May E-mail FAQ


Heya, people! How's the fishing going? Hopefully, everything is going well!

I've gathered 4 questions from different readers that follow the Blog, all asked during this month. So, enjoy the May E-mail FAQ.

1. "I've seen your Statistical Fishing Chart for 2012. (http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html) Is the information there really accurate? Does that mean that you take your time to measure every fish that you get?

Yes, the information there is accurate, indeed. I measure every fish with my hand in a matter of seconds. Basically, by memorizing the length of my hand (from wrist to the end of middle finger) and dividing it in 3 parts, I'm able to accurately measure any fish I catch. The weight, on the other hand, is an estimate. I use mainly the PA boat and commission fishery charts for different Species of fish, so I have the estimate weight for a certain length. Therefore, emphasizing it once again: the length is accurate, and the weight is a close estimate. The Chart itself was created for me to record my PBs, days spent outside, and number of fish caught in a year.

2. I've read your report on the Tacony Creek (http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/05/fishing-at-tacony-creek-discovery-of.html), and I found it awesome! Keep up the good job! I do have a question, though...what do you think is the main reason for the Tacony to not hold Game Fish? I mean...it used to hold it as you mentioned in your post. So, why it can't hold big fish now? I was thinking pH. Is that correct?

That's a good question! There are many factors that contribute for a rich aquatic environment (you may have heard of some of them): Dissolved oxygen, pH, water fertility, and so on. One factor that people often forget about is simply food: a rich aquatic environment requires a LOT of food for fish to grow in it. I'm discarding the other factors because there are different fishes living in the Creek at the moment. Different levels of dissolved oxygen and pH will influence when it comes to different Species of fish (some are more, others are less adaptable to it), but I still think that the main factor is food.

There's a rule of 000 (zeros) for the aquatic "food pyramid" (Sources to Large Fish). It's easy to memorize, hence you start with 100.000 (one-hundred thousand), and just start taking zeros off until you reach 10 (ten).

100.000          -->     10.000     -->  1.000  -->          100         --> 10
Phytoplankton --> Zooplankton --> Baitfish --> Small Gamefish --> Large Predator Fish

Basically, 100.000 pounds of Phytoplankton in a body of water will only produce approximately 100 pounds of Small Gamefish, and only 10 pounds of Large Fish!!! Bluegills, Crappie, and Perch would fit in the Small Gamefish category, while Bass, Walleyes, and Muskies would fit in the Large Predator Fish category.

Therefore, a body of water with a total of 1.000 pounds of Large Predator Fish will need approximately 10.000.000 pounds of Phytoplankton.

But then, where does the Phytoplankton come from?
This is when pollution, water temperature, and so on affects the source of Phytoplankton.

If you want more information on it, you can access the link below:
http://www.smithlifescience.com/ExpertMarineBiology.htm
Although it's a link for marine biology, one can learn a lot about freshwater biology from it. (I did most of the exercises on that link).

3. There are lots of reports of Mike this month. Is Mike part of your Blog now?

In reality, anyone can be "part" of this Blog. I'll post any report that anyone sends me (sheng12182527@gmail.com) as far as it contains "trustable" pictures/information. It just happens that Mike has been fishing a lot, and we keep in touch a lot with each other. So, I guess yes - Mike is part of this Blog, indeed. However, I'm the only one with direct access to it - in other words, I'm the one who posts and maintains the Blog.

4. I love your Blog! After reading your reports and posts, I went to the Schuylkill River, as well as the FDR Park. However, I didn't catch s***. I used your advices, and even bought the same lures that Mike has! So, what am I doing wrong?

Reading is certainly a good start. However, accumulating knowledge is very different from performing actions. For example...You may know a certain set up, but you may not be using it correctly. That's when the field experience comes in - watching other people fish, or even movies, and so on. And even after having visualized it, it's still a very different story when it comes to doing it yourself.

All I can say is: be yourself. Try to use all the information you have in your own way. Then, you will see what works and what doesn't. From that experience, you will start to build your own expertise when it comes to fishing. 

For example...Just recently, I saw I Bass nesting in shallow water. As a fisherman, the will of fishing that fish struck my heart like a thunder - I grabbed my rod in a heartbeat. I tried plastic baits, crankbaits, and so on...and nothing seemed to work! I would cast it in front of his face, and he was just ignoring it. While fishing for this Bass, I had noticed that he was chasing Bluegills around - the Bass was protecting his nest, indeed. He wasn't trying to eat the Sunnies; he was trying to chase them away.

