Donate for the FishAThon and Watch out for Prizes!

The Team Extreme Philly Fishing. Clockwise, starting at 12: Jay Daly, Leo Sheng, Rob Zito, and Mike Hsiao. 

Note: Last update - August 30th, 2012.

The Team Extreme Philly Fishing just passed $1000 dollars in fundraising for the FishAThon 2012, which will have its main event from September 7th to the 8th (24 hours of fishing! YEAH!). For more details on the event, and Team Extreme Philly Fishing's cause, click on the links below:

Now...for new drawings and prizes!

1. Please, NOTE: Anyone who donates a minimum of 5 dollars in honor to "Team Extreme Philly Fishing" from now until September 14th will automatically have his/her name in for a Dragon Custom Rod drawing! This is a special from the Recycled Fish non-profit organization!

2. Team Extreme Philly Fishing is appreciating all the donations coming in! Therefore, there will be a guaranteed prize for ANYONE who donates (or donated) $50 dollars or more to the fundraising! Note: total amount - i.e., a person can donate 20, and then 30.

For anyone who donates a total of $50 or more, a 4 hour fishing trip is offered to the donator as a guaranteed reward. The package includes:

- A 5 hour fishing trip on a SUNDAY, scheduled 1 week in advance (starting after September 14th).
- A 2-on-1 coaching system: 2 members of  the team will teach the person how to fish. This includes the history of the body of water you will be fishing at, how to handle the equipment, good spots, good techniques for the place, etc. Even if the person is already knowledgeable about fishing, I can assure the donor that there will be new knowledge coming in.  
- A choice of a Specific target-species. The recommended choices are Channel Catfish, Common Carp, and Largemouth Bass. The location will be chosen depending on the target Species.
- Transportation is provided (car).
- Light snacks and drinks will be provided.
- Leo will personally purchase you a PA Boat and Commission fishing license BEFORE the trip, if the donor does not have one. Note that the license alone is 23 dollars that you will be saving! If the trip is scheduled for 2012, the license will last until December 31st, 2012. If the trip is scheduled for 2013, the license will last until December 31st, 2013. This is a VERY SMART MOVE, if you think about it - after all, nobody has a 2013 fishing license yet! Therefore, if you donate 50 bucks and schedule your trip for next year, you will get your license for free and be able to enjoy a good day with us!

Note that WINTER is coming, so you may want to schedule your trip until the end of FALL, or after the beginning of SPRING. All donators that donated more than $50 for the FishAThon on behalf of Team Extreme Philly Fishing will receive an e-mail about this reward BEFORE September 14th.

3. Also, personally, Leo Sheng has been touched by the great generosity and humility from the Philadelphians and surrounding neighbors that donated. Times are tough at the moment, and every cent counts for everyone. I clearly understood since the first day of this fundraising that many wouldn't have the potential to donate; that many were going through hard times (and still are). The cost of living is increasing, while the rates of most salaries are staying the same. For this reason, I said it once that "it's a noble action in troubled times."

THEREFORE, apart from the Dragon Custom Rod drawing, one LUCKY DONATOR (excluding members of the Team who donated - sorry, Mike, Rob, Jay!) that donated [or donates (until September 14th!)] a $20 dollar minimum for the Team Extreme Philly Fishing will have the chance to win an AWESOME PRIZE. The winner of the drawing can choose between two great prizes that I've chosen:

Since I'm Brazilian...Choose to win a $100 dollar gift card for the famous Brazilian Steakhouse restaurant located on 12th and Chestnut - "Fogo de Chão," Center City, Philadelphia, PA,

OR

Since I'm a sportsman...Choose to win a $100 dollar Dick's Sporting Goods gift Card.

Since not all donators are fishermen, I've decided to include food option here. I'm sophisticated when it comes to food, so I wanted to share part of my own culture by offering a pleasant experience at an authentic Brazilian restaurant. Also, for non fisherman donators, Dick's also offers a good selection of branded clothes (I recommend Under Armour for any kind of physical activity). If you are not located in Philadelphia, or the restaurant is of difficult access to you, there's always the option of going to a Dick's around your house or even shop for it online! So, people that donated and people that will donate will be praised for their humility, generosity, and even have a chance to be extra rewarded for their noble action. Talk about throwing some spices in, huh? Heh.

To tell you the truth, the list of $20+ donors are pretty short! So, your chances of winning are actually pretty good. I'm a mathematician, so I calculated the odds. Although the prize is nothing SO EXCEPTIONAL, having people hoping for infinitesimal chances of winning is quite cruel! Heh.

The drawing for this extra prize will be performed on September 23rd, and the winner will have its name and picture announced on the Blog. The same will also receive an e-mail about its prize. The prize will very likely be handed by a Team member, followed by a free FishAThon T-shirt. A picture of the winner with the T-shirt and the prize will be taken. 
  
