Wind, Current, and "Setting the Hook" - Part II

Here's the continuation of the post. For part one of this post, you can access the link below:

----------------Section 1: Tension and Force----------------
In the last post, I went through the principles of Archimede's Principles (Buoyant Force, etc), and explained situation #1.

It's interesting how I was reading some magazines about Pro-Bass fishing, and even the pros mention the importance of the concepts of buoyancy:

"...As for running depth, there's no single time and depth measurement for all these bait [Slender Silent Minnows for Fall Bass]. The bigger the bait the quicker it will sink. Also the line's diameter plays an important role. The thinner the line the quicker the bait will get down; the thicker the line, the more buoyant it is and the slower the bait will descend on the retrieve."

Mike Iaconelle, from New Jersey - "Regular contributor to BASSIN'."

"My favorite is the Strike King Tour Grade 1/2-ounce model in sexy shad color sexy shad painted blades. The lure has an extended skirt like a trailer and the package imitates the shad bass that are feeding on that time of the year ... The bigger skirt adds bulk and buoyancy; you can add a plastic trailer to do the same, but the skirts on the Tour Grade models eliminate the need for that."

Kevin VanDam (a.k.a. KVD), from Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Anyways...let's go to situation #2:

2. Have you ever set the hook (which means pulling the rod abruptly in response to a fish's bite), feel the weight and the force of the fish for a moment, and suddenly lose it? You probably said something like "OHHHHH!!!!" at that time, isn't it (or you cursed, or shacked your head. hehe)? After all, you lost the fish. Keep this thought in mind.

Believe it or not, this situation is SO RELATED to Physics. Most people don't even realize it, or have the curiosity to think about it. So, let's take a couple small steps and think about the situation first. Let's create two different images to illustrate situation #2:

A. There's a fisherman sitting close to his fishing rod, a couple meters away (or feet away, if you prefer).

- He's "still fishing", carefully watching his rod for any bites.
- He's using a very simple rig consisted of a hook, swivel, and weight.
- He's not using a rod holder, neither holding the rod.

Suddenly, he spots the tip of his fish rod bending strongly. He runs there, grabs the rod, and pulls it backwards, abruptly, in response to the fish bite. He feels the heaviness of the fish, but his line suddenly looses, and he feels nothing. He loses the fish.

B. There's a fisherman casting and retrieving constantly at a river site.

- He's casting, carefully reeling his rod to allure the fish.
- He's using a very simple rig consisted of lure, swivel, and a split shot.
- He's holding the rod.

Suddenly, he feels a force pulling his rod, coming through his line. He pulls the rod horizontally right away, in response to the fish bite. He feels the heaviness of the fish for a second, and his lure is once again free in the water. He loses the fish.

Having this two images in mind, we can start thinking about why they lost their fish. Of course some of the the first ideas that comes to our head are the timing of the fish bite (sometimes we set up the hook too late), the behaviors of the fish biting (every species has different behaviors when it comes to eating), and the strength that we use to set the hook (which is the most important factor for us here).

So, it's related to Physics. But what aspect of Physics, though? Do you have any idea? Well...I'll post below the topics that are included in this section, but I'll mainly talk about perfectly inelastic collisions:

- Definition of Energy (many types of energy: gravitational, kinetic, electric, etc.)

- Conservation of Energy (energy cannot be destroyed. It can be changed)

- Momentum (quantity of motion by product of mass and velocity)

- Conservation of Momentum (Velocity in = velocity out)

- Work (Force applied through a certain distance)

I understand it's a bit confusing, but hopefully you will understand things better once you finish this post!

2. Inelastic and Elastic Collisions

Believe it or not, this concept is directly applied in fishing! And soon, as you read, you will understand how and why. Below are two links for you to read:
Complex understanding:
If you want to read more about Energy, follow the link below:

And finally, here's a video lesson that will probably enlighten your vision on elastic and inelastic collisions:

By theory:

- Elastic collisions are collisions where objects do not stick together after they collide. The pool balls in the video are a good example.

- Inelastic collisions are collisions where objects' shape are changed after collision. Tennis ball is a good example.

- Perfectly inelastic collisions happen when objects' shape are changed, and they stick together after collision. The fish and the hook are a very good example of that!

