March Fishing Sessions: 03/16 - Scoping Linden and Kirkwood Lakes in Lindenwold (NJ)

Hello, Blog Readers! 

Before anything else, I've added a nice photo of my friend Mike M. on Facebook's Public Fishing Album. And yes -- he strikes once again, this time with a beautiful Linear Koi (Cyprinus carpio mutation) from the Delaware Canal. As a reminder, if you want to submit your photos for the folder, you may click here for more information.

Today I'll be talking about my first 2015 trip to the Linden and Kirkwood Lakes in Lindenwold, NJ. If you are not familiar with them, you may want to check the following YouTube videos for a general idea:

Part 1 of my introductory video on the Kirkwood Lake in Lindenwold, NJ. As you will read further below, I fished mainly in the pipe.

Part 2 of the video above. In this video, I walk a little bit deeper into the Lake, quickly stopping at some productive spots.

A nice video of me fishing Linden Lake for Black Crappies (Pomoxis nigromaculatus). The Lake is also known for producing nice Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and a few Chain Pickerel (Esox niger) and Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)
 
Now, here is my fishing report for March 16th:

--- March 16th, 2015 ---

Location: Linden Lake/Kirkwood Lake
Time: 1:00-1:30 p.m./2:15-4:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 20 Bluegill (Lepomis Macrochirus)

With all the ice meltdown and water temperatures around 40F in small Lakes and Ponds, I decided to scope out two Lakes in Lindenwold, NJ: the Kirkwood Lake and Linden Lake. As always, I left home with a solid game plan for the day! My plan was short and simple: try for Black Crappie at Linden Lake first, and then move to Kirkwood Lake in case of no fish bites. The fact is that I can always avoid getting skunked with the golden pipe in that Lake! If you watched the first video in this post, you know where I am talking about.  

Here is a nice shot of Linden Lake that I took just after arriving there. Note that there was still a thin layer of ice covering ~10% of the Lake! This is good empirical evidence that Lakes and Ponds tend to defrost last when it comes to the transition of Winter to Spring (recall: moving water is a big factor in the ice melting process). 

I arrived at the Linden Lake around 1:00 p.m.. I immediately setup a high-low rig with nightcrawlers for still-fishing. Then, with my second rod, I setup a 0.5oz. weighted float with a 1/64 oz. golden jighead and 1" minnow imitation (exact setup as in the third video above). Since there was a new piece of cover in the lake, I started by jigging around the edges.

As any veteran angler would be aware, that board is perfect cover for game fish!  

I jigged the edges of that board for a good 10 minutes and ended up not getting a single bite! It was quite a disappointment, since that type of cover is really enticing and hard to pass while fishing. As a matter of fact, cover like that is golden for lie-in-wait predators to strike (i.e. Chain Pickerel). Therefore, if that board remains in that spot, it will be a hot place to fish for during the Summer months.

After jigging all the edges, I started to cast my bait out in the open (just like in the third video). At that point, I was specifically targeting Black Crappie. Note that the two major points in Crappie fishing is to "find" where the school is located at, and at what "depth" they are located at. Once those two factors are taken care of, the angler usually walks home with plenty of fish for dinner! Since water temperatures were still quite brutal (~40F), I setup up my float high; therefore, my bait was just barely touching the bottom. That took care of the "depth." My challenge then was to "find" them. Unfortunately, after casting in a range of 180 degrees, I was still unable to locate them. That's when I changed my game plan and moved to the Kirkwood Lake.

A scenery shot of Kirkwood Lake. Note that in this bigger lake, there was no presence of ice (not even a thin layer). 
   
After a quick lunch grub, I arrived at the Kirkwood Lake around 2 p.m.. Upon arrival, I spotted a kayak angler fishing for Largemouth Bass using a blade spinner! That was a good sign. Heh. At that point, I didn't really waste any time: I took a quick look at the spillway; came to the conclusion that the water flow over there was too fast for fishing; moved to the pipe! 

Here is a nice shot that portrays the consequences of rain and ice meltdown: faster current. The regular Kirkwood water level would not have water flowing down from the sides of that spillway.

