Fishing for White Perch at the Schuylkill Banks (Walnut Street Bridge)/ Nightcrawler month!

Now that it's August (late summer), I finally decided to purchase some Canadian nightcrawlers and adventure myself into different places with it. It's impressive how nightcrawlers ALWAYS have worked for me, despite of location or season of the year. Sunfish, trout, bass, perch, catfish, crappies, etc. - they chow the nightcrawler down! Sometimes, even the Carp, Striped Bass, and Snakeheads get hit on the nightcrawlers (rarely, but they do).

I'm not certain if it's in their genes, but nightcrawlers are absolutely a must if you are trying new ground. Therefore, in other words, if you are visiting a new place: nightcrawlers are a must! This month of August, almost all the posts here will show fish caught on NIGHTCRAWLERS. I'll focus on its importance, as well as its reliability. Well...I'll call this the "worm month" (Original name, huh?).

Since I have purchased nightcrawlers, I decided to go down to the Schuylkill Banks (At the Walnut street bridge) to fish for some catfish and perch. At this season of the year - late summer throughout all fall - the fishing at the banks is very productive. The small catfish are very often caught on nightcrawlers, while the bigger ones are usually caught there on shrimp, chicken liver, or fish fillets (some people fillet a white perch for bait, which is very good). However, I've seen many people land big catfish on nightcrawlers as well. At the beginning of the fall till the beginning of the winter, "Spots" are present in the river. They don't get big in sizes, but they are worth a picture - after all, who would think there are actually "spots" at the Schuylkill River, right?

My focus for yesterday was not the catfish, though, but the white perch. I usually go fishing at the Walnut Bridge portion of the Banks every late summer/early fall (for the reasons I've mentioned before). That's is the time when small fish start to get CLOSER to the banks (you can actually drop your line - not all the way to the bottom - and get certain species of fish), and big catfish start to patrol the bottoms of the closer banks. Last year, I caught 20-25 catfish by dropping my line straight down to the bottom, no casting at all. The biggest one was around 7lb, caught on a piece of shrimp. Also, by leaving the line 5-10 feet down, one may be able to get sunfish (bluegills, pumpkin seed, etc), small bass (largemouth, and very rarely a smallmouth), yellow perch, and white perch. If you are willing to fish the smaller ones, make sure you use a number 6 or higher hook.

Yesterday my focus was directly on the white perch. I usually cast out with an 1 oz weight (it's enough for me, even though some people use 2-3oz there), past the first pillar of the bridge; and 15lb or less of line (yesterday I was using 14lb fluorocarbon). The perch don't really get big at the Schuykill River (the biggest one, rarely, pass the size of a palm of a hand), but the action is constant and steady. I did my homework, and I came to observe and learn that schools of white perch pass through that location every ten minutes or so. Therefore, if there are breaks, they don't exceed the ten minutes limit (usually). Of course there will be days that the fishing is really bad (due to a number of factors - weather and temperature being some of them), and on those days no perch will bite at all. Don't give up: just come another day.

I started early this Saturday, around 11 a.m., and stayed until 3 p.m. in the afternoon. I landed a couple small catfish (the biggest one nearly exceeding a pound), and ended the day with 22 White perch. My goal with the white perch at this portion of the river is to test them for heavy metals, and usually I need a sample of 50-60 of them (same location, different sizes) to do so. Therefore, I'm harvesting them right now despite its size. I'll definitely post the results of my testing once I collect the rest of the sample (Tuesday I'll probably be down by the banks again). Basically, I'm testing them with an Osumax heavy metal testing set, and I'm testing it for: Manganese (Mn), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Mercury (Hg), Cadmium (Cd), Cobalt (Co), Lead (Pb), and Zinc (Zn). Like I said before, I'll definitely post the results here, as well as the process, once it's done.

Stay tuned for the next updates! This is going to be an awesome month, as fishing will start picking up in late summer and early fall.

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Leo S.


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