- We use work as we fish: we run our strength (muscles) to pull the fish in through a certain amount of distance. Hence, W = FdcosPhi (Force times distance times angle where force is applied. The Phi there refers to a Greek letter, and it could be any Greek letter, seriously... it's only used as a reference to indicate angle).

- Energy is transformed from potential to kinetic when the fish moves, not to mention that there are others energies involved.


In short terms: I hope that by having this knowledge in mind, people will be more cautious under certain circumstances, and increase their chances of landing a fish, and saving their gear.

One situation is where people swing their rods wildly to set up the hook on the fish. The secret is not in using a lot of strength, but rather using a sharp hook. Sometimes, with a good sharp hook and a big enough weight (still fishing), the fish basically hooks itself! It's the same concept as a bolt rig that is used in Carping. A wild swing is not only unnecessary, but it will bring disadvantages to the fisherman: the hook may bent; the line may snap if a poor knot was performed; and the fish may go away if the hook passed through its mouth (through meat, basically).

Another situation is where people's first reaction after a snag is to pull the rod (trying to release it with brutal and pure strength). The first reaction after the person knows the hook/weight/swivel is attached to something under water (or in air, such as a tree) should be to release the line and think about what to do. By releasing the line, the tension in the line (force) diminishes, allowing other forces to act on their own. The current of the water, the buoyancy, the gravitational force - all of these can help your inelastic collision undo itself (if the hook is already not too deep. It would only be deep if the fisherman's first reaction were to pull the rod). If it's already stuck, and the person knows it...well, then the pulling starts, and it's a 50/50 - either losing or saving the gear.

It's kind of common sense, isn't it? However, action and reaction seems to be so natural in us that people keep making these common mistakes. Out of excitement, nervousness, or whatever it's; it seems our neurons are sending the sharp message that says: REACT! And that's not always the best option.

I follow this theory blindly. That's why I always play my fish with my drag loose. I would rather have the fish pulling the line out of my reel than dragging it by brute strength (assuming there are no strategic areas of snag, and no obstacles in the water). It diminishes the chances of the fish escaping, the hook bending (damaging material), and the fish suffers less.

I must admit that one day I was the one pulling it wildly! But those times are long gone...(thanks God, haha)

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights, as Roland Deschain would say in High Speech.


Leo S.

Are the fish in the Schuylkill edible? Pollutants: Myth or Reality?

Hello, readers!

I have received many e-mails over the past few months with the same topic: "Is the fish from the Schuylkill River edible?" I've answered all those e-mails with the same response: "No, they are not edible!" Even so, it seems to me that some people did not trust my judgement when it comes to this idea. Therefore, I've finally decided to emphasize this topic with scientific data and write a full post on the subject here. After all, the topic of fish consumption is very important and should be known. 

First, I'm posting this photo that I've received a couple days ago. The photo portrays a fellow fisherman (CJ Jones) at the Fisherman Statue, which is located right next to the Fairmount Dam:

CJ Jones holding a 4.5lbs, 22.5 inches White Sucker.

Charismatic smile. Heh. CJ didn't mention how the fish was caught and what bait he used. It's very interesting to know that White Suckers are actually present at the Fairmount Dam area, especially since they are an unusual catch for the Schuylkill River. 

As a matter of fact, White Sucker fingerlings are constantly preyed by other species of fish (i.e. Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Muskellunge, Walleyes, etc), which is one of the factors that makes them rare in big Rivers. Another factor is related to their migration: they travel from location to location based on the different seasons of the year, giving anglers a hard time to find them consistently. Also, they adapt very well to different bodies of water and can survive under extreme circumstances -- for example, waters with low oxygen concentration, high pollutants and PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyl), etc.

Therefore, congrats on your capture, CJ! And thanks for sharing the photo with us.

Now, let's go to the main topic of this post, which is about the different kinds of pollutants in the tidal Schuylkill River -- from the Delaware River to the Fairmount Dam, and about the edibility and quality of the fish in this specific body of water.

First, it's good for readers to know about the type of pollutants that we are talking about here. After all, some people consume the fish even without knowing exactly what is inside of it. Even worse -- others know about it, and even so, they still ignore the fact that they are contaminated. 