That was the hint that I needed in order to know that the Bass wasn't hungry at all. Therefore, I had limited options: create a reaction strike (which is what most people would opt for). So, I tried everything in my lure box, and nothing worked!

That's when I had an idea! How about creating a "feeding frenzy"? Have you ever been to a Buffet? If you ate until you were full, would you be able to give another bite if someone put your FAVORITE dish in front of you? And so, I went to test my hypothesis. I hooked a very long nightcrawler (whole) on a size 10 hook (very small), and I hooked it in a very loose way.

First cast, the reaction strike came due to the worm's "natural" movement! The Bass bit the whole nightcrawler off the hook, hence it was only slightly hooked on it. It wasn't originally a ram or ram-suction performance - the Bass was simply biting whatever live creature approached his nest. However, after biting it, it didn't spit it out like it would do with a plastic bait - he tasted it and swallowed it, as expected. After this, I changed the number 10 hook to a 5/0 Gamakatsu hook, and I hooked a whole nightcrawler through the hook. Sincerely, the nightcrawler barely covered the whole hook, not to mention that the shape of the nightcrawler became the shape of the hook.

First cast with the Gamakatsu, the Bass ran for some ram-suction action! It got hooked right away, and I landed it after a short fight - 2lb 3oz.

This second bite was not a reaction strike. The Bass literally ate the first worm, and liked it. When the second one came in the water, his guard was totally down! Ram-suction action right in front of my eyes. What a glutton, huh? But my hypothesis worked, and I gained expertise once again. 

If something doesn't work, don't give up. Change it, change it, and see what works best.

Uffs...that's it for now! Hope you guys enjoyed the FAQ.

Best of luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.   

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Updated:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
--> Added Data from Schuylkill River (05/25/12, 05/27/12)
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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Mike's report on the Schuylkill River (Fairmount Dam) - May 18th.

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Written by Mike Hsiao. - edited by Leo S.

Hey guys! After struggling at the Skuke for the past few trips, I finally had a decent day today. The first 2 pics are from last week when I caught a 1 lb Smallmouth and snagged a 20 inch American Shad.

I fished the Skuke yesterday, but ended getting skunked. However, I did hook into a huge 4+ lb Largemouth Bass at the lay down that snapped my line. I also hooked into something huge at the Dam (probably a Flathead) that got unhooked after a furious 20 second run.

Today, I caught 4 lm bass (all about a pound, the one pictured is 1 lb 5 oz) all on a Strike King Series 3 Crankbait. I also caught this huge 15 lb carp on a Rapala DT 10 Crankbait. Here's the kicker, though: the Carp ate the lure - I didn't snag him! You can tell by the picture that the belly hook on the Crankbait clearly hooked him in the mouth. This is the second carp caught on a lure; I've also caught a 25+ lb carp on a
Wacky Worm, but was unable to land that one. I didn't fish too hard for Stripers because the storm created a bunch of new snags. After losing 2 flukes on jigheads, I had decided to target Bass and not risk anymore lures.

Pictures are below:

1lb Smallmouth Bass

20 inch American Shad.


15lb Common Carp

From another angle

1lb 5oz Largemouth Bass

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Snag king strikes again! If it's not a Carp, it's a Shad... Tsk, tsk, tsk...shame on you, Mike! Haha. Just joking.

It's surprising how that Carp was caught with a Crankbait. The only possibility I can think of: the Carp was feeding and the Crankbait stopped for a short amount of time in front of his face. Confused, he decided to give it some suction. After all, differently than Bass and other Game Species, Carps are not recognized as a ram-suction type of fish.

The second picture of the Carp came out REALLY good! Congrats on the catch, Mike!

May is going away, and so are the Shad and the Stripers...(sadly!)

Best of luck for all of us!!!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Recent Catches - May

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Heya, People!

Quick post today: just some pictures that I've received in my e-mail a while ago, and never had the chance to post. Right after, I'll be hitting the Schuylkill Banks for some fishing!

Enjoy!



Peter S. with a Largemouth Bass caught in the surroundings of Fox Chase, PA.

Emphasis on this other Largemouth Bass caught by Peter S. on a Worm Lure. It wasn't weighted, but he believes it's in the range of 4-5lbs (which is a very decent size for Philadelphia and surroundings).

Mister Boatright with a Yellow Perch caught at Grey's Ferry. Note that the new portion of the Schuylkill River is open to the public already, meaning a new fishing location in Philadelphia!