Now...for a couple updates on the FishAThon 2012 for Team Extreme Philly Fishing!

Problems... "Why are we so persistent on this Fundraising?"

--> The Team Extreme Philly fishing emphasizes on 3 main problems occurring by the Schuylkill River. First, a portion of the people in the city fails to realize that all run-off water and trash goes to the sewage system, and ends inside the Schuylkill River. Many people are lacking etiquette as well - they will throw trash outdoors, for example. Simply, this is the pollution side of the story. Another problem, this time focused on fishermen, is that they tend to overharvest Catfish and other Species from the River (which are not really edible due to Heavy Metals and Pcbs), hurting the river's aquatic ecosystem. Remember: more fishes taken from the River = less fishes to be fished. Finally, people also tend to harvest trophy fishes, and "rare" Species (i.e. Walleye) when they catch one. It's legal to do so under the law, but it should be common sense to release them, so they can reproduce in numbers and be present in the River for future generations. Therefore, respectively, we are focusing on Littering/Pollution; Overharvesting; and Selective Harvest.

Solutions... "What can we do to change the actual situation?"

--> As "cliché" as it can be, human awareness and social shaping is the best possible solution for the problems above. If it's an old theory, why do people keep doing what's wrong? Mostly because they are ignorant of the problems that we are facing nowadays. People's positive attitudes and behaviors towards fish and nature can change this whole scenario. Therefore, Team Extreme Philly Fishing is here to focus on a traditional "mouth-to-mouth" system, where people spread the word to their loved ones, and so on, creating a web of information. Also, it's good to remember that 50% of all funds raised will go to a local institution that will use the money to help the Schuylkill River in certain ways.

About the money... "What will happen to the 50% of money that is donated locally?"

--> After a litte Team discussion, I suggested that the 50% local money should go to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation (website here), since they are the ones taking care of the main portions of the River where we fish at. For example...wouldn't it be nice if the Team partnered up with them to create a "fishing post" project next to the trail? A post with main Species of fish in the River, and a brief explanation of Pcbs and Heavy metals and fish consumption? People that pass there everyday, fishermen or not, would be informed with it! But anyways...how the money will be used is still up to discussion.

For now, these are all the updates. If you can, donate for a good cause! Your name and e-mail will be in for the drawings as well!

Thank you very much, people! You are all supporting a good cause just by reading this. So, keep it in mind that you are doing a good deed.

Now...it's time to FISH! =)

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

100 Likes on the Facebook Page

It starts slow, but starting is a beginning of something that may turn big! We got 100 likes on Facebook, which is much more than I expected since I've created the page. 100 likes means 100 people, very likely Philadelphians, following the page - and that is AWESOME! After all, isn't the Blog and the Facebook page about Philadelphia (and surroundings, heh) and fishing? OH YEAH!

Since I'm so happy with this progress, let me remind you guys of "why" the Facebook Page and this Blog were created...

--> Fishing is a wonderful sport, and its image should be positive. However, most of the times, fishermen are stereotyped as "destructive" people: people that litter (leaving trash and blood behind), destroys the environment (flips the ground for bait, overharvests fish),
etc etc etc... Of course, some of it IS TRUE - this stereotype is not biased. There were fishermen practicing it, and there are still some fishermen out there that don't really care about nature, or don't have the etiquette to maintain a clean, safe, and sustainable environment. Therefore, one of the reasons (and the MAIN reason) for creating the Blog and the Facebook page is to raise our reputation by doing what is right and good for future generations to come. Like my friend Teeg (Executive manager of Recycledfish.org) would say: it all boils down to human awareness and social shaping!

How should we do this? Simple: don't litter, harvest only what is edible (be careful with Pcbs and Heavy metals); harvest only what you are going to eat (don't OVERharvest!); harvest a limited amount of fish, so the River can sustain itself; harvest only Species that are legal and common in the River; take good care of your equipment - don't leave unattended hooks or other dangerous materials on the floor; and so on! By doing these and much more, we will hopefully be admired one day, instead of being hated.

--> Fishing can be frustrating sometimes. Exploring is a part of fishing - finding spots, big fish, and so on. It's certainly part of the challenge. However, gathering knowledge before a fishing session is also certainly a smart move! The thing is: the amount of information present on the Internet is very limited. Some websites are available to tell you if certain body of water is public or private, but will not tell you what's really swimming in it. The Forums are very protective of their content, and usually end up in small groups of "trust," never releasing information for newcomers or outsiders. Why? Because people don't want to "burn their spots," "give their secret places away," etc. Why? Because SOMEONE is certainly going to go there, destroy the environment, harvest all the big fish, and the conclusion? A place without good Gamefish. And sincerely? People that think this way are not at fault - they have all reasons to think this way! Who would like to see a wonderful TROPHY fish taken away from his favorite spot? Who would like to see his spot trashed with beer cans, bait containers, etc, every time he arrives there? Nobody...right?