Sadly, the truth is that people often hear rumors about these contaminants through peers and locals; but they don't usually search for its supporting scientific evidence. this topic really a myth or reality? Are the fishes really not edible because there are pollutants in them? Are they really contaminated? On the other hand, are people taking the fish consumption for granted? Are they basing themselves on rumors, meaning that the fishes are actually edible?

Worry not, readers...By the end of this post, your questions will be answered! Hopefully you will walk out of this blog today being a little bit more knowledgeable when it comes to the types of pollutants that are present in out local waters, and also a little bit more conscious minded when it comes to consuming "Wildly Caught Fish." 

First, here's a list of the different pollutants that may be found in different bodies of water around Philadelphia. There are many of them in reality; however, only two of them will be discussed in this post (the most important ones, of course):

1. PCBs. From an online dictionary: "Any of a family of industrial compounds produced by chlorination of byphenyl, noted primarily as an environmental pollutant that accumulates in animal tissue with resultant pathogenic and teratogenic effects."

Of course I wouldn't just give you guys -- the readers -- an online definition, right? After all, what exactly is the definition of "Chlorination of Byphenyl," "Pathogenic," and "Teratogenic"?

So, let's go step by step:

Chlorination of Byphenyl: I won't go too far into the chemistry here. The important facts that you need to know are related to the consequences of this "Polychlorinated Byphenil processing." It's a FACT that they are all chemicals derived from Byphenyl, which is a toxic chemical substance. PCBs are not only toxic, but also carcinogenic (i.e. help you form cancer cells), and non-biodegradable (i.e. they don't break down and tend to accumulate inside a living organism).

Pathogenic: "capable of producing disease." 

Teratogen: "a drug or other substance capable of interfering with the development of a fetus, causing birth defects." 

Putting everything together: different variations of PCBs are present in our local waters. They accumulate inside different kinds of fish (mostly bottom feeders), and they stay there until the fishes die and disintegrate, since PCBs are non-biodegradable (they don't break down). Once we consume the contaminated fish, the PCBs are transferred to our body; thus, staying inside of us until we die. In "good" amounts, the PCBs residing in our body can cause us cancer, fetal malformations in pregnant women, and probably other kinds of chronic diseases. Sincerely, folks; this is how bad PCBs are and many people are not aware of them whatsoever...

Below here are a couple links about PCBs in the Schuylkill River, containing scientific evidence of this toxin in our waters: 

This link is related to different Species of fish in the Schuylkill River, focusing on Suckers! It also includes the White Sucker that we cited previously. I felt an urge to post this hyperlink here because many people harvest the Common Carp from the Schuylkill River -- which is a Species of fish that is highly contaminated with PCBs and possibly other contaminants (i.e. heavy metals).

This is a link of a very old newspaper called "The Reading Eagle/Reading Times." This was issued on March 11, 1994. The purpose of posting this link is to show readers that this is not a problem that "started yesterday." This is an on-going issue that has been originated many decades ago! Even though the quality of the Schuylkill River water increased since the 1900's, the quality of the fish didn't improve much (as you may have read in the first link above). If you read this article carefully, you will realize that the fishes were not supposed to be consumed back in the days at all. You may go to page 13 to read the article on the Schuylkill River. 

This link is a more recent article, posted on 2009. The reason for this link is to show readers where these toxins really came from. Unfortunately, a big part of this is really due to our capitalistic society. "Toxic Chemical Discharge" from different companies is a serious issue, and thankfully we have many environmental lawyers dealing with these kinds of situation nowadays. However, it's still hard to track and control it. 

2. Heavy Metals. From an online dictionary: "Heavy Metals are metals and metal compounds that may harm human health when absorbed or inhaled. In very small amounts, some heavy metals support life. But when taken in large amounts, they can become toxic."

All the information that you need about heavy metals and its consequences to human beings can be found here

Also, here are some other links related to the Schuylkill River:

Link 1: It's good for the readers to read page 7-10 on this document, which shows how heavy metals are actually found in soils near bodies of water; not to mention that the contaminated soil cited in the document is directly related to the Schuylkill River.

