Fishing for Largemouth Bass at Kelly Drive (Schuylkill River)

Hello, Readers...
I decided to stop by the Kelly Drive portion of the Schuylkill River this last Wednesday. I checked the weather website: "cloudy, with some 50% chance of showers in the afternoon". I thought it was the perfect weather, since I didn't really want to get darker than I am (my "farmer tan"), and suffer more from heat stress (I'm always carrying tons of water to not get dehydrated). Summer can be a killer. Stay protected from the heat, guys! For more details, you can read my other post on how to stay protected during Summer time.

I arrived at the Boathouse Row area around 10 a.m.. My plan was to catch some big Common Carps; therefore, I went there full of hopes. I went straight to my favorite Carp spot (pool behind the Cosmic Cafe), thinking that today was my lucky day! After all, with the sun shining so strongly in the morning, I could see about 7-8 of them swimming around there (that spot is great for stalking them, even though the water is murky). From naked eye, their sizes varied from 10 to 15lb, no bigger than that. I set up my rods, left them there, and sat under the shadow of a nearby tree. I spent about three hours there, until I got hungry. No runs at all. Not a single bite. I set one of my rods for Panfish, with hopes of catching some Bluegills. Without a single bit after a while, I decided to make a quick stop at the Cosmic Cafe at Kelly Drive to eat something.

The Cosmic Cafe, as I mentioned in the previous post, is my place for food and drink supply. The prices are very reasonable for the quality of their products - organic, healthy, and mostly from local farms. I've tasted some of their sandwiches, and I liked it a lot! Their drinks were also awesome: I had so far an organic strawberry-banana smoothie; a chocolate milk from a local farm; the home made carrot juice, etc. These drinks are just for my own pleasure, though. For sustenance, I mostly refill my bottles with their free cold water, and purchase their fruit parfait to cool down.

After taking a break from the sun, and supplying myself with food and beverages, I went back to the hunt! I put my medium action rod away, and started casting my light action with nightcrawlers. After a while, still without any bites, I decided to switch from natural bait to lures. I got my Trout spoon (which I usually use for Panfish as well) out of the box, and started casting it from the banks. First cast: something hit it! I thought it was a bluegill (I was really expecting it), but it turned out to be a small Largemouth Bass! Awesome! That's when I started to get excited...

I cast a couple times at the same spot, landing a second Largemouth Bass - a little bit bigger than the first one (10 inches). A couple more tries, a third one came up - a bit bigger. I got three Largemouth Bass on the same spot, meaning that they were probably feeding around that area. After catching those three, I cast for about fifteen more minutes, but nothing came up. I started moving up the Kelly Drive (away from the Boathouse Row) - walking and casting, and I finished the day with eight Largemouth Bass; the biggest one being 1.7lbs, caught on a Popper. I have a picture of it, but the quality is so bad that I decided to not post it. Hopefully I'll take some decent pictures next time.

It's very pleasant for me to know that the Largemouth Bass are still in the upper portion of the Schuylkill River (non-tidal). Lately, I've been quite sad, knowing how people are overfishing different bodies of water in Philadelphia. Over harvesting fish is certainly dangerous for any aquatic environment, especially when the harvested Species are not very common (i.e. harvesting Walleyes at the Fairmount Dam; taking Black Crappies at Meadow Lake). Harvesting is okay with me; however, I'm truly a CPR type of person ("Catch-Photo-Release").
For that reason, there's a chart for creels and sizes at the PA Boat and Commission website (click on the link to view it). The problem is when people do not follow these laws... Myself, I've taken fish from waters in Philadelphia for bait or research (sometimes some Trout for eating). However, I always follow these rules, not to mention that I rarely take any kind of fish in its spawning season (there are a couple exceptions with stunted populations), and fish that are considered "big" (trophy fish).

Anyways, to conclude, I had a wonderful fishing day on Wednesday, even though my primary goal was Carp. It was pleasant to catch that many Bass in one day, and even unusual! Hopefully I'll bring some great pictures next time.

Sunset at Kelly Drive. It's impressive how many Largemouth Bass are actually swimming in those parts. Walking and casting is the perfect approach for this area of the River, covering as much water as possible in a fishing session.

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights...


Leo S.