However, my point of view is very optimistic, and I believe that people can change for things that they love. If one truly has the passion for fishing, the same should be thinking about how to preserve the environment at the moment, so future generations will have the same joy, feelings, and the adrenaline pump that we have when we catch the big one! If everyone followed the "sustainability rules," and the laws, burning spots would be a thing of the past!

The Blog and the Facebook page are here to reveal information to a certain point, so we promote fishing and its locations while still giving the fisherman the opportunity to explore. We don't want fishermen to be demotivated by lack of spots, which is a problem that has been happening recently: a lot of spots are getting privatized. Also, not to mention, the Boat and Commission will probably NEVER make a list of all public and private waterways. I can't count how many times I've wasted a trip because I arrived at a private property, and there was ABSOLUTELY not enough information available online. Some websites even indicated it as public! Lesson of the day: trust some, but trust yourself above all. It's truly a shame that this list will never come out. And guys...don't ask me why, or I'll be even more frustrated! Instead, we should all go DEMAND the Boat and Commission to create a list. Don't forget: we are the ones buying the licenses (some of us, although EVERYONE should buy one to support the fishing economy), tackle, and bait; we are the ones supporting this whole fishing business. Without us, what is the Boat and Commission?!


Note: I'll not get into politics here, but a hint: I could easily throw this at everyone in this country: "Without us, what is USA?" And yet, a HUGE part of the population is never willing to do anything for changes. A huge part of the population does not want to stand. A huge part of the population is not interested in politics whatsoever. A huge part of the population cannot even unite together and act as one. Anyways...Haha...I'm glad that fishermen are usually activists, and they will stand for what they love because, otherwise, their joy will slowly fade away.

--> Fishing is a joy - it's a healthy sport if practiced right. It can be shaped with other aspects of life, resulting in better attitudes and behaviors towards oneself and others. It boosts companionship, environmental awareness, common etiquette, humility, love for animals (fish! heh), and can even stronger relationships (i.e. father-son). It's an awesome sport for a good family time, it's an outdoors activity (watch out for the sun!), and it's a NEVER ENDING CHALLENGE. It's trying to learn and understand how fish behave - it's trying to understand a Species that is completely different from us; that lives in another realm. And every little bit of that knowledge and experience contributes for our own wisdom. It's not only a physical sport (muscles are required for dexterity and finesse), but also psychological (like playing battleship!).

I'm here to show people that fishing is a hobby as good as golfing, skiing, snowboarding, etc. Also, I want  to show that this is a sport that is not only for the rich! Anyone can start at any time, and it's enjoyable and worth the experience. I always say it: adrenaline is the BEST DRUG! For people that shakes after a huge or rare catch - you guys know what I'm talking about! For those who never felt this way, I encourage it - it's a feeling of intense bliss. For those who say that fishing is boring, try active fishing and take it as a good physical exercise! Later, after seeing a fish surface to get a lure, the feeling of enticing a fish for a top-water bite will definitely get a person hooked. For those who love nature and like being outdoors with family, or with a couple beers (heh. THROW THEM IN THE TRASH!), and just chill...try passive fishing - leave your rod there, and go for it once the drag burns!

These are just a couple of the reasons why I - Leo Sheng - have created the Blog and Facebook page. I had wonderful experiences, explored new places, made new companions for life, and I'm still fighting for a better image of our sport! A better image for fishermen, overall. I want people to experience what I experienced; therefore, I pass on my thoughts through this Blog and the Facebook page. The fact that all information is FREE and open to anyone with Internet access is an extra plus. However, it doesn't end here: a lot of people don't have access to the Internet yet. That's when the "mouth-to-mouth" part comes in. We have to let those fishermen know what is good and what is bad - which actions will bring great consequences, and which actions will bring great progresses. So, let's spread the word around!

Thank you for joining me on this cause, people. Just spreading the goods around is an awesome way to represent union, and shape change in a slow, but gradual straightforward direction. We are all different and unique - we grew up upon different cultures and environments (melting pot, salad bowl, Big Mac...whatever...hah). But one thing is evident, and unites us together: our love for fishing. And that, guys, is beautiful enough in this time of corruption and great evil.

Slow, but gradual...

"There will be water if God wills it,"

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

Reports (Mike H.): FDR Park (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

Mike H.'s report on the FDR Park - July 27th.