Link 2: Page 116-117 talks about AMD (a.k.a. Acid Mine Drainage) and a bit about heavy metals in the mining sections of the Schuylkill River. In response, the management is installing limestone drains to remove heavy metals from the water. Note that AMD refers to the outflow of acidic water from metal or coal mines! The "outflow of acidic water" looks like this

February 25th, 2013 -- Yellow Boy flowing into Meadow Lake, Philadelphia, PA.

Thus, if you ever observe water flowing on top of an orange bed of Iron, keep in mind that acidic water from abandoned mines is flowing in there! 

Below, I've decided to post a couple links about fish consumption specifically for the Schuylkill River as a reminder of how dangerous it's to constantly consume them from it:

The Boat and Commission fish consumption list is an awesome source of what not to consume! Note the 1 meal/month for certain species of fish in the Schuylkill, and the "DO NOT EAT" warning for other certain species, such as the American Eel.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) PCB Total Maximum Daily Load document is another wonderful hyperlink. Give emphasis to page 15, where it describes historically the meals per month of certain species of fish for the Schuylkill River.

Of course the level of toxins varies from fish to fish. Their size plays a big role on it, since a fish's size defines its age. Therefore, it's highly recommended to eat fish within the limitations set by the Boat and Commission and the EPA guide. It's important to note that eating those fish constantly will certainly not make a person sick "right away." In other words, the effects are rather chronic than acute! This is one reason why anglers and folks keep eating contaminated fishes without a second thought -- they believe that just because they are fine after eating the fish, everything will be okay. Be careful! That is a very bad misconception! Recall: PCBs can cause cancer and Heavy Metals can cause all kinds of nasty illnesses once above their toxicity levels.

Myself, I would definitely not eat it at all.

This is a good post to show readers that fish these days are still contaminated in many of our local bodies of water! It's a shame that pollution has reached almost every body of water in PA, but that's the bad reality that we have to face. Hopefully our generation and future generations will keep track of these issues, rising the quality of aquatic life around here. As for now, the answer to the main question is: "No. The fish in the Schuylkill River are not edible, and the pollutants are not a myth. They are very very real."

However, as people say (a cliché, always!): "What the eyes don't see, the heart doesn't feel." I'm not really a cliché person, but I think that this sentence really explains a lot here. As far as folks don't know about the consequences of consuming these fish, the definitions of the different toxins in our waters, etc; they will continue to consume it. Therefore, me spread the word around.

Let's do our best to be healthy, and help the aquatic environment get better!

Best of luck for all of us!

Long days and pleasant nights,


Leo S.

FDR and its Sustainability

Sustainability: "forms of progress that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." This is particularly the best definition for the word sustainability, first given by the "World Commission on Environment and Development."

This is a powerful word; a very important one! Our World should be sustainable in many areas for future generations, but unfortunately it's not. It's a matter of fact that future generations will have problems with overpopulation, water supply, energy, etc. Even though these are serious problems that need to be solved, today's post is specifically about aquatic sustainability: how we should fish without putting the aquatic biodiversity at risk for the future.

To better visualize how critical this problem is nowadays, when it comes to aquatic life (in this case, fish), I have chosen the FDR park (Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, located next to the AT&T station, next to the Sports complex in South Philadelphia) as the subject for this topic. Over the years, locals have been reporting badly how fishing was much better years ago; how fish were bigger and more abundant at the lakes. Doesn't the same apply for everyone, almost everywhere else? As fishermen, I'm sure you already heard something like: "It used to be better before!", "There was more fish in the past...", "It ain't like before anymore...", "Everyday there are more people fishing here..." Not to mention when people start complaining, right? "They take too many fish...", "People harvest too much...", "Fish are taken during spawning seasons..."

If you never heard one of these before, just think for yourself: pick a location that you have fished constantly for three years (or more), and think approximately how many fish you got each year (consider the number of sessions you did). Did the number increase considerably over the years? Or did it decrease? Was the number of bites less or more? What about the fishermen: were there more people fishing year after year? Did it remain the same?