Nadir G. with a Sunfish caught at Wallsworth Pond, NJ

Nadir G. with a small Yellow Bullhead also caught at Wallsworth Pond.

A White and Yellow Perch caught at the Cooper River, next to the Wallsworth Pond, NJ.

Biggest one of the day - a Yellow Bullhead caught at the Cooper River.

Peter S. with a nice sized Brown Trout, near a local creek.

Alrighty! Time to fish the Schuylkill for 3 hours or so...

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Reports (Mike H.): Fairmount Dam, PA

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
--------------------------------------------
------------------------------
Updated:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
--> Added Data from Cooper River (05/13/12), Hyde Lake Park (05/16/12), Core's Creek (05/18/12), FDR Park (05/18/12), Wissahickon Creek (05/20/12), Schuylkill River (05/21/12), Absecon Bay (05/23/12), and Haddon Lake (05/25/12)
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Mike's report on the Schuylkill River - May 12th.
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Written by Mike Hsiao. - edited by Leo S.
Hey guys! I hit the Skuke today, and finally broke my 2 times skunk streak. I started off Striper fishing with flukes, cranks, and my Alabama rig. I didn't have any luck. So, I switched to Largemouth Bass fishing with a Flickshake Worm. I nailed a long skinny 1 lb 13 oz bass on my first cast. Then, I moved to the fisherman statue and fished cranks with no luck. After that, I flipped my favorite laydown and managed to catch a small 1 lb 3 oz Bass on a jig. While reeling the bass in, it got tangled in the branches. I had to wait there for about 15 seconds while I maneuvered myself down (the laydown), so I could untangle the fish.
I made my way back to the Dam to resume Striper fishing. I had quite a few hits on a fluke, but couldn't connect. While fishing the flukes, I somehow snagged this crazy looking swordfish type creature. I reeled it in and some guy there claimed it was a pinfish, and said it can "sting" you. Therefore, I let him handle the fish and unhook it. He did a very poor job, and after unhooking it, the intestines of the fish poured out. I knew the fish was a goner, so I let him keep it. He said he wanted to eat it, for some reason. Oh well, hopefully there are some more of that fish in the river that can survive and reproduce.

1lb 13 oz Largemouth Bass

Little Rock Bass at the Fairmount Dam

1lb 3 oz Largemouth Bass

"Pinfish", in quotes, because the name is wrong. It's actually a Needlefish (family Belonidae)

From another angle.
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Another rare catch by Mike, the snagging king! Please, note that Mike does not snag fishes purposely. I'll remind people one more time that snagging is strictly illegal in PA, and using a naked hook (without bait or lure) to snag fish is against the law, and may result in fines and so on.
Anyways...It's been a while since I saw a Needlefish at the Schuylkill River! At the beginning, I thought they were small American Eels floating on top water - just black shadows, almost inert. After I purchased my polarized sunglasses, I was able to see that they were (indeed) Needlefish.
I'm not sure about Needlefish being able to stun people, but I do know that they are deadly at night time, while travelling in schools. They are highly attracted to light, and they can perform short jumps at a speed of 38 miles per hour! There's a story of a Hawaiian boy being killed by a school of Needlefish. The story is available on Wikipedia.
Now...changing a bit the subject.
Mike doesn't catch fish every session he goes to, but he doesn't get skunked often. The reason I'm saying this is because certain readers have been sending me e-mails asking how is it possible that "Mike gets fish every time he goes to FDR Park", or "how can he get fish at the Fairmount Dam - there are only snags there", and so on. 
It's all about information and expertise. My advice is: if fishing is not being productive, and I know there are fishes in that certain body of water, I'll certainly read more about it (Magazines, Forums, Blogs), and adapt my fishing to it. Just don't give up, and keep going there. Staying home will definitely bring no fish...
That's one of the things that I like about fishing: the concept of opportunities. Everyday is unique, and everyday you may be able to land the catch of a lifetime. It's unknown. However, it's possible if you make it out there - if you give it a shot.
Best of luck for all of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
Sincerely,
Leo S.

Reports (Mike H.): Fairmount Dam, PA

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Mike's report on the Schuylkill River - May 3rd.