For previous reports from Mike H.'s:
Different locations across PA - July 4th - July 22nd.
A Lake in Abington - July 4th, 2012.
Haddon Lake, NJ - July 1st, 2012.
ABA Tournament (North East River) - June 24th, 2012.
Multiple Lakes (PA and MD) - May 30th - June 6th, 2012.
Haddon Lake, NJ - May 25th, 2012.
FDR Park and Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 20th & 24th, 2012. 
Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 18th, 2012.
Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 12th, 2012.
Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 3rd, 2012.
Font Hill Pond, MD - April 29th & May 4th, 2012.
Schuylkill River - April 26th, 2012. 

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Written by Mike H. - edited by Leo S.

Hey guys! I decided to hit up the FDR park a couple hours before work for the first time in two months or so. The reason why I haven't been going there is that the weekly fishing report that I receive mentioned each time that FDR park has been dead ever since its gotten so hot and that no one was catching any Bass or Snakeheads, and that people struggled to catch Bluegills. Going out, I expected to get skunked, but was pleasantly surprised at what I was able to catch. I started off by fishing a Frog in a week choke corner in about 1.5 feet of water, and within the first three minutes, had a small blow-up and connected with a nice little 1lb Bass (1st picture). The fish weighed like 3 lbs due to the salad that was dragged with it when I was reeling it in. The next spot I tried was my trusty "Snakehead bridge," which surprisingly didn't even yield a nibble. Fortunately, I managed to catch a solid 1lb, 11oz fish (2nd picture) near the bridge, fishing a Frog in another weed choked area. It happened about 10 feet from shore - I had a big blow up, and the fish missed the bait. I twitched it a couple more times, then the fish came back and nailed it again! 

After that second Bass, I fished the dock for a while without any luck. Then, I moved to the next bridge, where I noticed a strong current flowing in. I felt the water, and it felt chilled because it was moving - about 70 degrees or less - so, I knew there had to be some bass hanging around there. I threw a Tube near the opening of the bridge, and as soon as it hit the water, a solid, at least 2.5lb Bass jumped up and tried to nail it. The Bass missed, and I tried a couple different baits but was never able to entice it to bite again. I then moved to the other side of the bridge, threw a KVD Squarebilled Crankbait, and on the retrieve, had a solid hit and landed my third bass of the day, another 1 lber (3rd picture). My last bass for the day came when I positioned myself on the laydown, so I could cast under the next bridge. I didn't get any hits under that bridge, but my first cast away from that bridge yielded a solid strike, and a very acrobatic Bass that made a total of three complete jumps out of the water before I could land it. It weighed about 1.5 lbs, but I couldn't get an officially weight or picture because there was no way I was going to be able to balance myself, my pole, and a fish trying to climb back up the laydown to flat ground. Regardless, I still had a great day of fishing and it was good to see that there are still some active bass at FDR park.

Pictures are below:






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Fishing gets tough day-by-day at the FDR Park. The place itself was great in the past, having a huge diversity of fish: Bluegill, Gizzard Shad, Common Carp, American Eel, Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, Largemouth Bass, and Snakeheads.

However, as time passed, more and more fisherman started to fish there...and there's nothing wrong with that! The problem was that people started to harvest more than the Lake could sustain - thus, the definition of "overharvesting." For more information on it, you can click here. Roll down your screen, and you will see that we are fighting against this problem.

Therefore, I'll emphasize it here: guys, support catch and release! If you want to take fish home to eat, take fish that are EDIBLE (not the ones at FDR Park), and always follow the golden law of selective harvest (letting small ones go; returning trophy fish; releasing Species that are not common). Help us spread the word - talk to your fellow friends, fishermen, and so on. If you ate the fish from that park, or know someone that did, be aware that the person who consumed the fish (or fishes, for different types) was exposed to PCBs and Heavy Metals, which are both dangerous substances.

If everyone follows these rules (not overharvesting, selective harvest), we will have SO MUCH more fish to catch and to eat in the future. I've long forgotten how many times I've seen people harvesting 4 inch Bluegill from the FDR park; people poaching Largemouth Bass illegally during spawning season; grilling the fish right at the site without fishing licenses; etc. And the Boat and Commission cannot do all the law enforcement by themselves. Just like our neighborhoods, we have to set our own eyes on problems that surround us.

Once, I've read: "He who does not prevent a crime when he can, encourages it." It's true that this quote is very extreme (just like us, hah), hence the author of it didn't take "fear" in consideration. Many people nowadays don't stop others from practicing crimes because they "fear" what may happen to them. They may have good hearts, but not have the guts to express themselves. I couldn't agree more - nowadays, you never know when someone is carrying a gun, and so on.

Therefore, if you don't have the guts to stop an environmental crime that happens right in front of you, even if your heart twists and hurts you so, at least help us in other ways: spread the word about selective harvest, overharvesting, and other common senses that are not so common for some people. 

The "it's not my business" type of excuse is no longer acceptable. When someone litters, the same is littering YOUR ENVIRONMENT, YOUR CITY, YOUR COUNTRY, YOUR CONTINENT...must I continue until I reach the "YOUR EARTH" part of it? Certain actions no longer bring consequences to only a single person (As a matter of fact, think about it: very FEW actions will bring consequences ONLY to yourself). 

