond locations.

The plan was to tag along with my friend Bryan K.L. and catch some fish. I started by introducing him to the Upper Cooper River, and later we moved to Wallworth Lake. I was quite happy to see that my friend Bryan was enjoying not only the fishing, but the environment as well (there are a couple photos of him below). As cited at the beginning of this post, I was able to catch 7 different types of fish around the area.

Photos of the session are below:

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A Blue Jay wandering close to Hopkins Pond, Haddonfield.

My first fish of the day: A Black Crappie on a float-jig setup. 

This one was my biggest Black Crappie of the day, surprisingly caught on a Thomas Gold/Nickel in-line Spinner at the Wallworth Lake. The fish was safely released above the falls. :)

A healthy male Bluegill from the Upper Cooper River. It was caught on a small Gulp! Alive Minnow, hooked on a 1/64 oz. jighead.

Here's a Bluegill from the Wallworth Lake, right below Evans Pond.

A beautiful Green Sunfish X Bluegill Hybrid from the Wallworth Lake. Note that it has "Bluegill traces" on its Operculum and "Green Sunfish traces" on its Anal and Caudal fins (yellow/orange coloration).

My friend Bryan K.L. with his trophy catch of the day -- a trophy Largemouth Bass from Wallworth Lake. Sarcasm aside, that smile is golden, though. :) 

While fishing for Largemouth Bass with my in-line spinner, a couple Gizzard Shad tagged along. It just so happened that they were having their Fall run; thus, gazillion Shad were just swimming around the Wallworth dam. It was nearly impossible to not snag them.

The first of 25 Largemouth Bass. Most of them were caught in the Wallworth Lake. The hypothesis is that they were following their "food supply" around (a.k.a. Gizzard Shad). 

Another Largemouth Bass -- this one with a beautiful lateral line. Note that I released all the small Largemouth Bass above the dam; therefore, there are 25+ Largemouth Bass between Evans Pond and the Upper Cooper River now. Heh.

This fella was one of the biggest Largemouth Bass of the day! 

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A very very suspicious needle at the Haddonfield PATCO station.

A nice Pumpkinseed decided to go after my in-line spinner at Wallworth lake.

A nice scenic view of my friend Bryan K.L. focused on catching the big one.

A nice view of the second dam that divides the Wallworth Lake and the Upper Cooper River.

Here's a Yellow Perch from the muddy Upper Cooper River. Note its faded colors, which is typical for a fish living in high saturation waters.

Hope you guys found this report informative. Also, if you have never tried before, I would definitely recommend Multi-Species fishing! :)

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

September Fishing Sessions: 09/21 - Catfishing on the Schuylkill Banks

Heya, Blog Readers!

Here's my short fishing report for September 21st:

--- September 21st, 2014 ---

Location: Schuylkill River (between Walnut and Chestnut bridges)
Time: 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Fishes caught: 

-- 3 Channel Catfish
-- 1 Bluegill

Since I always fish the Schuylkill River between the Walnut and Chestnut bridges, there isn't much to say. I did a regular Catfish fishing session with my friend Jimmie D., and thankfully we both ended up with some Channel Cats! Jimmie caught all his fish on chicken liver (godly, but horrible smelling bait), whereas I caught mine on cut bait.

During the afternoon, I tried a little bit for different Species of fish without much success. Ultimately, I landed one Bluegill and used it as bait! I was actually expecting to catch some White Perch or Spot Croaker; however, no signs of them. For those who are not familiar, small Spot Croaker swim up the Schuylkill River during each Fall; therefore, they can be caught on the bottom with nightcrawlers! Neat, right? If you want to know more about that, feel free to use the search tab above the page. I'm sure you will find some photos of Spot Croaker caught in the Schuylkill River.

The photos for the session are below:

Here's my friend Jimmie D. with a Channel Catfish. The fish was caught on a piece of yummy chicken liver! Just as a curiosity: I've used so much chicken liver as bait in my life that I've been traumatized by its awful smell and texture. I hardly eat chicken liver nowadays. Hah.

A healthy Bluegill from the Schuylkill River! They are one of the best cut-baits around. The Catfish love them.

After a little while, the biggest Channel Catfish of the day came up: a 5lber! This fella was caught on a piece of Bluegill tail.

Another hearty Channel Catfish from the Schuylkill River. also caught on cut-bait.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A Housefly munching so good on your hand that it doesn't even feel bothered to pose for a photo! Truth be said -- they love that fish slime...
 
Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Hello, Readers!

Recently, I've been doing minor updates on the Blog, including the introductory post on the Pennypack Creek in Northeast Philadelphia. The hyperlink is under the "Introducing..." tab on the right side of the page; though, I'll leave a link here to make things easier. Here are the main updates on it:

1. I added a map of the Pennypack Creek from Google Earth and divided it into 3 different sections: Lorimer Park, Pennypack Park, and tidal Pennypack.

2. I added a few more Species and photos to the Pennypack Park section of the Pennypack Creek (i.e. White Sucker, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, etc).

3. I gathered and compiled a couple photos from close friends, addressing rare catches in the overall Pennypack Creek. Many thanks to Bryan KL, Karl H., Peter S., Billy F., and Don G. for their contributions!