Nothing changed after arriving at "the pipe." I stayed with the same setup as Linden Lake. As I cast my still-fishing rod into the water, another angler came by. The more the merrier, right?! I immediately noticed that he was using a very similar setup to mine: a little football jig with a 2" minnow imitation, no float. And guess what? After a few catches, he actually caught a very neat baby Largemouth:

The pipe and its surprises! Here is Rob F. with the results of his Micro-Fishing: a very nice colored Largemouth Bass.
   
The difference between Linden and Kirkwood Lakes became very apparent when I was still setting up my second rod. And I can tell you this, folks: there ain't a lot of better feelings than getting a hit on one rod while setting the other one! And that's exactly what happened. I landed my first Bluegill of the day then! 

A healthy Bluegill came up on a piece of nightcrawler. Signs of life are always good signs, right? :)
 
After watching my rod bend on a piece of nightcrawler, I decided to go Multi-Species with my second rod as well. Instead of a 1/64 oz. jig with a minnow immitation, I decided to tie on a regular #6 j-hook. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pull out anything besides Bluegills for the day. On the other hand, I was more than satisfied with all the bites that I got. For a Multi-Species angler, every and each bite is very exciting! Recall the beautiful quote by Robert Altman: "I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don't know what's on the other end. Your imagination is under there." I had 20 Bluegill by 4 p.m. and decided to call it a day. Overall, very productive day with plenty of "imagination" in it. Heh.

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

March Fishing Sessions: 03/15 - Exploring Ocean City and Atsion Lake (NJ)

Hello, Blog Readers!

First of all, here are a couple updates and reminders:

-- I've uploaded 2 more photos to the Facebook Public Fishing Album: a nice Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) from the North Hudson Park Pond and a Chain Pickerel (Esox niger) from Linden Lake. :) As a reminder, anyone can submit photos to that folder! If interested, please click here for more information.  

-- EPF is back with its non-profit Catfish competitions: the 6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks is scheduled for May 31st, 2015. For detailed information, rules, and registration procedures, click here. I'll post a reminder for this event every 3 posts.

-- I've uploaded another old video on Youtube. It's a video of Mike "Ike" Iaconelli's 3rd day weight-in of the Bassmaster Elite Series at the Delaware River. I've attached that video to this post.

Now, here is my fishing report for March 15th:

--- March 15th, 2015 ---

Location: Great Egg Harbor Bay/Mullica River
Time: 7:45-10:00a.m./12:15-2:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- None

My friend Bryan KL and I went down to Ocean City, NJ, to explore the 9th Street Bridge's fishing pier. We arrived there around 7:30 a.m.. It was cold, windy, and the tide was going from high to low. On an initial glance, the place looked really neat! 

One of the fishing piers at the 9th street bridge in Ocean City, NJ. If you Google map this place, you will see that the fishes (multiple Species) will eventually have to cross this spot to enter the bay from the surf. 

We set up four rods with frozen Bunker (Brevoortia tyrannus) as bait. Unfortunately, that was all we had at the time. The plan was to eventually hit a tackle shop and purchase some additional bait (i.e. clam, bloodworm); however, we found out that 7:30 a.m. was too early for any tackle shop to be opened during the Winter. 

We ended up fishing the pier until 10 a.m.. The wind picked up a lot around 9:30 (~15 mph), so we were pretty much freezing to death! After packing our stuff, we decided to stop by the closest tackle shop around us:

The closest tackle shop happened to be Tackle Direct: 6825 Tilton Road, Bldg C, Egg Harbor Twp, NJ 08234

We spent about 20 minutes inside the store. Bryan bought some fishing gear and I ended up purchasing three neat books on fish Species and one pack of sabiki rigs for Micro-Fishing. I have to say: I was quite surprised to see the huge variety of items inside the store! Therefore, I would definitely recommend it.

Finally, on our way back home, we decided to make a quick stop at Atsion Lake in Shamong, NJ. After scoping one end of the Lake, including some parts of the Mullica River, we decided to fish a very enticing slow pool. 

A nice view of the Atsion Lake. Very cloudy and very windy! 

Bryan and I found this great slow pool at Mullica River. The place was so enticing that we just had to give it a try. 