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Written by Mike Hsiao. - edited by Leo S.
Hey guys! I hit the Skuke this morning and had some good luck. I knew it was going to be a good day from cast #1. First cast, I threw a Strike King Series 3 Crankbait under the falls. After 10 cranks or so, I got a huge hit and battled what I predicted to be a 6-8 lb striper for 10 seconds, before it threw the hook. I threw the crankbait for another 15 minutes and somehow managed to snag this 10 lb carp LOL. Then, I switched to topwater and threw a Lucky Craft Gunfish for a while. I hooked into a dink largemouth bass, which happened to be my first lm bass this year caught on topwater. Lastly, I tied on a Zoom Superfluke with a baitfish color on a 0.5oz jighead and jigged it under the falls. First cast with the fluke I felt a tap, set the hook and nothing. Then, I continued the retrieve and felt another bump - this time I connected on the hookset and reeled in a healthy 2.5 lb striper. On the very next cast I had yet another hit within a few hops, and I knew I had hooked into a solid fish. I fought the beast for about 2 minutes, until I was finally able to get him to the ledge and swing him up (it wasn't easy!). I was rewarded with a nice 5lb Striper, my biggest one of the year! After that frenzy, I fished for another 45 minutes with no additional hits.


Snagging King with his 10lb snagged Carp

Mike with his 2.5lber Striped Bass at the Fairmount Dam

Mike with his 5lber Striped Bass at the Dam

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I have to admit that Mike's expertise with the Fluke is nearly unmatched; at least as far as I know. I don't usually see a lot of people catching Striped Bass at the Dam (ratio of fishermen - fish), so Mike is quite an expert when it comes to this Species of fish!

Nicely done, Mike! And nice "evolution" T-shit. lol...

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Rob Z.'s report on a South Jersey camp in NJ. - April 30th.

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Written by Rob Z. - edited by Leo S.
After not finding any crappies on Saturday (April 28th), I found a nice old wooden wall that was separating the swimming area from the rest of the lake. I slammed the crappies there, and ended up keeping six of them. I left to get a stringer for the fish, as I had already filled a bag.  When I came back, the bite was gone.  Now that I think about it, I should have never left! Bobby Garland Baby Shad (BGBS) under a
weighted float was the ticket as usual. These things were huge, with the biggest at about 13 inches. On an ultra lite rod with 4 lb test, my rod was bent in half for the bigger ones.


Those are boneless fillets that you guys are looking at. I searched youtube, found a video, sharpened my fillet knife, and went to work.  As tasty as trout :-)  12 fillets.
Pictures are below:







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I particularly liked the second picture! I have read tons of magazines with Crappie articles, all of them without a picture from this angle, and just found the second picture to be really cool. 

The process of manufacturing the fish for eating is really interesting too! You got the fish before and after...pretty neat! I have to admit that Rob is a good cook, hence I've already tasted something that he made. Also, Crappies are yummy!

I'm glad you had a blast, man! Myself - I found Crappie fishing to be very enjoyable: finding the spots, "shaking" the jig, and so on. Lately, I've had huge success in Crappie fishing with a small Chartreuse tube...very nice!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Mike H. and Lawrence's reports of Font Hill Pond in MD - April 29th and May 4th.

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Written by Mike Hsiao. - edited by Leo S.
Hey guys! I'm fishing a local pond near my house (in MD) twice today. For reference, the pond is about 1/5 the size of Haddon Lake - its quite small. For the first session, I fished with my friend Lawrence for an hour this afternoon. We fished a weedy flat for 10 minutes, and right before we were about to move, Lawrence announced: "watch me nail a bass on this cast." He casted out his pearl white superfluke near a drop, and after 4 twitches, I watched as a healthy bass came up and nailed his bait, jumping out of the water. Then, he reeled in his catch, being rewarded with a feisty 1 lber (first picture).


After that catch, we decided to stick at that spot for a while. Not even five minutes later, I casted out my baby bass super fluke 20 yards ahead of me, near a bed, and I watched as the momma bass came up, inhaling the fluke (the water is gin clear). I reeled back, and performed a jaw breaking hookset. I muscled the fish to the platform I was standing on, and was rewarded with a healthy 3 lber (second picture). Then, I saw the male bass on the bed. After 10 minutes of using various baits, I was finally able to entice him to suck in a 5 inch worm on a shakeyhead rig. The male weighed 1.5 pounds, and immediately returned to guard his nest upon release (third picture).

Then, Lawrence and I spent my last 15 minutes at a different spot, and as soon as we arrived, I saw another bed - not 3 feet in front of me, with a healthy looking male in it. After about 4 casts, I got the bass to take the shakeyhead. As soon as he had the bait in his mouth, I did another jawbreaking hookset that resulted in the fish flying a couple feet out of the water.