A person that may have dumped gasoline down a drain is the same person that may have killed thousands of the fish that I could have fished for. A person that may have thrown fishing lines on the floor may be the same person responsible for a tangled bird or a dead turtle. And so on...

It's not JUST about YOU now. It's plural. It's about US. 

It's with these thoughts in mind that I wish fishermen would to be less selfish around the World, and work more as a community. If you do, I congratulate you and your efforts for making a better environment. If not, it's never too late to start. It's never too late to join.    

Support catch and release!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S. 

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Updated:

Youtube Channel
--> Added:
1. Mike H. catching a Largemouth Bass at Manayunk Canal.
2. Jay D. playing a Common Carp at Manayunk Canal - Part 1
3. Jay D. playing a Common Carp at Manayunk Canal - Part 2
4. Jay D. playing a Common Carp at Kelly Drive, Schuylkill River, on an ultralight
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Mike H.'s report on different places around PA, including the Schuylkill River, a Lake in Abington, and Delaware River - July 4th-22nd.

For previous reports from Mike H.'s:

A Lake in Abington - July 4th, 2012.
Haddon Lake, NJ - July 1st, 2012.
ABA Tournament (North East River) - June 24th, 2012.
Multiple Lakes (PA and MD) - May 30th - June 6th, 2012.
Haddon Lake, NJ - May 25th, 2012.
FDR Park and Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 20th & 24th, 2012. 
Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 18th, 2012.
Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 12th, 2012.
Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - May 3rd, 2012.
Font Hill Pond, MD - April 29th & May 4th, 2012.
Schuylkill River - April 26th, 2012. 

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Written by Mike H. - edited by Leo S.

Hey guys, first off, I apologize on not writing any reports recently. Unfortunately, my catches haven't been that great and I haven't been fishing as often because I've been playing a lot of tennis.

July 4th: I fished in the morning right before work. My catches weren't anything special, only a Channel Catfish on a crankbait, lol (1st picture). However, what was hilarious and sad was what I saw on my way to the fish ladder: the sad part was that the place was littered with discarded trash, uneaten hotdogs, red cups, etc. What was hilarious was that I saw at least a dozen people passed out, drunk on benches and the grass - looks like they had quite a night, haha, most of the guys without shirts, and one without pants lol!

July 9th: Again, I fished in the morning for an hour and a half or so, before work, at the Schuylkill River fish ladder. I had a great day quantity wise, but not quality wise. I was nailing the baby Stripers, ending up with 11 total. I caught them mainly on a Tailspinner, but also caught a couple on a suspending Jerkbait. For the first half an hour while fishing with a Fluke, I was getting hits on every cast and was getting frustrated that I wasn't hooking up. When I finally realized that they were baby Stripers, I made the switch to a different lure
and started nailing em! I only took 1 pic of the 11 (2nd picture).

July 10th: My friend Kevin and I went to a lake in Abington in the afternoon and fished for about 3 hours. In the past, I had great success there. So, I was anticipating a superb day of fishing. Within the first five minutes, right after I made a cast or two by the dock, Kevin runs over to me with a solid 3.25 lb bass in hand (3rd picture). Right off the bat, he hooked into a solid fish using a unique ribbed shakey head Worm on a shakey head Jighead. Unfortunately, neither of us landed a fish for a long time after that, but I lost several good fish on Swimjigs and Kevin missed a couple of huge blow ups on Frogs. The pattern at that lake appears to be that you can get the fish to bite, but for some reason, it is very difficult to land them. Regardless, Kevin did a great job landing his second keeper near the end of the day, a nice 2.5 lb bass (4th picture), while I was utterly skunked!

July 11th: I fished at the porch at the Skuke in the morning, before work. I did alright, as I managed to land a nice 1.5 lb Smallmouth Bass (5th picture) on a Green Pumpkin Tube, as well as a dink Largemouth on a Spook (no picture). The Skuke gets very tricky to fish during the hot summer days and the best time to fish  for bass and the like is dawn or evening, when there are low levels of light.