Upon arrival, we immediately looked inside our bags for small jerkbaits and in-line spinners. After all, both Atsion and the Mullica River are well-known for its good populations of Chain Pickerel (Esox niger). That's when we realized that we were totally unprepared for some fresh water fishing: all we had was Bunker and salt water stuff! Thus, once again we went for the Bunker! Heh.

We ended up getting skunked for the day; however, it was still a very pleasant trip. We got to scope out two wonderful new fishing locations that will hopefully be very productive later this season. 

Here's a bonus photo for you guys. :)

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" the remains of a turtle by Atsion Lake. Whatever ate it did a good job.

Tight lines, fellas!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S. 

6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks (To be held on May 31st, 2015)

Hello, Blog Readers!

After a whole year of "event inactivity," EPF will be holding fishing competitions once again! I'm bringing you guys the official post for the "6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks." All rules and regulations are below!

The 6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks will be held on the Schuylkill Banks on May 31st, 2015 (between Locust and Chestnut St.). The rain date for it is June 7th, 2015.

For information regarding previous competitions, you may click on the links below:


Regarding parking: since the 1st Catfish Tourney on the Banks, a lot of people have been asking me about "parking" around the Philadelphia Center City area. Therefore, here's a link for parking spots that are close to the Schuylkill Banks. As you can see, there are plenty of parking spots close to the competition site. Myself, I would recommend parking on top of the Walnut or Chestnut street bridges.

Now, let's go for the complete set of rules and additional information regarding the 6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks. Interested readers and future participants: please read it carefully -- there have been some changes since the previous competition!

1. The Event and the Rules.

A. The Event:

I. The sixth official Catfish Tourney on the Banks will happen between the Locust St and Chestnut Bridge on the Schuylkill Banks. This will be the first Catfish tourney series for the year of 2015. The official date for the event is May 31st, 2015 (a Sunday). In case of rain or extreme weather, the "rain date" is set to be a week after -- June 7th, 2015. In case of cancellation, participants will be contacted through e-mail and phone one day prior to the event. Also, an e-mail will be sent out to all registered participants one day prior to the competition as a "gentle reminder" of the same. Therefore, make sure to check your e-mail on the day of the competition, before leaving your house.

II. Contestants may enter the competition "solo" or as a "team" of 2 individuals. In the second case, the team will be treated as a single unit; therefore, each team will be subjected to all the other rules below as one unit (i.e. 2 rods per team; same weight bag per team; etc). The entry fee for the competition is $20 for "solo" (one person), and $30 dollars for a team (2 individuals) -- cash only. Note that teams pay extra $10 because "4 arms are better than 2." In other words, that makes a big difference when it comes to playing 2 fish simultaneously or landing/netting a fish. The fee will be collected right before the beginning of the competition, during the check-in. The check-in will be stationed under the Walnut street bridge; although, I may walk around for it as well. Please note that this friendly tourney is profit-free! For more details, see the prize section (section #3). 

III. Public transportation around the area is available (i.e. Amtrak, Regional Rails, and Septa) and highly recommended. The distance between the site of the competition and the station is a brief 10 minutes walk. As mentioned previously, there's parking along the Walnut and Chestnut bridges for vehicles, as well as parking around 26th and Locust streets. Here's a link for parking spots that are close to the Schuylkill Banks. 

IV. The minimum number of participants for this competition will be 15 individuals and teams combined altogether. If there are not enough participants a day prior to the competition, all registered competitors will be informed about its cancellation via e-mail and phone call (if phone number is provided). Regardless, participants should check the Facebook Page on the morning of the competition to see the latest updates about the event. Note that a higher number of participants results in a higher amount of cash prizes (see prize section; section #3)! Thus, feel free to invite your fishing buddies and/or family members to come. :) 

V. Instead of the traditional tourney format of 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. (9 hours total), the 6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks will start at 9 a.m. sharp and end at 3 p.m. sharp (a total of 6 fishing hours). It's highly recommended for participants to show up 1 hour to half an hour prior to the beginning of the event in order to set up equipment and pick a good spot on the banks! Note: no lines should be in the water before 9 a.m. sharp! Late registered participants will not be disqualified; however, they will clearly have a disadvantage in terms of time and fishing location. Thus, plan your schedule carefully.