Later that night, my family and I went back to font hill for some quality family fishing. The 3 lb momma and 1.5 male were still guarding the nest, and my girlfriend tried to entice them with some juicy nightcrawlers. She was able to get two bites, but could not get a solid hookset. My youngest sister managed to catch 2 dink bass on nightcrawlers. I was able to catch the exact same 3 lb bass and 1.5 lb bass on a KVD swimjig within 10 minutes after my girlfriend finally gave up on the fish. I also managed to catch a solid 2 lber on a fluke roaming the flats that I didn't take a picture of. Overall, it was a great day of fishing and it was nice to see some quality bass still swimming around in that small pond.
Pictures are below:


Lawrence with his 1 lber.

Mike with his 3 lber

Mike with his 1.5 lber

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Written by Lawrence - edited by Leo S.
Hey guys! You'll never believe this - I landed a 2 lb+ Bass using a gummy worm. That's right, a gummy worm! (first picture). Texas rig (weightless).

The bass is in the second picture.

I also landed a 1.5 lb+ Bass using a Creek Chub that was caught at a creek in close proximity to Font Hill (third picture). Catch and release, no worries. Mike (referring to Mike H.), I didn't see the huge 3 lb female around the bed. The male was still there, though.

Overall, it was a great day. My friends Winston, William, and I landed at least 20 Bass total. About 16 of them were small (9-12 inches), but either way, it was still a great day of fishing.

Perhaps I'll start investing my money on gummy worms. At 7-11, it's 2$ for 36 worms, which is cheaper than a bag of zoom super flukes that have roughly 10-15 soft plastics.
It's worth the transition/switch..

Ah, who am I kidding! I'd still prefer my super flukes and yum dingers over gummy worms, but either way, it was still exciting catching a bass on a gummy worm.

I was initially inspired by this video:
Pictures are below:

The "Secret Bait"

The victim

Bait Vs Catch

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I have to say that these are very productive results for the size of the Pond! I remember passing there with Mike last Winter, and the Pond was completely frozen!

Awesome!

Thanks for the reports, guys! And sorry for the delay!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Mike's report of the Schuylkill River on April 26th. Enjoy!

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Written by Mike Hsiao. - edited by Leo S.
Hey guys! First off, I caught the frog below with my girlfriend last weekend while I was fishing at Haddon Lake. It was caught with a Zoom horny toad at the lily pads.


Now...to the Skuke. I fished there from 5 to 8 p.m. today, and didn't catch a single fish. I had a couple bites, but couldn't hook into any fish. I tried fishing for Stripers, Smallmouth, and Largemouth with no success at all. However, Vince managed to catch this chunky 2lbs Smallmouth Bass fishing a KVD 1.5 Squarebill Crankbait. As the sun went down, the "Crappie Master," Mike (not me!), showed up and "reaffirmed" his name. In a matter of half an hour, he caught 4 crappie from the same spot - the biggest one pictured below: a solid 11 inch Slab.
Pictures are below: 


Frog caught at Haddon Lake, NJ

Vince with his 2lber Smallmouth Bass

From another angle...

Mike, "Crappie Master," with his 11inch Slab.

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When I first started fishing the Schuylkill River, I had no idea that LMB, SMB, and Crappies were present at the River. At that point, I didn't even believe that that was possible. When people commented on it, I just thought: "Man, this guy must be bullshitting me..."

It was only later, after doing tons of research and field trips, that I had realized that I was simply being simple-minded. Therefore, I had learned my lesson: to never take anything for granted; at least not before looking things up and having my own certainties.

Beautiful fishes, Mike and Vince! Keep it going...May is certainly one of the best months for fishing...and time is running!

Best luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

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Follow my Facebook page for updates on every single one of my fishing sessions:
http://www.facebook.com/ExtremePhillyFishing
There are fishes around us! Follow my Statistical Chart for 2012 for my catches during this year:
http://extremephillyfishing.blogspot.com/2012/01/statistical-fishing-chart-for-2012.html
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Hello, readers!

I kind of realized that it's been a while since I've posted other people's reports. Therefore, I'm posting a selection of reports from the end of April until the beginning of May - which is actually the best time to fish fresh water (in my opinion). I have added my personal comments after the reports, and edited as well.

Most of the reports are of Mike (of course!), and I'll work on my own reports when I have time. I do have to work on my reports on Pennypack, Wissahickon, Cooper River Lake, Core's Creek, Hyde Lake Park, FDR Park, and so on...Lots of work to do now!

I'll start with my friend Mike's report for now...

Enjoy!