July 18th: I almost had my best fishing day ever at the Skuke. I fished for two hours, and for the first hour I fished with Flukes and topwaters without a nibble. By this time, the tide was extremely low and the water was only a foot or two feet deep in certain areas. I decided to tie on a Squarebilled Crankbait and crash it off the rocks to see if I could elicit any reaction strikes. Right off the bat - first cast I nail a 1 lb catfish (no pic). After another 15 minutes or so, something incredible happened: while retrieving the bait in shallow water, I watched as a monster fish darted up from the deeper water and nailed my bait! I set the hook, felt the weight of the fish and prepared myself for a hell of a fight. Sadly, the monster immediately came up to the surface, shook its head, and bam - the fish was gone. I reeled in my line to see that it was cleanly cut, not snapped, and I knew what the fish was, since I saw it when it came to the surface and shook its head. It was the first ever Muskie I hooked into, and appeared to be at least three feet when I looked at its silhouette in the water. Well, at least I know that they're in there, and I'm sure I'll be able to hook into another one someday. After the Muskie went away, I hooked into what probably would have been my personal best Snakehead (2.5 lbs or so) while casting the same Crank Bait through some shallow current. The Snakehead fought tremendously, as it had the current on its side, and managed to throw the hook after a 30 second fight or so. On the last cast of the day, I hooked into my first ever Spotted Bass! (6th, 7th picture). A Spotted Bass resembles a Largemouth Bass exactly, except for two key features: (1) Its jawline does not extend past its mouth, and (2) it has a small dark patch on its tongue which I tried to photograph but failed. Oh well, you can tell from the pics its mouth is small like a Smallmouth Bass, and its nice to know that the Skuke is the king when it comes to diversity.

July 22nd: I fished my fifth tournament ever on the ABA Tournament Trail. The tournament was held on the Deleware River, and all of the anglers met at the Lightning Jacks Marina in New Jersey. Ironically, I am by far the youngest angler and was randomly paired with the oldest angler, a grumpy looking 80 year-old dude, haha. I wasn't intimated by his looks, but I was excited to fish with him because he just came off a win in the last tournament at the North East River with a 20+ bag of fish! Unfortunately, after meeting him, he told me up front that he wasn't familar with this River, which was a bad sign for me. However, at least he was a really nice guy, even though he couldn't understand a word I said unless I literally shouted it at him (hearing issues). We started the day making a long run out of the Marina to a different Marina to fish. We weren't actually allowed to fish in that marina, so we fished along the edges. He threw soft plastics while I threw topwater, neither of us had any luck.

The next spot we hit was a field of thick lily pads near the marina. I tried fishing a swim jig while he stuck to jigs and plastics. Again, no luck. We worked our way down the pad-field until we got to some docks. He stayed with the same baits while I switched to a drop shot rig.  After casting to a spot he just threw his lure at, I hooked into a solid 3 lb fish (Last picture) that put up a fight like a 5 lber. Since the current in the Deleware is so strong, the fish's muscles are more developed, making them superb fighters! We continued to fish the docks and got numerous hits, most likely from perch and bluegill. We made our way down the docks to another shoreline, littered with pads. The good news was that the shoreline was littered with Bass, we each caught at least 10 Bass with a variety of plastics and hardbaits. The bad news was that every single fish was under 12 inches, the legal size to keep for the tournament. We made one more run through that exact loop, starting outside the marina, and had a 30 minute detour because a cop pulled our boat over because the old guy was apparently making a wake in a no wake zone. It was completely bullshit because we were going slower than other boats on the water in that exact same area. The cop wasn't very nice, and checked for a fire extinguisher, whistle, extra PFD, throwable PFD, ect. The old guy ended up getting a 50 dollar ticket for making a wake, and an additional 33 dollar ticket for not having a whistle and not having a throwable PFD where it is easily accessible...

After that detour, we abandoned that spot and went to fish under a bridge. My partner was throwing a spinnerbait and hooked into a nice 4lb fish. The only problem was that it was the wrong species, he managed to catch a good sized Walleye haha. We worked our way down for a while without luck until we got to a small channel that, according to my partner, it held fish. When we were about to make our way in to the 1 foot channel (it was low tide), another boat sped past us and went in first - what an ass! The old guys had trouble with boat control, and it took about 15 minutes for him to get into the channel. We made our way down and the water was literally less than 2 feet deep and only 12 feet wide - I didn't see how there would be fish in there. Eventually we see the other boat parked in a spot on the channel making repeated casts to the same spot. My boater said that douchebag took the hole we were going to fish in - apparently, there was a 4 feett hole he said Bass stack into. He was right, as the other boater caught a 12 inch fish throwing plastics. As we passed by him, I threw my crankbait in his area and hooked into a solid 1.5 lb fish - take that, douchebag! That would be my only other keeper for the day, unfortunately.

For the remaining three hours or so we tried various padfields, structure, and shorelines. My boater said he made some errors and should have made a longer run initially to an area he knew held Bass. Oh well, it was still a fun tournament and I almost won a check for Big Bass. The big bass was 3.5 lbs, and I had second lunker with a 3.1 lb Bass. I ended up finished 11th out of 20 anglers, which was good enough to put me in second place for co-angler of the year, only 1 point behind that three time co-angler of the year for the past three years. In fact, that guy lives on the Delaware river, and has won several tournaments as a co-angler because he knows the river so well. So, at least, it appears that I'm fishing pretty decently during my first year of fishing tournaments, since I'm about even with the current co angler of the year holder.