VI. Prizes will be awarded up to half an hour after the end of the competition, in situ. Therefore, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd place, and "Big Fish" winners will immediately walk out of the event with their prizes: cash and fishing trophies. The distribution of the cash prizes are defined in section #3. 

VII. Since this is a friendly competition, participants are free to leave the site at any given moment. Also, there's a restroom and drinking fountain between the Locust and Walnut streets, on the Schuylkill Banks trail. There is also a Rite Aid on the intersection of 23rd and Walnut streets, just in case anyone needs additional water or food. There's also a breakfast place on the intersection of 24th and Locust streets that opens until 4 p.m. (they also do take out). In other words, if there are small emergencies, participants may leave and come back during the range of the competition (9-3 p.m.).

VIII. Children that are 15 years old or below are highly encouraged to participate in a team. According to the PA Fish and Boat Commission's laws, they are not required to have a fishing license in order to fish. Note that the parent/adult is responsible for his/her child's safety in situ! See the liability waiver in the registration form for more details! Note that the registration form and liability waiter will be sent via e-mail once you contact me about the competition. For more information on it, please see section 2.

B. The General Fishing Rules:

Important note: All fishing participants will abide by all PA Boat and Commission regulations and safety guidelines (click here for more details). Consequently, that includes having a valid 2015 PA fishing license for anyone who is 16 years old or above (as emphasized below)!

I. Emphasizing: a PA fishing license is required for anyone who is older than the age of 15. The license must be shown at the check-in -- before the competition -- and be placed on an outer garment during the entire period of the tourney -- 9:00-3:00 p.m. (with the exception of the participant having a 2015 pink fishing button). The license can be purchased online or in certain local stores (i.e. Dicks Sporting goods, Walmart, or local Bait Shops -- Brinkmans bait and Tackle, Bob's bait and Tackle; Sportsmaster; etc). Don't forget to support your local tackle shops! Small businesses need your help. :)

II. Fishing spots will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis; therefore, no one has rights to complain about it. You are being advised now and you should time yourself for the event. Also, for more comfort and better fishing, the spots will be divided in sections if necessary, so all anglers can stay at least 10 feet apart from each other.

III. Although the PA law states that it's legal to fish in Philadelphia using 3 rods per person and 3 hooks per rod, the competition will work on the "2 rods per unit" and "2 hooks per rod" rule, with the purpose of preserving space for all competitors! Anyone who disrespects this rule will be given an initial warning and a penalty of 2lbs on the total weight of the bag (see section 1.B.IV below). A second time will result in disqualification and no refund.

IV. Weight-in: there will be a fixed weight in station under the Walnut street bridge! Instead of the traditional weight-in system in competitions, which happens at the end of it, the weight-in for this specific competition will happen just after each fish is successfully landed. In other words, after properly unhooking a fish, the participant should walk towards the weight-in station. I'll eventually be on "lookout mode" as well: walking around to see if anyone is catching fish. Thus, choose your fishing spot carefully and note that you will have to walk longer distances if you are further away from the Walnut street bridge (which is to your disadvantage if you are playing solo). Also, every Catfish will be measured and recorded in paper (this is a must!). Take in consideration that even the smallest Catfish may contribute greatly for your total bag! Therefore, make sure that you bring all of your Catfish catches. 

V. There will be a penalty for mishandling fish! Every fish should be perfectly CPRed ("caught, photoed, and released"). In case the fish swallows the hook badly, the line should be cut. In case a fish is heavily injured and dies, there will be a severe penalty of 5lbs per incident. As a matter of fact, Catfish in general are tough fish; therefore, there shouldn't be any major incidents! Please follow the appropriate guidelines for safely practicing CPR - "Catch, Photo Release."

VI. A net is highly recommended for landing big fish (drop net or 8-feet long net for the Schuylkill Banks). Believe me -- you do not want to take your chances by pulling a big fish by the line. Think it this way: that could take your winning chance away! Finally, note that low tide on May 31st will be at 7:43 a.m., and high tide at 12:54 p.m.. Again, a drop net or a 8-feet long net is highly recommended.