And now, here's my fishing report for September 19th:

--- September 19th, 2014 ---

Location: Delaware Canal/Buck Creek (Yardley, PA)
Time: 12:00-5:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 2 Redbreast Sunfish
-- 1 Common Carp
-- 2 Bluegill
-- 2 Largemouth Bass

As I have cited previously in my Facebook Page, this year I took a good amount of my Summer season exploring new bodies of water in the far Northeast Philadelphia, close to the Delaware River. During the months of May-July, I wandered through Bristol, Yardley, Levittown, Falls Township, and I went as far as West Trenton in New Jersey. I could name here all the bodies of water that I've explored this Summer, but I decided to just do a map for better visualization, which is posted below:

A Google Earth map of the Northeast Philadelphia. Creeks are identified as colored lines and Lakes/Ponds/River are identified as colored circles. In this post, I'll be talking about the black line, which corresponds to the Delaware Canal, and the gray line, which corresponds to the Buck Creek. You may click on the photo for a better magnification.
 
From May to September, I did a couple of Multi-Species fishing sessions in Yardley's section of the Delaware Canal, including a portion of the Buck Creek. Despite its looks -- saturated and shallow, I caught a huge variety of fish in it: Redbreast Sunfish, Bluegill, Green Sunfish, Pumpkinseed, Golden Shiner, Brown Bullhead, Largemouth Bass, Common Carp, Chain Pickerel, etc. Note that the Delaware Canal is one of the few places around Philadelphia where you will be able to actually catch a PA Chain Pickerel (my first PA Chain Pickerel came from the canal). I'll eventually do a full introductory post on the Delaware Canal one day. For now, the photos of my catches in the Delaware Canal and Buck Creek can be seen on my Facebook Page's albums.

As I arrived on September 19th, I noticed that the water levels in the Canal were extremely low! I was quite frustrated, to the point that I made two small videos showing a measured 5 foot difference in water level! After a little bit of "googling," it turned out that a pump was broken in the upper Delaware Canal; thus, not enough water was getting down to Yardley.

The low water levels made fishing difficult and easy (what an oxymoron, eh?). On one hand, it was difficult to fish in the canal because 90% of the spots were shallow and lifeless. On the other hand, it was easy to catch fish because it was easy to locate them! In other words, I already knew that all fishes would be concentrated in the deepest spots in the Canal. On the further hand (not that we have 3, heh), it was hard to catch those fish because their wariness was still top notch due to the shallowness of the place. There were deep spots compared to other spots; however, the deepest portion of the Canal was still shallow!

In the end, I was able to pull a couple fish from both the Delaware Canal and Buck Creek. It required quite a lot of walking, but I believe that it was worth it! The Common Carp and Bluegill were caught on a piece of nightcrawler. The Redbreast Sunfish were caught on a Thomas Nickel/Gold in-line Spinner, and the Largemouth Bass were caught on Gary Yamamoto Senkos, whacky rigged on a 5/0 Gamakatsu hook. 

Photos of the session are below:

The photo portrays the Delaware Canal at Yardley, with very low water levels. Note that the green grass marks the regular water level for the Delaware Canal.

A Redbreast Sunfish from Buck Creek, caught on an in-line spinner (one of my favorite lures for streams).

This little fella came up by surprise! It bit on a full nightcrawler, on the bottom. My first Common Carp from Buck Creek, and it's a pleasure to say that "they are there."

A nice sized Bluegill from the Delaware Canal. The background on the photo actually shows one of the deepest spots in the Delaware Canal at Yardley. 

Another sad photo of the low water levels in the Delaware Canal. As mentioned above, the green grass marks the regular water level for it.

After a lot of walking, the first Largemouth Bass of the day finally came up on a wacky rigged Senko! The little fella was hiding under lily-pads.

The other Largemouth Bass came from under the bridge -- another deep pool in the Delaware Canal.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:"  A messed up Great Blue Heron (note the feathers) waiting for a nice meal.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" Not one, not two, not three, but four does at the Delaware Canal! It was a beautiful sight.

More fishing sessions will be coming soon. :)

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

September Fishing Sessions: 09/07 - Multi-Species Fishing at the Pennypack Creek

Hello, readers! 

Here's my fishing report for September 7th:

--- September 7th, 2014 ---

Location: Pennypack Creek
Time: 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 2 Creek Chub
-- 1 Redbreast Sunfish
-- 1 Pumpkinseed
-- 1 Smallmouth Bass
-- 1 Rock Bass

I don't know exactly when it happened, but visiting the Pennypack Creek one month prior to the PA Fish and Boat Commission's Fall Trout Stocking became kind of a ritual for me. I mean...Trout fishing is certainly a lot of fun; however, let's not forget that fishing for the "natural" Species of fish in Approved Trout Waters is also fun! Those Species of fish are usually an angler's reminder of how healthy a body of water is, even without the stocked Trout! In other words, they are the sign that the Creek holds a rich aquatic biodiversity, despite of the private Trout stockings.

I fished the Pennypack between Roosevelt Boulevard and Bustleton Avenue, finishing with 5 different Species of fish in a matter of 2 hours. They were caught either on nightcrawlers or trout magnets on a 1/64 oz. jighead. Photos are below: 

After locating a school of small minnow-like fish, I decided to micro-fish! I tied a #26 hook, finishing with 2 young Creek Chubs on a sliver of nightcrawler. Notice the golden pattern on its lateral line -- beautiful, eh? =)

The Pennypack is well-known for its different Species of Sunfish. Among them, the Pumpkinseed is pretty rare, not to mention that it's itself a beautiful fish (and a very good pet for a fish tank).

As always, a Redbreast Sunfish from the Pennypack Creek! 

Here's a Rock Bass, caught on a trout magnet on a 1/64 oz. jighead. They can be found around structure, specially close to rocky areas.

This little fella is probably one of the smallest Smallies that I've ever caught in the Pennypack. Even so, as I always say: small fish are a great indicator for good natural reproduction! So, there we go! 

For a full list of Species in the Pennypack Creek, you may click here for my introductory post on it (it's up to date now). Enjoy!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.