Pictures are below:















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I hope everything is going well, Kevin! We will miss you here, around Philly. When you come back to visit, let us know - we will go for some extreme Bassing!

Hahaha...oh, man. I feel bad for that old dude! "+33 dollars for not having a whistle...," what a shame, man. "4lbs fish - a Wallaye" - he should have won the "rare fish" of the day, man! Catching a Walleye during day time at the Delaware is extremely rare, in my opinion.

Nice report as always, Mike! Sorry for the delay - I've been fishing a lot, and working on the FishAThon. =)

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.

FishAThon 2012 - Team "Extreme Philly Fishing" Needs Your Help!


A while ago, I've started this Blog with the purpose of sharing information about my favorite sport: "Fishing." I decided from deep inside my heart that all contents would be available for all public, free of charge. I'm very happy about how things turned out. Thank you very much for reading the Blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. Anyways...today, I'm bringing you a post of great significance - something that involves me, my friends, you, your family, Philadelphia, USA...and so on! The truth is: we need your help!

Clockwise (starting at 12): Leo Sheng with a Flathead Catfish, Rob Zito with a Common Carp, Jay Daly with a Striped Bass, and Mike Hsiao with a Brown Trout - all of them "caught-and-released." Different names; styles; hobbies; backgrounds; jobs...but one mutual joy: fishing. United by it, they stand forth and true on their paths and objectives: educate and be educated - always while entertaining oneself.

We will fish the National FishAThon competition (September 7-8. For more information, click here), and despite results, we will show all Philadelphians how rich is the Schuylkill River, and how proud should we be for having such a River in the heart of "The City of Brotherly Love" - a treasure for fishermen and folks alike. Followingly, if not enough, we will emphasize how important is to respect and conserve Mother Nature, so future generations will be able to feel some of the same feelings of joy as we do.

Isn't this a part of the American dream, society, and the Constitution itself? - to fight for what is rightful and fair, so the new generations to come will have a better life to live and better joys to appreciate?

But "time is nothing but a face in the water" - in other words, it can do nothing but flow. And here are we, 2012...it seems to me that some may have forgotten about that ideology, and others may have never learned whatsoever.

Team Extreme Philly Fishing is here to remind those who have forgotten, and talk to those who have never heard of it. Nature needs our help more than ever needed before. Humans brought the problems; humans should solve it (isn't this part of our identities and philosophy?). We believe that the FishAThon is an unique event that will help us spread our thoughts around.

We are mainly working on these problems...

--> Pollution/littering: Would you like if someone went to your house and littered around? Would you like if someone threw a piece of trash on your lawn? Well...it hurts my heart to see someone trashing the places that I fish, not to mention that the same is trashing fresh water, which just happens to be the same water that we use and drink! Bad habits are apt to bring certain kinds of destruction. If you don't like it done to you, don't perform it. The solution is simple: don't litter. People will love you more for not doing so, not to mention that you will set a good and noble example for everyone around. It's a habit that brings peace to oneself, and one's environment.

--> Overharvesting: Harvesting fish nowadays is not the same as harvesting fish centuries ago. Before, fish were abundant while fishermen were scarce. Now, it's quite the opposite. How many people have complained that fishing gets tough year-by-year? Our waters are no longer sustainable - there are too many fishermen for little fish. Next time someone takes a "biggie" home, try to think how many years did it take for that fish to grow to that size - maybe the fish is as old as the person is (or maybe even older)! Imagine if you saw 8 of them being taken away! 10! 20! It takes a long time for them to grow, but it takes very little to take them away. If you want to be able to catch good quality fish in the future (or even catch fish), never overharvest! Remember: follow the laws, and catch-and-release most of the fish you catch, taking only as much as you can eat. Humility and respect for life will only bring you peace of mind, not to mention that you are doing a great job for a John that will be born 50 years from now on.  

--> Selective Harvest: If you want that "rare catch," you will want to practice selective harvest. As the name implies, it's all about selection! Make the right choices - be wise: release fishes that are rare in the Rivers that you fish (excluding invasive Species); release small fish, so they can grow and reproduce; release "trophy fish," so they can give life to even BIGGER fish in the future. Keep only what you will eat - "thou should not waste." Wisdom will only enhance your life... 

Join us on our cause, guys!

The economy is tough, and so is life. However, if you can donate, be proud of yourself: click here, and perform a noble action by donating to our team [Extreme Philly Fishing]. Be aware that none of your money will be wasted - half of it will be shared around the country for projects that are beneficent for nature, and the other half will come directly to Pennsylvania. Set an example for others around - your family and kids - and be proud to tell everyone that you have contributed for a better environment, cultural development, and a better water quality for everyone!