VII. Only Catfish will be counted as part of this tourney's weight bag. Thus, that includes the following Species of fish from the tidal Schuylkill River: Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), White Catfish (Ameiurus catus), Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris), Brown Bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus), and Yellow Bullhead (Ameiurus natalis). Note that there are no Blue Catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) in the Schuylkill River. Each participant must weight-in all of his/her Catfish catches from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.! The five biggest ones in terms of weight (lbs) will determine the final bag/result for given participant/unit. 

2. Registration

In order to register for this event, please send an e-mail to "sheng12182527@gmail.com" with "6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks" written on the subject line. Also, please write on the e-mail if you are registering yourself as "solo" ($20) or "team" ($30). Additional note: you will be asked to register on site if you have registered for a previous competition and were absent in it. Just like everything else in this world, trust is earned. As a reminder, the Catfish Tourney series only happens if there are 15 participants/teams registered prior to the beginning of the event, and you will not be counted among those 15 if you were registered and absent in a previous competition without a reasonable argument! 

Once the initial e-mail is received, a proper response will be sent back in a range of 1-5 days. It will contain a formal Microsoft Word registration file (.docx) with the registration form and liability waiver. Once the competitor fills up the registration file and e-mails it back to me, the same will then be officially registered in the tourney! In case of a team registration, please make sure to include the names of both participants in a single file! Finally, you will receive a confirmation e-mail indicating that your registration process is done.

On site registration will be available on Sunday, May 31st, from 8:00-9:00 a.m.. I'll be under the Walnut Street Bridge with printed registration forms. 

3. Results and Prizes

I. The prizes will be distributed for the following positions: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, as well as the "Big Fish" prize (biggest Catfish of the day, in terms of weight and not length).

II. Note that the 6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks is a non-profit competition, meaning that Extreme Philly Fishing makes no money out of such an event! 20% of the total cash amount will be donated to the SRDC non-profit organization, which focuses on maintaining a clean environment and trail for everyone. You can read more about it here. In other words, $4-$6 dollars of your registration fee will go directly to a local non-profit organization! That part of your money will be focused on the well-being of the local community.

III. The remaining amount will be put together for the remaining cash prizes. Summarizing, the prizes will be distributed as it follows (in cash, at the end of the event): 

-- 20% of all proceeds gathered in the tourney will go to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation non-profit organization. Therefore, as mentioned above, the "Catfish Tourney on the Banks" series is a profit-free event. After subtracting 20% from the final amount of cash gathered, the remaining will be distributed as it follows:

1st place: 40% of remaining cash + 1st place Trophy
2nd place: 30% of remaining cash + 2nd place Trophy
3rd place: 20% of remaining cash + 3rd place Trophy
Big Catfish: 10% of remaining cash

Therefore, the minimum prize amount for the 6th Catfish Tourney on the Banks will be*:
*based on 15 participants and no teams

15 participants = $300
20% of 300 will go to a non-profit organization: $60

The remaining $240 will be distributed as it follows:
1st place: 40% --> $96
2nd place: 30% --> $72
3rd place: 20% --> $48
Big Catfish: 10% --> $24

Note: if, for example, the first place is also accounted for the biggest Catfish of the day, that person will be taking $96+24=$120

Another example: if the number of participants are actually 20 instead of 15, with 8 teams: 8*30 + 12*20=$480. The same calculation is performed. Therefore, the higher the number of participants/teams, the higher the amount of money distributed! 

4. Additional Information

Here's a list of "helpful tips" for every participant in the competition. If this is the first fishing competition of your life, you should take the information below in consideration.

-- Bring different types of bait: I would suggest 2-3 different types of bait for the competition. If they are not biting on one of them, switch! Trying different approaches is always a good idea. For bait choices, I would recommend the following: chicken liver, cut bait, live fish, soap, nightcrawler, bagel, bread, hot dogs, etc. Do not forget that Catfish in general are classified as bottom feeders. So, they find food mainly through their sense of smell (note: this concept doesn't entirely apply for Flathead Catfish). For more information on how to fish for Catfish, you may read my didactic Catfish post here.