Well...I think it's evident that aquatic sustainability is one of the biggest problems fishermen face nowadays. After all, what are we going to FISH after ALL THE FISH IS GONE??? If you agree with me in this subject, I believe it's time to think a little bit more consciously about the future. Don't even talk about our children or grandchildren...some of the bodies of water that we fish these days may be "fishless" in our generation! The FDR park is a good example of how our waters are not sustainable these days. Below is a picture that I've posted in a previous post, which I'll use for references here:

So, I went there today with my friends Rob and Stephen. We packed our assortment of baits (lures - top water, plugs, spinnerbait, swimbait; eels; nightcrawlers; chicken livers; chicken hearts; corn; you name it!) and hit the road! I arrived there with Rob at 7:45 a.m., fishing first at the big lake (#2). Got two little bluegills there on nightcrawlers, which I wanted to use as bait for Snakeheads or Bass. Small sunfish could be seen swimming around, which is a good sign for the FDR park. However, after that, no fish was ever spotted.

After Stephen arrived, we moved to many locations. We went throughout #4, stopped by the end (down) of #5, went to #3, and made a final stop at the Gazebo at #2. By that time, it was around 12:40, and NO OTHER FISH was spotted at all. It wasn't a matter of following lures or going after baits: there was basically no fish swimming in the water at all. The water of the FDR is mostly very shallow, hitting 4-4.5 feet deep at its deepest - which is at #2. In all other sections of lakes, the fish can be spotted by naked eye; therefore, "stalking" can be done.

After many casts with different lures, still fishing (bottom), mid-water fishing with a float, and changing the bait constantly... No Snakeheads, no Catfish (the Boat and Commission should have stocked the lake with young Catfish this year), no Bass, no Crappie, no nada.

It was a beautiful day, indeed. Therefore, I can't say I was disappointed in going there with my friends. The company was awesome as usual, and the ambient was very pleasant. However, I can't say that I didn't feel a pinch of sadness by the lack of fish in the lake. Even though temperatures dropped dramatically in the past day, some fish should still be swimming around. It seems that Sunfish will be the only survivors of that lake - the warriors, as always.

We met a couple locals on our trip today. As soon as we started talking to them, we heard sad words from one of them: "It ain't like before. We don't catch them like we used to. I gave up on Bass fishing..." Believe it or not, the person shifted from Bass fishing to Carp fishing, and he had more success with the Carp during his past 4 sessions there than with Bass. He pledged that he had caught a 20lb Carp from lake #2, which is very believable.

But then...what can be done to minimize the damage we fishermen have done to our rivers/creeks/lakes/etc? Here goes some ideas to help with aquatic sustainability:

1. Always follow the law: The Boat and Commission has a set of laws for harvesting Bass.

2. Have common sense: There are no sets of laws for Snakeheads because they are an invasive species in PA. As the Boat and Commission describes - "Anglers suspecting they have caught a snakehead are encouraged to NOT release it, and report it to the Commission at 610-847-2442 or via email." The Boat and Commission encourages it, but it's not a MUST. Therefore, if you want to preserve the species in the FDR park, don't take fish when they are spawning, or undersized fish, etc. Letting them go is not agaisnt the law.

3. Watch your health: most fish in PA are not edible due to a high concentration of heavy metals. From the fish I've tested in the FDR park (sunfish and crappie), the results came back really bad. Therefore, by speculation, I can assume that results for Bass and Snakeheads there as bad as well. Before harvesting a fish to eat, be informed of its nutritional values. In other words, know if they are edible or not. Anyone can run a heavy metal test using a heavy metal test kit, and be more cautious about consuming bad fish. After all, chronic diaseases should be avoided at all costs.

These are only three advices that helps with sustainability. Please note that I'm not agaisnt harvesting legal fish! However, I do motivate "Catch and Release". Unless for research, bait purposes, and food, I release all the fish I get. are some pictures of today's trip. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of fish (only one - a little Sunfish. Haha):

Waking up early to watch this scenery is really gratifying.

The lakes at the FDR Park are naturally beautiful - a very pleasant environment to fish at.

Picture of a bridge next to lake #4. Don't ask me where the purple thing came from...

Rob and Stephen looking curiously at the water. Two good companions for fishing!

Look at the size of this wonderful creature: so small, and yet so powerful and resistant.

