January Fishing Sessions: 01/26 - Catfishing the Schuylkill River

Hello, Blog Readers!

First, let's talk about the latest updates:

-- After reviewing all my quantitative fishing data for the previous year, I finally finished my statistical fishing chart for 2014Compared to 2013, I fished 52 less days in 2014. I also caught 1650 less fish. However, qualitatively speaking, I was still able to catch a fair amount of different Species of fish (38, counting hybrids). Overall, it was a good [and busy] year. Enjoy the data and the photos!

-- The Statistical Fishing Chart for 2015 is up! I will do my best to update the post as the fishing sessions go by. As a matter of fact, "fishing session posts" will be written individually this year, and not as a monthly pack.

-- The Fishing Log post has been updated all the way to January 26th, 2015. There you will be able to see "where" I went, as well as "when" and "what" I caught on those days. 

-- The "Public Fishing Album" has been reopened on the EPF FB Page. Anyone can submit photos, as well as it passes the guidelines. For more information, you may read this post. Please note that I've also updated that post, and even added a wonderful bonus photo of my friend's grandfather with his catches, back in the days! And when I say "back in the days," I mean to say that the photo was taken pretty much one century ago. Neat, eh? Heh. As for the old photos that were already in the Public Fishing Album before it got deleted, I'll try my best to salvage them! There should be a couple photos in by the end of the day.

Now, here's my short fishing report for January 26th:

--- January 26th, 2015 ---

Location: Schuylkill River (tidal)
Time: 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 1 Channel Catfish (22.5 inches, 4.85lbs)

To tell you guys the truth, the month of January has been extremely troublesome to me! I seriously tried my best to go out and fish; however, Physics and life were always in the way. In other words, too many responsibilities to handle. Then, when I did have a good day off, the weather wouldn't help at all! Lakes and ponds were frozen, but not frozen to the point that ice fishing could be done (recall: 4 inches for safe ice!!!). Either that, or the weather would be below 32F with gusting winds. So, you guys get the idea...the weather was just nasty throughout January.

Thankfully, we had a couple days of rain around the 20th. Temperatures raised slightly above freezing point; thus, the warmer water really helped to melt the ice. Being my last chance to fish in January, I didn't miss the opportunity! 

I wrote to a couple friends and gathered a crew for a Catfish session on the Schuylkill River. I was glad to see my friends Don G., Bryan KL [with his two kids], and Blaise FP down by the river with me! Of course everyone else thought that we were crazy to be fishing under that type of weather. After all, the grass was still snowy and it was still "cold," just like Winter is supposed to be! Also, for some reason, people tend to believe that the fishes are completely inactive during the Winter, which is not true. Remember: fish do not hibernateAs a matter of fact, if one does a little bit of research, one comes to realize that the biggest Cats in the US are pulled during the colder months of the year! Astonishing, isn't it? 

We started our fishing session around 11 a.m., and we knew that the "biting window" would be very short. This is usually how it happens during the Winter time, folks: the action happens really fast and for a short amount of time (if you read my post above, you now understand why). I had my cut American Eel ready! Don was soaking his Bunker, and Bryan was trying some bagel.

In the end, our expectations did not betray us: my friend Don G. was the first one to set the hook, around 12:45 p.m.. After fighting the fish for a couple minutes, he landed a 3.92lbs Channel Catfish -- his first fish of the year! About 20 minutes later, his rod bent again. His second fish came in: a 4.94lbs giant. At that point, Don pretty much convinced me that the fish were really into the Bunker! 

And guess what? As soon as I changed my cut Eel to the Bunker, I got a hit on my noodling rod. I ended up landing my one and only fish of the day: a 4.85lbs Channel Catfish!

After that, my friend Blaise FP arrived on the scene; however, the action was already gone...Bryan KL was trying to catch some, but he spent a lot of time setting the rods for his kids. So, I guess he missed the action time as well. We fished for a couple more hours, leaving around 2:30 p.m..

Overall, it was a good day: 3 fish; all above the 3.5lbs range! They were all safely released. Photos of the session are below:

Well...I guess common folks would really think that we were crazy for fishing there. The grass was snowy and the soil was frozen solid! We even had to use a hammer to punch our rod holders in. Heh.

My friend Don G. with his first Channel Catfish of the day: a 3.92lber on frozen Bunker. Also his first fish of the year! (not a bad start, if you ask me...)

Don G. strikes again: second Catfish of the day, at 4.94lbs. Also on bunker.

As mentioned previously, I switched to Bunker after Don landed his two Cats. Here's the result: a healthy one-eyed Channel Catfish (missing the eye towards me), weighting 4.85lbs.