-- Try different types of rigs: the idea that Catfish "always bite on the bottom" is a myth! Catfish will eat suspended baits that are close to the bottom! Therefore, if your rig on the bottom is not working properly, why not try to leave your bait a couple inches suspended from the bottom? Skuke Catfish can also be caught on a float, depending on the time and season of the year! 

-- Never keep slack line. Unless you are fishing for the giants, slack line is never a good idea. By having slack line, you are basically giving the smaller fish enough time to chew on your bait and leave. The big ones can even swallow the hook, leading them to death! And the worst thing? You don't usually notice the bite if your line is slack! Therefore, I recommend the use of 1-2oz weights on the Schuylkill Banks and keeping a straight and tight line. 

-- Try different casting distances: somehow, most anglers believe that casting out there brings in bigger fish! Well...casting farther doesn't necessarily mean that. On the Banks, I've caught many 5-7lbers along the walls by simply dropping my line straight down! Soap is a killer bait for this technique, since American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) ignore it. If you use chicken liver or cut bait around the walls, soon you will get a snag. Why? Because the American Eel dragged your hook into their holes! :)

-- Avoid snags: there are very few snags from Locust to Chestnut. The snag area is really around the bridges, since a lot of debris tend to concentrate in those areas. As mentioned above, the Schuylkill River does have a nice population of American Eel, and those little fellas can easily drag your hooks into their holes, resulting in a nasty snag! Therefore, be attentive to fish bites and use bigger hooks for the Catfish (Size #4 to 5/0). Leaving your rod unattended can certainly result in a bad snag.

Below are a couple photos of Catfish that were caught between Locust and Chestnut streets -- the site of the competition:

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus):

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December
Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris):

June

August

September

White Catfish (Ameiurus catus):

Note: this White Catfish measured 4.58lbs on the scale, only 0.04lbs smaller than the state record for the Bullhead Catfish Species (Ameiurus spp.)

I'll see all the participants in May! For those who are willing to participate -- best of luck for you guys!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Hello, Blog Readers!

Today I'm bringing you fellas my report for March 11th:

--- March 11th, 2015 ---

Location: Non-tidal Schuylkill River (Kelly Drive)
Time: 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- None

I went fishing on Kelly Drive (non-tidal Schuylkill River) with hopes of catching some nice Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris). The rain from the previous day made the River rage (up to 10k+ cfs); thus, it raised its water temperatures from high 30's to lower 40's. I set up three rods with cut American Eel (Anguilla rostrata). I used a traditional slip-sinker setup: 12-20lbs Fluorocarbon, 3oz. egg sinkers, medium sized snap swivels, nylawire leader and 5/0 circle hooks.

During the course of the day, I had 2 bites and 2 misses! The first bite was really good. It was a Flathead Catfish for sure! It pulled my drag all the way to the middle of the River, and my line had so much debris and trash on that it snapped. Recall that the river was muddy and the current was fast! I would estimate the fish to be in the range of 15-20lbs (although, I never even saw it). The second bite was a let down. I set the hook, felt the fish for 5 seconds, and then nothing...

A nice view of the non-tidal Schuylkill River at Kelly Drive. Unfortunately, this photo makes no justice, as the viewer is not able to see the water level difference or the speed of the current. Regardless, just keep in mind that the water level was much higher due to (1) the ice meltdown, (2) the water lowering of some watersheds that connect to the Schuylkill River, and (3) the rain on the previous day. 

Here's a nice addition to the "Things that you don't see when you stay at home" album: what seems to be a Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma americanum) walking on my hand. Thankfully, this little fella wasn't hungry. Therefore, it walked away happily.

When I posted about this fishing trip on my Facebook Page, a couple readers were reluctant on winter Flathead fishing. Readers -- do not underestimate fish! First, remember that fishes do not hibernate. As a matter of fact, plenty of different Species of fish can be caught through the ice during harsh winters. So, here's a little bit of information concerning Flathead Catfish during winter time:

-- Here is a nice article on Winter Flathead Fishing, down South. It was actually written by my friend's husband.