Note that there's a number 6 on this updated map of the FDR park. I've never noticed it myself, but there's another lake next to the gold course at the FDR park - maybe a lake full of fish? I guess I'll have to find out about it later...

Best of luck for all of us!

Long days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

Wind, Current, and "Setting the Hook" - Part I

No pictures, no memoirs, no travel pieces today! Today is more of a scientific piece. To start, one advice: this post is going to be like a dense lecture! If you are one of those, who looks forward to regular reports with pictures, you can absolutely skip this post. However, hence you came to a fishing blog, I would expect you to be very interested in the post below! After all, is there anything more fun than mixing science with fishing? Haha. Probably so. However, the post below is far than boring for any serious fisherman.

Note 1: I don't have pictures for this post. I know that diagrams usually help readers to better visualize certain situations, especially readers that learn visually. My apologies - I'll relay on your imagination here.

Note 2: I tried to make the information here as true and precise as possible, which means I have revised, and excluded anything that can possibly be a HYPOTHESIS. However, the data I have to support these ideas is not only from physics, but also from most of my past experiences. Therefore, if you doubt anything that I said here, feel free to Google stuff around. I don't think it will be easy to find a guide on these subjects, though... (on factors such as force, tension, wind, current; related to physics)

Note 3: The reading is very dense. Therefore, I've divided this post in parts. This is Part I.

--------------Section 1: Tension and Force--------------

To start, a little bit of Physics (which is convenient for me, hence I'm a physics major). Please, don't get startled! People tend to be afraid when they hear the word "Physics". If you are an experienced fisherman, you may not know, but you will likely know already what am I talking about in this section of the post. Also, I'll start from the beginning, and I mean from the very basics of it (definition, application, etc).

As fishermen, it's very important to realize that most of what we do in fishing is directly related to PHYSICS! Of course fishermen don't even think about the word "physics" while fishing (most people really hate physics!), but the fact that we act by common sense and trial and error (sounds familiar, huh? The empirical way) shows how we have the nature of physicists, after all. Physics is buried below our consciousness, in the shadows of the actions we perform while fishing.

Here goes some examples of how you may have acted without even knowing you were meddling with physics:

1. Have you ever used a float with a weight and hook, put it in the water, and watch the float sink right away? If you answered yes to this question, and you knew what you were doing, you probably figured out that that wasn't a fish bite. You probably figured it out that the weight was too heavy, and it was sinking the float. Keep this thought in mind.

2. Have you ever set the hook (which means pulling the rod abruptly in response to a fish's bite), feel the weight and the force of the fish for a moment, and suddenly lose it? You probably said something like "OHHHHH!!!!" at that time, isn't it? After all, you lost the fish. Keep this thought in mind.

3. Have you ever cast out in a body of water with an average to strong current, and suddenly watch your line moving in the direction of the current? Keep this thought in mind.

4. Have you ever played a fish, and lost it when it surfaced (the hook unhooked)? Keep this thought in mind.

5. Have you ever fished in a very windy day, and had trouble identifying fish bites by looking at the tip of your rod? Keep this thought in mind.

It's very likely that you went through all these situations, if you are really a fisherman. Maybe you could have skept situation 1, but you should have experienced the other 4 at least once in your life! If not, do not have shame - one day you will experience it, and you will know what am I talking about here. Now, here comes the physics and the solutions to it (Skip it if you are not into science because this part can be VERY CONFUSING):

1. Archimedes Principle
What happens when you throw your sinker in the water?'s obvious, isn't it? It sinks!

But then, what happens when you throw your float in the water?'s obvious by the name, isn't it? It floats!

But why does one sink, and why does the other one float? It's obvious, isn't it? "One is heavier than the other." "They are made of different materials - one is metal, the other one is plastic/wood." Those are not false statements. However, from a more accurate perspective, it can be said that one is denser than water (weight - sinker), and another one is less dense than water (float).

By theory:

- If something is denser than water ---> Sinks.
- If something is less dense than water ---> floats.

If you think about it, it makes absolute sense. Oil floats on water because it is less dense than water (get some kitchen oil and water in a glass, mix it, and you will see two layers forming - oil above, and water below). The same applies for our float. And therefore, our sinker sinks because it's denser than water.

