Doing a Few Friend sessions at the Tidal Schuylkill

There's certainly been a lot of rain lately. However, weather itself does not stop crazy fishermen from fishing, does it? As my friends RZ (I first met at the PAC forum - Philadelphia Angler's Club) and Nadir Garvin (I first met at the Walnut street bridge last year) would say: "Let's go fishing!" And we did. And we caught a good amount of fish; and we had a lot of fun!

I did a couple sessions at the Tidal portion of the Schuylkill River these days, with one or both of them. A couple days ago, I did my first session with RZ near the Spring Garden section of the river. At the same day, Nadir Garvin was fishing in between the Market St. Bridge and Spring Garden. Secondly, after a day, RZ and me fished two different spots: between Walnut and Chestnut bridges, and between Locust and the Walnut Bridge - both spots showing good fish. Finally, yesterday, Nadir Garvin, RZ, and me were fishing between Walnut and Chestnut Bridges.

As the rain came and passed many times, fishing showed up to be very very promising. The huge amounts of eels were present from the first session until the last one, yesterday (after all, the river was muddy all the way through our sessions). In total, I've caught 44 eels on nightcrawlers during these past 3 sessions, the biggest one being 18 inches (picture is all below the post). RZ had his first eel as well, which ended up good. Nadir, on the other hand, fell victim to them: his line got all tangled and slimy because of these little "knot-masters". It's good to remind all fishermen that eels are a very curious type of fish (they spawn at the Sargasso Sea, and many factors about their behaviors cannot be explained by scientists yet), not to mention that they become really messy once they are outside of the water. Myself, particularly; I feel amazed every time I see a knot made by an eel on my line. They are absolutely the best knot makers in the World! Their body is naturally slimy, and flexible to the extremes. They can easily flip their bodies in a "S" motion, and rotate themselves 360 degrees while being hooked, messing up all your line! It handled without gloves, or protection, they leave a trace of slime on your hands that may last you two days, watching it constantly. In other words, they are good bait (which is the reason I fish and freeze them); However, really nasty to handle.

The populations of White Perch were in demand these past days. Once the river gets muddy, and the quality of the water drops (more particles = less oxygen), the White Perch tend to stay in deep places - under structures, or hiding in slow pools. However, once in a while they do feed in the bottom. All three of us fished one of them successfully in these past sessions, but none of them were extremely big. RZ was fishing ONLY with chicken "guts" (liver, heart, God knows what); Nadir was fishing mostly with Nightcrawlers; and I was focusing mostly on Nightcrawlers, and pieces of fish. The White Perch were caught on Nightcrawlers and chicken "guts" (I'll guess a piece of chicken liver? hehe)

There were absolutely no Yellow Perch (their population is already candidate in the Schuylkill River); which was not a surprise, considering that they don't bite in certain kinds of circumstances (e.g when the river is muddy or the current of the river is altered).

Spots are not present in the river yet, but they will be there soon (hopefully). In the past two years, my experience was that the Spots come to the river on Fall, between the beginning of September until the end of November. They usually feed on Nightcrawlers, and I have a hint that they feed on little mollusks and clams at the place where I usually fish for them. They are usually juveniles, portraying a fish with purple stripes. For the ones not familiar with Spots, feel free to browse the links below:

Picture of a Spot:

Article on "What are Spot Fish"?

On my last session, I had a little sunfish frenzy with my friend Nadir. We fished over some structure next to the "loop", which is the little white boat located in between Walnut and Chestnut Bridges that belongs to the Schuylkill Banks Organization. I caught my biggest sunfish at the Schuylkill River this year over there. They were sincerely hitting on nightcrawlers like crazy. It was absolutely a good experience. The picture of my sunfish is below as well.