-- If you are more of a scholarly type, you may read this "PhD" equivalent dissertation on the diet behavior of Flathead Catfish (specially Chapter I). It portrays them in North Carolina, but there are parts that generalize the Species. Very informative and run to read. 

Spring is coming, fellas!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Hello, Readers! 

Here is my super short report for March 9th:

--- March 9th, 2015 ---

Location: Tidal Schuylkill River (Schuylkill Banks)
Time: 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- None

Air temperatures were finally in the high 50's, but water temperatures were still just above 32F. With such great weather, who could have stayed at home, right? Hah. So, I ended up hitting the Schuylkill Banks in hopes of catching some Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus).

I arrived on the spot around 11 a.m.. I sat three rods for Catfish -- two with frozen Bunker (Brevoortia tyrannus) and one with cut American Eel (Anguilla rostrata). I used a slip-sinker setup: 2oz. bullet sinker, medium size snap swivel, and nylawire leader with size 5/0 circle hooks. In other words, I was targeting them all the way down. 

As mentioned above, air temperatures were finally between 40-50F; however, the River was still a little bit iced up (<5%). As a matter of fact, the ground was still frozen solid: it was quite a challenge to put those rod holders in there. Haha.

After seven hours of fishing, I didn't even get one bite! My friend Peter S. joined me around noon and left around 3 p.m., finishing his day without a single bite either. Overall, it was a very tough and frustrating day...

A nice view of the Schuylkill Banks between Chestnut and Walnut Streets. Note the left over ice on the ground. :)

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Take Action: Support the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 -- S. 405

Hello, Blog Readers! 

Today I'm here to ask for your help in supporting the new "Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 -- S.405," which is a collection of bills that will tremendously help the fishing community nationwide! 

As you may or may not be aware of, one of the biggest threats that our sport faces nowadays is the lack of access to fish. Decade after decade, we lose access to some of our favorite fisheries -- either because of development, or budget cuts, or even because government bodies and private groups shut down public launch areas (the concept of "privatization" of our waters).

Believe it or not, this loss of access weights deeply in our community: according to AnglerSurvey, a survey in 2011 showed that 1 in every 5 anglers quit the sport after having their main fishing spot taken away. Most anglers were able to change to another spot; however, one third of the affected anglers mentioned that the loss made them quit fishing. In other words, a decline of access to fish in our community leads to another serious threat in our sport: declining participation.

This is seriously no joke, my friends! Old timers around Philadelphia will definitely agree with me on this. As a matter of fact, they may even have suffered from this issue. Recall the closure of the Springton Reservoir in Delaware County? Or perhaps the Churchville Reservoir in Bucks County? These two major bodies of water used to reward local anglers with amazing fishing! And now? Absolutely no entry or access to it. Memories of fishing those places will remain memories...

It's because of these types of situation that we -- anglers -- need to stand up as a community. We need to stay focused and strong. We need to stay together and fight for what is ours. If we don't, what is ours will be taken away -- little by little. Forget about all those petty fights about spot burning and secrecy -- there are plenty of bigger problems for us to worry about. And that's why I am inviting you to be a conservationist and activist angler for a day by supporting that collection of bills that will benefit all of us.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 -- S.405 includes a collection of bills that focuses mainly on the four topics below:

-- Making Public Lands Public (Where can you fish?)
-- HUNT act (Improve access to fishing)
-- Heritage act (Open water must stay open)
-- Protection act (What's in your tackle box?)

You may click on each of them to read its full description. Note that I personally totally agree with the first three, and I partially agree with the fourth one. The "Protection Act" is to ensure that we will have lead tackle available nationwide. Now...lead is not really the healthiest material to be used in the sport; however, as for nowadays, there has not yet been a reasonable solution for switching lead to a better chemical. When I mention "reasonable," I am referring to economics: there has been other products in the market to substitute lead; however, their prices are insane! Consequently, many anglers would suffer from that. However, I do believe that there will be an alternate solution for this problem in the future.

If you agree with those four topics and you would like to fight for yourself and the community, you may click here to file your report with your local Senators (I did it already, and it took me less than 5 minutes). You may personalize your message -- in case you do so, please do not forget to spell-check.