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Written by Mike Hsiao. - edited by Leo S.
Hey guys! I hit up the FDR Park (April 20th) and managed to snag a 6 lb 14 oz Carp, as well as this little shad looking fish, both under the bridge. I also hooked into a decent Bass, around 1.5 lbs, but it got off after a few seconds.


I had an interesting day at the Skuke (April 23rd) as well. First off, the water temp was 54 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to 68, only two days ago. The water was extremely turbulent (11,300 cfs) and the visibility was zero. I started off fishing my favorite lay down with a jig, with no success. Then, I moved to the dam and managed to get a bite on a drop shot, and a bite on the flick shake, but wasn't able to get a solid hook set.
Someone fishing near me caught a solid 24-inch Striper on a minnow, so I switched over to a Rapala x-rap.
Within 10 minutes, I hooked into a solid striper (24-26 inches), but it managed to
throw the hook when it jumped. Then, I snagged 3 Shads and took a picture of one. The biggest one was 2 lbs 4 oz and the one in the picture is 2 lbs. Lastly, I hooked a 4 lb Flathead (in the mouth!) using a strike king series 3 crank bait.
Pictures are below:

6 lb 14 oz carp

Little Shad

2lb Gizzard Shad at Schuylkill

4lb Flathead Catfish at Schuylkill

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Thank you for your contribution, Mike! I always love how you write your reports and send them to me.

One of the main aspects that I like about Mike's writing is the way he details everything - type of bait, water aspects, sizes, and so on... I usually omit those, unless someone sends me an e-mail asking for a specific type of bait, etc. After all, I would hate to give tunnel vision to people that just started to fish. However, on the other hand, it's also important to give out hints on what to use - and that's what Mike does!

Congrats on your catches, Mike! Keep writing, and I'll keep posting (when I have time!). The same applies for everyone else - if you want your report posted here, just send me your report with pictures and everything else, and I'll read it; edit it; and post it.

Best of luck for everyone!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights, 

Sincerely,

Leo S. 

Fishing at the Tacony Creek - The Discovery of Mummichogs

Hello, Readers!
 
 
This time I'll be introducing you guys to the Tacony Creek in Northeast Philadelphia - a place that has been forgotten by many over the years and certainly taken for granted when it comes to fishing.
 
The Tacony Creek is located in Northeast Philadelphia, on the eastern side of the 25th District (Juniata). It was once a glorious place to fish! In the 1800's, the Creek had a nice fish diversity: the Common Carp, Largemouth Bass, different types of Sunnies, and so on. Nowadays, however, little is left to say about what was once a wonderful Creek. The Tacony Creek of nowadays is deprived of game-fish. Period. And the main question is: "how did this happen?"
 
This is where this post begins...

After a little bit of online and field research, I learned a lot about Tacony Creek's past. Before the urban sprawl process in Philadelphia, when the boundaries of the city were still focused around City Hall, little was being developed in the area known today as Juniata Park. Prior to the 1920's, most of the area was composed of farmlands, not to mention that the only public transportation available in the area was the Reading Railroad's train from 3rd and Berks Streets to Newtown, Pennsylvania. For you guys to have an idea, the station was actually located on the northwest boundary of a 23-acre farm in "Wyoming Villa," mostly known today as Feltonville (west of Juniata Park).
 
At that time, the Creek was literally in the wild, surrounded almost completely by nature (with the exception of a couple mills).

It was around the end of the 1800's that people took knowledge of "the goods" that the Creek could provide. They built more gunpowder and textile mills around the Creek, and water wheels to provide enough energy to support it. At that time, urban sprawl started to occur, and Philadelphia started to expand at a high pace. It was around 1915 that the City of Philadelphia decided to purchase the watershed known as Tacony Creek. It was around the 1920's that the first rows of houses were built at Juniata Park - near Castor and Luzerne Streets.
 
Unfortunately, after that, the Creek's water quality started to slowly decline.

Anyways...Since I came to Philadelphia, I always had an itch for exploration. The Tacony was in the list, of course! However, unfortunately, most of what I heard about it was negative. Through locals, I found out that the Tacony Creek was now part of the Philadelphia sewage system. Also, locals advised me to stay there only during daytime. According to them, many people had died in the Tacony Park after being robbed, and "it was the perfect environment to dump a body."
 
In other words...From the ecological side, the water quality of the Creek was extremely low and the land was highly polluted. The Creek was mostly shallow, and the polluted environment was just "sketchy." Social conditions weren't better: people would often get robbed there, and the "dangerous" neighborhood held many people with guns. Respecting the curfew (at dusk) was a must, and going there alone was not recommended.
 