A photo of our set up, after noon. Note that the snow is almost gone. At this point, the ground is as nasty as it can be: muddy and dangerous! In the photo, you see Bryan KL in front and Don G. all the way back.

Finally, here's a photo of Bryan's daughter. This is an excellent reminder that there are still outdoor activities for kids nowadays. Parents at home, heed my words: technology is good and everything, but it shouldn't consume all of your kids' time. Take him/her out for a walk, fishing, hiking, something! But being outdoors is certainly healthy...

February will certainly be MUCH BETTER than January! 

Tight lines, readers.

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

This will be my Statistical Fishing Chart for 2015. Every catch that I perform will be registered in terms of size -- i.e. length and estimated weight. This will help me create a little "fishing diary" and keep scores and data along the year. I'll attempt to update this post regularly.

Before going further, here are a couple notes that you want to take in consideration:

-- Most small fishes are measured by length and have their weights estimated by a "growth chart." Most of the growth charts can be found on the PA Fish and Boat Commission's website. The remaining ones were self-made, after analyzing the collection of many samples of the same Species.

-- Some Species of fish here are identified using "special" methods. Those include microscope analysis for micro-fishes, particularly a special analysis of their physiology (i.e. anal fin count, scale distribution, etc). The microscope that I use is a Biological M500 series from AmScope.

If you want specific data on a certain Species, such as location, bait, or time of the catch, just shoot me an e-mail at sheng12182527@gmail.com. I have everything recorded in my fishing logs.

Enjoy!

Click here for my Statistical Fishing Chart for 2014.
Click here for my Statistical Fishing Chart for 2013.
Click here for my Statistical Fishing Chart for 2012.

Last update/fishing session: 01/25/14

Days fished this year: 1

Maximum number of fish caught in a day: 1 (Schuylkill River - 01/25/14)
Maximum pounds of fish caught in a day: 4.85 lbs (Schuylkill River - 01/25/14)
Number of different species caught this year: 1

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Results for last year:

Days fished in 2014: 85

Maximum number of fish caught in a day: 51 (Upper Cooper River/Wallworth Lake - 09/27/14)
Maximum pounds of fish caught in a day: 57.70 lbs (Schuylkill River - 06/16/14)
Number of different species caught in 2014: 38
TOTAL # of Fish caught in 2014: 702
TOTAL # of Pounds caught in 2014: 575.92 lbs.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Size is in inches; weight is in pounds.
1 Inch = 2.54 Centimeters
1 Pound = 0.45359237 Kilograms

Log format:


------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- Name (Species) -- #/ Max. Size/ Max. Weight/ Total Weight

Location caught (Biggest, in terms of lbs) - Date caught

Photo
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

# = Number of fish of certain Species caught in 2014
Max. Size = Longest fish of certain Species caught in 2014 (In Inches)
Max. Weight = Heaviest fish of certain Species caught in 2014 (In lbs)
Total Weight = Total amount of weight of certain Species caught in 2014 (per Species)
Location caught (Biggest - in) = Where the biggest fish of certain Species was caught
Date = When the biggest fish of certain Species was caught

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- 
Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) -- 1/ 22.5 (in)4.85 (lbs)4.85 (lbs)
Schuylkill River - 01/25/15


Happy 2015!!! EPF's Goals and Expectations for this Year.

Happy [Late] New Year, folks at home!


I hope you have all enjoyed your holiday season and I wish a blessed year for you and your loved ones! I can definitely tell you that I could have enjoyed mine better; however, I was satisfied to a certain point. Heh.

As you may have noticed over the time, the number of posts in the EPF Blog dropped drastically in the year of 2014. As I have mentioned many times previously, life gets in the way of fishing! Please keep in mind that a good Blog takes a good amount of time and sweat: all the hours from field experience (i.e. fishing), hours for writing posts and blog management, hours for answering e-mails; all of that while leading a student's life and working to make a living. As much as I love the sport of fishing and the free sharing of information in this Blog, life has been so hectic for me over the past year that I had to cutoff a few hours here and there for fishing; therefore, for the Blog itself. Thus, I hope you folks understand why everything is delayed! 

Right now I'm still catching up on answering e-mails; however, I do have my goals and expectations for 2015! First of all, rest assured -- although there will be fewer updates in the year of 2015, the Blog will still be up and all previous posts will be available online. Since my time this year will be very limited for fishing, most of the posts in the Blog will be technical. A typical example of it can be found here.

For now, the main plan is to:

1. Finish the following posts:

-- Post on still-fishing.

2. Perform the following updates:

I will also try my best to update all my previous posts to a certain extent. In other words: fix the grammar, change the font color to a more "comfortable" one, add more information, etc. As a side note: I would like to apologize in advance for all the grammar errors in older posts. English is actually my fourth language and I started learning it back in 2007; thus, fortunately, I've improved it year by year. I promise that I will fix all the errors when I can!