Of course the main event of all these fish sessions was the CATFISH. Once the river gets muddy, specially after short/heavy periods of rain, these fish get extremely active. Also, the chances of landing a big catfish increase dramatically when the river is muddy, and the current is faster. Also, chances of landing Flatheads also increase dramatically. First, for more information on "Flatties", you can access the website below, which belongs to the Boat and Commission:

The only Flathead I landed in these past sessions was a very small one, 4-5 inches, and I was happy to do so. RZ asked me a very interesting question recently: "What's the average population of Flatheads compared to the Channels in the tidal Schuylkill River?" Well, I'm not scientist when it comes to Flatheads, neither am I a specialist on it. However, if I were to give away a guess from my fishing experiences, the amount of flatheads I've caught from the section below the Fairmount Dam and Locust St., my best shot would be 200-1. In other words, for every two hundred Channel Catfish there's one Flathead. Of course their concentration would be higher at the base of dam; However, they are certainly lonely warriors. The picture of the small Flathead is below.

The Channels were absolutely awesome in the past couple days. They put up gorgeous fights, living up to their names. RZ's biggest one was 5.5lb (the picture is below), being the winner among the three of us! Seems that the chicken guts are an extremely powerful weapon against Channels. Maybe it's like a Cheese steak to them, or a pack of Doritos (I love these stuff), lord knows! But literally, RZ couldn't handle both rods at certain times. While he was landing one fish, the other one was bending! For someone who started fishing catfish a couple days ago, he is doing more than pretty good - he is doing VERY WELL. It was extraordinary, and we have ourselves a very successful Catfish fisherman.

Also, RZ fished a very unusual Jet-Black Channel Catfish. It's not the first time I've seen one of these: full black body, as if covered in petroleum. Small eyes (sometimes nonexistent), and beautiful! The picture of the Jet-Black is below as well.

Nadir didn't do bad neither. He landed most of the White Perch (we got ourselves another winner. I think he landed more White Perch in his life than anything else!), and his biggest catfish ended being 3lb (caught on a Nightcrawler). His fishing may be a little bit "blessed", "special", but he definitely has a heart and soul of a fisherman. The picture of his 3lb Catfish is below as well.

I ended with a 4lb catfish caught on a piece of Gizzard Shad. I was sincerely expecting bigger ones, but I didn't get lucky this time. I won't give up, though...I'll be constantly hitting the river this year until I land a 7lb+. So, I guess people will be seeing me there a lot!

Notice that the pictures were taken from different cameras; therefore, please, don't hate the quality. Despite the quality of the pictures, the purpose is clearly to show the fish. Also, all pictures of people are published here with their authorizations.

I didn't quite measure this one. Nadir took this picture for me, so it's a proof that I got at least one. Hahaha.

Even though the quality of the picture is not good, notice how the tip of the rod is bending. Catfish are good fighters, and not well-known here in Philadelphia. If you are a fisherman, I highly recommend "Catfishing".

A Picture of RZ with his second best Channel Catfish (a bit less than 5.5lb)

RZ's Jet-Black Channel Catfish. Very small eyes.

Another close picture of the Jet-Black Catfish.

My biggest sunfish of this year at the tidal Schuylkill. It was caught next to the "loop".

Nadir's 3lb Channel Catfish. Unfortunately, this picture was taken without anything in reference with. Therefore, it's hard to picture how small/big the fish was. However, it measured 3lbs.

Biggest eel of these sessions: 18 inches long.

Fishing in between Market and Chestnut St. Bridges at night time. The view is surely beautiful.

Cute small Flathead Catfish caught between Market and Chestnut St. Bridges. 4-5 inches long.

Fishing between Chestnut and Walnut st. Bridges. Notice how muddy the river is, and how the color is different from its usual.

Same location as above.

RZ with his best Channel Catfish: 5.5lb. Please, don't notice his closed eyes and happy smile (he was too excited!). The fish is gorgeous!

This picture has nothing to do with our last sessions. I accidentally put this picture up, and felt lazy to delete it. This is a batch of White Perch that I caught a week ago for heavy metal experiments. All of them were caught on Nightcrawlers.

Fishing next to Spring Garden with RZ. Beautiful view! Beautiful sky!

Hope you all enjoyed this post. It's been good fishing lately at the Schuylkill river!

Best of luck for all of us!

Long days and pleasant nights,


Leo S.


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