Oh well...I knew my risks, and I took them! I have fished there, and I have plenty of data to share with you guys! And this is where I'll start talking about what we are most interested in here: fishing!
 
To start with, this document was made by the academy of natural sciences at Drexel University. A certain portion of it addresses to the different fish Species that were found at the site of research. It's a very interesting article to read - informative as well. Enjoy!

Below is a little satellite map from Google Earth of the places that I've gone so far at the Tacony Creek. Note that I've only been to two places so far: #1 located at Roosevelt Boulevard, and #2 located at Crescentville.

#1 - Tacony Creek at Roosevelt Boulevard. #2 - Tacony Creek at Adams and Crescentville.
 
The water quality at Tacony Creek is very poor due to the city's sewage discharge and run-off water. At both positions #1 and #2, there are pipes that connect the Creek to the sewage system. Therefore, my suggestion is to never fish the Tacony when there's discharge! The smell is intolerable, and the contamination rate is pretty high. Believe me: you don't want to contaminate yourself...
 
I can definitely say that larger game-fish, such as Trout or Bass, wouldn't be able to survive there for extended periods of time. Only very strong Species of fish can actually survive in that kind of aquatic environment (i.e. Sunfish, the Mummichogs, Suckers). Also, the concentrations of plankton in the Creek are probably very limited as well; therefore, unable to sustain big portions of larger fish.

The picture above was taken right at Adams and Crescentville. The area is super shallow, not to mention that the left side of the Creek contains a pipe that is linked to the sewage system. Once the sewage water is discharged, the Creek's water color start to change to a grey coloration.

The picture above was taken at the Roosevelt Boulevard portion of the Tacony Creek, which is right next to another sewage pipe. As one may notice, the water is so shallow that the bottom can be seen from the picture.

Between #1 and #2: a portion of the Creek that would be perfect for Trout fishing, if conditions allowed the Species to survive there. There's basically a deeper hole right after the current..
 
Now, let me emphasize a little bit on the "environment."
 
The reality is: everywhere can be dangerous at certain times of the day. Of course there are different "levels of danger" from area to area. The odds of something bad happening varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Keep in mind, though, that the Tacony Creek is definitely not safe after sunset (the odds of something bad happening are extremely high!), however; it's far from being "so dangerous" as people usually say.
 
It's a matter of fact that the Tacony Creek is located in an area that is not so good; an area that is often portrayed for their "high violence rates." The term is in quotes because people can certainly be alienated by watching too much TV. However, watching/hearing from someone and being there are two very different stories: it's not as dangerous as it seems.
 
If you are planning to fish the Tacony one day, my advices are:
 
--> Don't go there alone. Be with someone - a friend, perhaps.
--> Be reasonable and go there only at certain times of the day.
--> Never stay there after dusk.
--> Don't walk too far away from the main path. Being isolated is never a good idea. (I never follow this one, though...haha.
--> Use sunglasses. Believe it or not, it's proved to decrease the odds of getting robbed. If you have a bad ass face, you will look even more intimidating with some shades on!
 
So far, these are the Species of fish that I've found in the Tacony Creek:
 
Mummichogs: I'll give all fisherman a good reason to step into the Tacony Creek, specially if you are an avid Flathead/Catfish fisherman, Pickerel fisherman, or even a "still-fisherman" for Bass: the place is overpopulated with Mummichogs - one of the best baits ever for many different Species of fish! Call it Mummies, Gudgeons, Mud Minnows, whatever you feel like - they will still work the same. Carrying an oxygenated bucket around is a smart idea, and the outcome is literally free bait of best quality: fresh and alive. Put a size 12 hook on, a little piece of nightcrawler, and you are good to go.
 
April 21st, 2012 - a little Mummichog caught on a piece of nightcrawler under a float.

April 21st, 2012 - another Mummichog. As you can see, the hook must be small since they have small mouths.
 
Eastern Silvery Minnow*: If you weren't able to locate any Mummichogs, worry not! The place is loaded with Eastern Silvery Minnows! My advice is to either micro-fish them with a very small hook (size 14 and up will work), or just drop a minnow trap (make sure you leave it overnight) in a deep pool. I was able to catch a bunch of them on hooks before, and they are fun to catch because they swim in schools.

*As for now, there are still doubts when it comes to the identification of this fish. After looking through many pictures, I'm still not certain yet if this is an Eastern Silvery Minnow, or a fish of the "Shiner" family. If you have any positive ID on the pictures below, please, send an e-mail to sheng12182527@gmail.com. Thank you!*
 
My suggestion is to use very small hooks for micro-fishing. My favorite is a Daiichi #26 hook for dry flies, but plain. As for bait, I cut a very very small piece of nightcrawler for it, and I use very light line (2lb test) to give it a natural drop.
 