I will eventually post each update along posts on the Blog and Facebook Page.

3. Create new introductory posts:   

I actually have plenty of material to work on new introductory posts for Philly/South Jersey watersheds. Along the months, I will be doing formal posts for the Manayunk Canal (Manayunk --PA), Newton Lake (Collingswood -- NJ), Kirkwood Lake and Linden Lake (Lindenwold-- NJ), East Brandywine Creek (Downingtown -- PA), Centennial and Concourse Lakes (West Philly -- PA), etc.

4. Keep posting fish up! 

As hectic as life can be, fishing is still my number one passion in life. In other words, I will be reserving 1 day a week for fishing and Blog management! That means a weekly post on my fishing sessions, throughout the year.

That's it for now, readers! On a final note, please do not forget to renew your fishing licenses for the year of 2015! For a PA fishing license, you may purchase it online here. Here are the links for NJ -- freshwater and saltwater -- and finally, DE.

My fishing sessions will start once again after January 23rd! 

Tight lines,

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Fishing Styles -- Mastering the Art of Still-Fishing

Hello, Blog Readers! 

It's been a good while since I wrote a technical fishing 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).

This is only the first post of my new "fishing styles" post series, which 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 didactic fishing books or fishing websites. In other words, these posts will be partially based on my own understandings and my field experiences

Note that these posts will also help me a lot in the process of answering technical questions through e-mail/EPF Facebook Page. Throughout the years, I've noticed that many readers have difficulty finding online information on "what to use," "how to fish," "what to do," etc. As a matter of fact, that's one of the reasons why forums and drama exist. Heh. Therefore, this post series will also work as a type of FAQ (Frequent Asked Questions) in disguise, saving me the time to answer each reader's technical question individually.

Because this post is a little bit long, I've divided it in different sections for a 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 misconception in section 2. 

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. You yourself may have 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). Still-fishing is not only a legit fishing 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 in 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 the art of 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.

As a matter of fact, 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 still 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. This is actually an awesome rig for fishes who travel in schools.

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 certain types of Catfish), there is a plethora of other Species that will bite on a still-fishing session. 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, all using the still-fishing style: Northern Snakehead (Channa argus), Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu), American Eel (Anguilla rostrata), Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis), White Perch (Morone americana), Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens), Sunfish (includes all 4 types -- Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus), Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), and Redbreast Sunfish (Lepomis auritus)), Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), Brown Trout (Salmo trutta), Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), etc. Of course the rig and the bait of choice 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 will 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 fish 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, 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. However, 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 (do not confuse it with the jerk and pause motion -- that is another technique). This technique is usually performed with suspending jerkbaits and soft plastics, but it will still work for other types of bait as well. Here is a very simple example of dead sticking: leaving a jitterbug on top of the water. 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 Southern 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 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. It is a known fact that an angler's total catch ratio will dramatically go down if the same disregards as little as a single parameter. Here's a very good example for this statement: a bunch of 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, and bear 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. It is as they say: "better safe than sorry." That's pretty much the concept behind this.

For this whole section, let's take the Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) as an example. It turns out that this type of Catfish is a perfect target for still-fishing. After picking the Flathead Catfish as your main target, you should just "google it." Make sure to write down as much information as you can! Here is an example:

"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."

Side 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 formulating 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 (includes 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 Sunfish 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 my little jig. :)

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. Similarly, "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 for you readers to think about. Note that the fishing jargon is also included:

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! Also, there are a lot of difficult counter-measurements to ensure that the fish doesn't get away. Consequently...there's a lot of frustration if the fish is lost! Heh. That's one reason why many anglers prefer to "go heavy" and power-play the fish. 

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!       

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 while fighting a fish: 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.

Author's ideology: first, let's talk about line visibility. A lot of people tend to believe that fishes are totally ignorant of an angler's submerged line. The main question is: "Is that true?" And the simplest answer turns out to be a tricky one: "It depends." As you read through this paragraph, please keep Pavlov and his dogs in your mind. If you are fishing an area that was never fished before, chances are that you really don't need to worry about your line at all. You can use the thickest line you have in hand and punch your bait in the water with the loudest sound. With the right bait, you will still catch fish! If you use the same line and technique in an area that is heavily fished, chances are that you will not catch anything at all. You may even be able to notice the fish looking at your bait and not going for it... Heh. Summarizing, the level of fishing pressure directly influences the fishes' instincts. High fishing pressure areas demand more of a "finesse fishing." Similarly, low fishing pressure areas don't demand anything at all (the fish are just utterly ignorant). Always keep in mind that fishes that have been caught and released multiple times will certainly notice your line in the water! 

--- 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.