And, of course, keep in mind that you are doing the right thing! You are helping yourself as an angler by defending your rights, and you are helping your local community as well. You are helping us prevent a similar disaster like the closure of Springton or Churchville Reservoir. Remember: being a true angler is certainly not just about showing photos of big fish and sharing information in forums -- it's about fighting and caring for what is ours, and that includes our well-being as anglers, the well-being of our watersheds, and the well-being of the fishes that we love so much. Without any of these, there is no sport of fishing.

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

March Fishing Sessions: 03/02 - Soaking Nightcrawlers at the Fairmount Dam

Hello, Blog Readers!

Here is my fishing report for March 2nd:


--- March 2nd, 2015 ---

Location: Tidal Schuylkill River (Fairmount Dam)
Time: 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- None

February was certainly a brutal month for the year of 2015. Not a lot of snow, but a lot of ice and sleet. As a matter of fact, Philadelphia hit record temperatures this year: its "coldest winter" since 1996! Thus, most of our watersheds were frozen within the second week of it. On the third week, there was already safe ice on small ponds and lakes. By the end of February, even bigger bodies of water had safe ice (i.e. Marsh Creek, with 10 inches of safe ice at certain spots; the non-tidal Schuylkill River, with at least 4 inches of safe ice at certain spots; etc).

Finally the ice started to break down at the beginning of March. Using the opportunity of high 40's, I decided to alleviate my symptoms of "cabin fever" by going to the Fairmount Dam -- one of those spots that never freeze during the Winter (recall: moving water is often slightly warmer than still water and does not freeze).

A nice view of the Schuylkill River from the Fairmount dam. One can see the old mill on the left side, right next to the waterworks museum. On the background, there is the Spring Garden bridge.

I arrived there around 5:30 p.m., right at its lowest tide. The objective was to stay until 11 p.m. and catch the incoming tide. I set up two rods with a "high-low rig" and whole nightcrawlers, casting them around the falls. The third rod had a 1/2 oz. jighead with a Zoom Fluke on it.

Then, I noticed something really cool -- as I looked around, I noticed a school of fish swimming right in front of me! Now, fellas...if you can spot fish swimming around you, that's always a good sign. At the beginning, I thought that the Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio) were congregating on the warmest spot of the River. However, it turned out to be a wrong assumption. After I put my polarized glasses on, I realized that those were schools of Gizzard Shad (Dorosoma cepedianum). Known as filter-feedings, the Gizzard Shad cannot really be caught by conventional fishing ways. What a bummer!

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" here is a nice photo of a Gizzard Shad swimming right under my face, in about 2 feet of water. Notice the crystal clear aspect of the Schuylkill River, implying that the River did not get any rain for an extended period of time. 

As I looked around, I found this clump of ice to be very interesting! During my whole fishing session, these pieces of ice just stayed together, rotating relentlessly. Sadly, air temperatures increased dramatically for the next couple days. Otherwise, I am pretty sure that those clumps of ice would have turned into a beautiful ice circle. If you are not familiar with the concept of ice circles, google it. :)

I pretty much fished for the next hour or so without a single bite...Then, around 6:30 p.m. or so, two other fellas came down to join me (that is correct: I wasn't the only crazy folk to go down there for a few casts). They were fully equipped with different types of lures. Ultimately, they decided to throw some crankbaits and rattle traps around the falls.

Just around sunset, I got two extra visitors at the Dam. They threw all different kinds of lures, but nothing. In the end, they surrendered to the cold and left.

As I mentioned previously, my original plan was to fish until 11 p.m. to catch the high tide. However, just like the other two fellas, I was beaten by the cold! I realized that I was not well prepared for the night weather. I underestimated it. Therefore, I left after sunset. I did take a "bonus" photo for you readers, though:

Have you ever wondered why you get snagged when you cast right in front of you, at the dam? Well...here is your answer: do you see that piece of wood and that rock formation sticking out of the water during the lowest tide around full moon? Yes -- your lure is probably in that little treasure cove! 

Heh. More reports will be coming soon! 

Best of Luck to all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.