Do we float in water? Have you ever thought about that? Certainly, dead fish float in water, right? that really correct? Well...if you want to find the answer, feel free to click on the link below:


Force: "Strength or energy as an attribute of physical action or movement" (Google: Definition of Force)
Buoyant force: "an upward acting force, caused by fluid pressure, that opposes an object's weight." (Google: Buoyant force Definition)
Gravity: "The force that attracts a body toward the center of the Earth, or toward any other physical body having mass" (Google: Gravity Definition)

By theory:

There's a buoyant force on every object in water (makes it float).
There's a gravitational force on every object in water (makes it sink).

Basically, when you throw something in the water, the object has a force that makes it sink. That is the force of gravity, and the force of gravity acts on the weight of the object. Therefore, the weight of the object makes it sink. At the same time, there's a buoyant force that acts on the object upwards, and tries to make it float.

That implies:

- If the force of gravity is greater than the buoyant force, the object will sink.

- If the buoyant force is greater than the force of gravity, the object will float.

So, what happened when the float sank with the weight? It meant that the force of the gravity of the weight+float was much bigger than the buoyant force of weight+float. Since the weight of the sinker is much heavier than the float, it has a much bigger force of gravity. Therefore, the solution is to simply make the weight smaller, in a way that the buoyant force of weight+float is greater than the gravitational force of weight+float.

I'm sure not a lot of people think about these stuff when they watch their rigs sinking or floating, right? And here comes the main question: " what? Why is this important?"

This example was certainly an easy example, and a very common one. However, if a fisherman takes another step in understanding these theories, much can be done to improve skills and performance. For example: by understanding the concept of buoyancy, a fisherman will be able to control the depth of his/her baits using different kinds of rigs (i.e. cork rig for still fishing). Check out this special CRAZY rig that allows a fisherman to control SPECIFICALLY the depth he/she wants:

Do not forget that changing the depth of baits is a very important concept in fishing! Certain species of fish bite at certain depths at certain seasons of the year. Also, hitting the "thermocline" increases the chances of success dramatically. Specially if you are a BASS FISHERMAN, the thermocline concept should be in your bible! For more information, you can access the website below:


Best of luck for all of us!

Long days and pleasant nights,


Leo S.

Group fishing at the Fisherman Statue (Schuylkill River)

I woke up 6:00 a.m. this morning knowing that I had scheduled a fishing session with my friends at the Schuylkill River. I looked up the weather in my computer: 34F! It was freezing! But then, so what? I thought: "Low or high tide, today is a full moon - which is a very good day to hit certain species of fish." I went out my door with that thought in mind.

I arrived at the location 8:10 a.m., and the tide was almost at its lowest. Soon after I arrived, my friends Rob and Stephen joined me. And much later, my friend Nadir joined as well. Believe it or not, the tide was so low at the Fisherman Statue portion of the Schuylkill River that we were able to go down on the sand and fish from there (pictures are at the end of the post).

The morning started good, despite the coldness of the water, and the fast current of the outgoing tide. Rob was the first one to catch a catfish, and I followed with one as well. However, our objective for the session was to catch anything else besides catfish! Striped Bass, Largemouth, Smallmouth, Muskies, Walleyes - so many species at that portion of the river to be caught; however, each with their own sets of times and circumstances. We started at the Fisherman Statue, and moved to the Fairmount Dam later in the morning.

Truth is: we ended the day not getting anything other than Catfish. However, I must say it was a fun day, as all group fishing sessions are! After all, it's not all about catching fish (even though the main objective in fishing is catching fish): it's also about enjoying the environment/outdoors, socializing with other people, enhancing skills and knowledge, and so much more...

That's definitely how rich fishing is as a sport, and it should be practiced more often - consciously and politely.

Here are some pictures of our session below, as well as some pictures of another session that I did with Nadir and Rob on Tuesday night, on the Schuylkill Banks (11/08/11):

Right next to the Fairmount Dam - the fishes' hideout

Beautiful day at the Schuylkill

No, it's not a fish! One of the "Nadir snags"

Time to do some casting!

Time to do some casting!

That's some action! And Stephen is with a determined face as well.