May 2nd, 2013 - an Eastern Silvery Minnow caught on a small piece of nightcrawler, size 10 hook.

May 2nd, 2013 - an even smaller Eastern Silvery Minnow caught on a size #26 hook and a very small piece of nightcrawler.
 
Redbreast Sunfish: As for Sunfish, the Redbreast Sunfish are the dominant Species in the Tacony Creek. They can be found in almost all portions of the Creek (excluding the dead shallow areas). The big ones are usually in deep pools; therefore, target deep spots for bigger Redbreasts! I like to use In-line Spinners for them, as well as nightcrawlers and waxworms.
 
April 21st, 2012 - A Redbreast Sunfish caught on a piece of nightcrawler under a float, right next to the Adams Ave. Bridge. 

May 2nd, 2013 - a nice Redbreast Sunfish caught in a deep hole, nightcrawler on the bottom.

May 2nd, 2013 - As one can see, the smaller ones can also be micro-fished with smaller hooks. Although minnows are good baits, small Sunnies can live longer while being hooked under a float. Think about it!
 
Bluegill: Surprisingly enough, Bluegills are pretty rare in the Tacony Creek. Their numbers are very limited, and I've caught only a few of them so far. I don't really know why someone would particularly target Bluegills over the other Species of Sunnies in the Tacony Creek...so, I will just say that you can use the same technique above for all types of Sunnies in the Tacony Creek.
 
May 2nd, 2013 - Little Bluegill caught on a piece of nightcrawler, right under a sunken log.
 
Green Sunfish: Between all the Species of Sunnies around Philadelphia, the Green Sunfish has always been my favorite. Even though they don't grow as big as Bluegills, they are the most aggressive ones when it comes to the pack (Pumpkinseed, Bluegills, Redbreast Sunfish, Green Sunfish). On shallow water, you can actually see them inhale your bait. They will follow In-line Spinners, and they often ambush smaller fish, meaning that fish imitations also work for them. Nightcrawlers and "Gulp! Minnows" are my baits of preference for them.
 



May 2nd, 2013 - A nice Green Sunfish caught on a piece of nightcrawler. They often grab the bait and run! It's so much fun to catch them. They are considered to be an invasive Species in New Jersey, but they are still fine in PA.
 
May 2nd, 2013 - Some of the Green Sunfish from the Tacony Creek were lacking their upper jaws. I fished four of them on that day, all lacking the upper jaw. Interesting, huh?
 
Creek Chub: They used to be much more abundant in the Creek. Nowadays, their numbers are pretty low. Still, Creek Chubs are good bait for many different Species of large game-fish. Therefore, catch them while you can! They are usually congregated in slow pools after currents, and deep pools. The regular worm or bug will do its job. Flies will also work well for them.
 
April 21st, 2012 - My first Creek Chub at Tacony Creek, caught right under the Adams Ave. Bridge.

May 2nd, 2013 - A nice Creek Chub caught on a piece of nightcrawler, drifted after some rapids.
 
White Sucker: There is a huge population of White Suckers in the Tacony Creek. Catching them is pretty tricky, though. They are easily spooked, and they are pretty finicky when it comes to their eating schedule. The best time to catch them is during Sunset, which is not recommended for the Tacony Creek. Therefore, I would recommend sight-fishing for them. Basically, find a school, and try your best to cast your bait in the middle of it. I would recommend a cut piece of nightcrawler and a hook - no weight or swivel.
 
A school of White Suckers in a shallow portion of the Creek. I've never caught a White Sucker at the Tacony Creek yet. I'm willing to attempt it one day. We will see. =)
The first step is to really find a school. Then, being as nimble and ninja as possible, try to cast your bait in the middle of it without spooking them. Then, just leave it there until you see them inhale it! It's sight fishing at its best.
 

Koi: There are a few Koi in the Tacony Creek, probably neglected and released by their previous owners. The biggest one that I've seen in the Creek topped 8lbs - a beast! If you find one of these, the best approach is to "chum and wait." Basically, fish for them as you would fish for a Common Carp.

Here's a picture of one of them, approximately 5lbs. They are usually hidden below structure; therefore, they are not very easy to find.

If you ever decide to fish there, I wish you best of luck! People will certainly look at you like you are crazy or something... Hehe.

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.