That's not the fish! That's the bait! Go, go, Striped Bass! =O

Schuylkill Artifacts - "It was once a Catfish head"

Rob with his first fish of the day! (and the last one)

Notice the low tide at the Fisherman Statue

---Tuesday - 11/08/11---

Rob with his Catfish

Nadir's biggest catfish of the night!

Schuylkill Artifacts - Rob fished this weird spear shaped object. Who knows what may come up next, right?

A photo of the Banks

Another photo of the banks

Stephen, Rob, Nadir - Thanks for joining the fishing session today!

Readers - Thank you for constantly reading the blog!

Best of luck for all of us!

Long days and pleasant nights,


Leo S. Philadelphia?!

Hello, Crazy Fishermen!

Finally, after a long time of suffering and dedication to college, I had some free time to go out fishing (and some time to write the blog).

Today I went to the Pennypack Creek with my friend NG (Welsh street area), hoping to fish some trout with spinners, power bait, nightcrawlers, etc. For our surprise, we found something quite incredible at the creek (not your regular rainbow trout, for sure). As the name of the post implies, we found and fished a PACU fish from the Pennypack Creek! How crazy is that, huh?

Since the Creek is actually shallow, the fish could be seen from a distance. We moved closer, taking a good look at it. The interesting part is how my friend NG identified the fish right away as a "Pacu", hence he had some of them as pets previously. That got me extremely surprised, especially because I would never expect a North American to identify its species. Myself, I've seen many of them back in Brazil; therefore, I could easily identify it. After a couple tries, we were able to fish it and hold it in our hands!

But well...what exactly is a Pacu fish?! And more surprisingly: what was it doing in Philadelphia's wilderness?! If these facts didn't surprise you yet, you just have to read a little bit more about it to find out how interesting this fish can be.

For example...

Did you know that the Pacu is from the Piranha family, and traditionally from South America?

Did you know that the Pacu has powerful teeth like those of a cow, capable of opening nuts?

Did you know that there were two incidents involving Pacus and human beings, where the fish bit off the genitals of those men (Ouch!), and they bled to death?

Hey...this is certainly not a joke, even though it sounds surreal (sound like a movie, right?). For more information, you can read about the Pacu fish on the websites below:

This is absolutely not the first time I've fished a Pacu. Back in my country (Brazil), Pacu is a traditional fish known for its great table share, and its fighting power as well. As you may have read in the websites above, they can get extremely big, meaning that this fish is considered an awesome game fish in Brazil.

However, it's not only weird to see one of those in the wild, here in Philadelphia, but also wrong. The fact that they are not naturally from here means that this fish is considered an invasive species if found in public waters. My best guess is that this Pacu was probably raised by certain people, and released in the Creek for certain reasons that I cannot determine (the same happens with a lot of Goldfish).

The fish itself was in pretty bad shape when we fished it, having a bloody fin, and some injury in its body. This fish was the only Pacu we spotted at that portion of the Creek, and hopefully the only one! If these species were to adapt and survive in fresh water, the consequences would be monstrous. As you may have read in the website above (river monsters), Pacu fish WILL eat other species of fishes if its natural source of food runs out. Therefore, if someone ever finds one of these swimming around, it's wisely advised to not return it (you should actually enjoy playing the fish, and eat it later - they are delicious).

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to take pictures of the environment today. Therefore, I'll end the post only with the two pictures I have:

The secret pond at Pennypack. If you find it, be advised: THERE IS fish inside it. =)

The legendary "lost Pacu" at Pennypack Creek. Hopefully the only one. I had never expected to find one of these, sincerely...

Best of luck for all of us! It's cold right what? The fish is still out there! Also, there will be a couple posts coming up soon: "Wind, Current, and Setting the Hook" - a post about variables that trouble our lives when we fish, and aids people in the process of setting up the hook and hooking the fish; "It's what?" - a post on certain fishing options that fishermen have here in Philadelphia during winter time; and "Catfish, and its Special Sense" - a post on the "6th sense" of the Catfish family: how it works, and why should we know about it. I'm working on all of them, but I wasn't really able to finish them yet. However, expect them to be here in a matter of weeks!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.