If you can't donate, bear no shame! Spread the word around - help us with our cause; a good cause. Don't lose your heart, or your hope - believe in people, and always in their potential to change and adapt. By spreading the word around, you are raising your town's etiquette and quality! You are making it better for everyone!

Thank you for your patience, time, and comprehension.

Now, I'll dream of my dreams - and, of course, I'll fish tomorrow! =)
Sincerely,

Team Extreme Philly Fishing - Mike H, Rob Z, Jay D, Leo S



.

Catfish Season is Open! "Catfishing" 101 - Are you ready for it?

------------------------------
Updated:

Statistical Fishing Chart for 2012
--> Added Data from Schuylkill River (07/31, 08/04), Newton Lake (08/03), Haddon Lake (08/05, 08/07), Martin Lake (08/07), Audubon Lake (08/07), Stewart Lake (08/07), Driscoll Pond (08/07), FDR Park (08/09)

--> New PB for American Eel
--> 100+ days fishing this year! Oh Yeah!
--> New Species added: Northern Snakehead
Youtube Channel
--> Added: 

1. Jay catching a Largemouth Bass at Haddon Lake
2. Me reeling in a Carp at Driscoll Pond
3. Mike catching a Chain Pickerel at Haddon Lake
4. Mike using his lure retriever to save a $20 lure 
Enjoy, guys!
------------------------------

Heya, guys!


It's very hot now, so I figured it was finally time to write something about one of the most caught Species in Philadelphia: the Channel Catfish (NOTE: I'll not be focusing on Flatheads and Bullheads, etc). I've been fishing for Catfish quite a lot recently, so, I have tons of pics. Heh. Before I start my "Catfishing 101" post, let me emphasize that the Catfish around Philly is NOT REALLY edible!

Here is a link for a recent online article on fishes in Philadelphia (with my participation, heh).
Also, here is another useful website - the "2012 Fish Consumption Advisory," made by the PA Boat and Commission

Note that PCBs and Mercury will not bring you acute conditions, but chronic ones. In other words, it will not bring you symptons or illnesses right away (acute), but will accumulate in your body and bring you diseases through time (chronic). I'll emphasize them one more time, later on in this post.

--- Catfishing 101 ---

1. The Basics of Catfish

--> All Catfish in North America have four pairs of barbels ("whiskers") around the mouth, which are used as organs for taste and feel. They are extremely sensitive to touch, and also covered with taste buds! Therefore, it's an essential tool in terms of foraging.

--> Catfish have sharp spines in their dorsal (above) and pectoral (sides) fins. Avoid it at all costs, fishermen! They can inflict painful wounds, specially if the Catfish is young. Also, it is good to notice that many different types of Catfish (Channel, Flathead, Bullhead, etc) have venom cells around the skin covering these spines. Again: always be cautious while handling a Catfish!

--> Catfish do not have scales. Instead, they have a smooth, naked skin. Some types of weird Catfish have spiny plates or overlapping shields, but never scales.

--> Like Trout and Salmon, Catfish have an "adipose fin" on the rear of their back.

Curious fact from Brazil (of course!): The most fearsome type of Catfish is not a giant Catfish, but a very very small one - half inch long! They are very different than regular Catfish: they are a blood-sucking type of Catfish, Eel  shaped. They are the only Species of Catfish that parasitize human being. They have a frightening habit of entering the human genital opening (male or female) and swimming all their way up to the urethra, finally merging themselves with the human host. This is no HORROR tale, it's REALITY! Their name in Portuguese is "Candirus."

2. The 5 Senses

Before I start talking about rigs, baits, and techniques, it's of utmost importance that oneself should understand the basic anatomy and physiology of the fish. I'll save that for you guys to google! I'll be focusing on the fish's senses: smell, taste, hearing, sight, and the Catfish's special sense - electrosensing. I'll be as brief as I can  here, but very detailed as well.

Smell:

Well...it's a fact that the Catfish have an awesome sense of smell. The smellers are located right in front of their faces, up-front the eyes and behind the upper jaw. Catfish are very powerful: they can detect food from vast distances, not to mention that they can find food even when the water visibility is ZERO.

Each olfactory pit has two nostrils - incoming and outgoing water. Inside the pits, there's a line of sensitive tissue wrinkled together into a series of folds, so the surface area is maximized. More surface area means a better ability to smell.  The secret of the Catfish's sense of smell is in the number of folds inside the olfactory pit: more than 140 folds! For you guys to have an idea, a Rainbow Trout has only 18 folds, while a Largemouth Bass has only 8 to 13 (they depends completely to sight!).

Basically, this is what happens:

Water enters one nostril --> water travels through the sensory tissue [--> if food is detected, message is sent to the brain] --> water exits at the other nostril.

Just how powerful is their sense of smell?! Answer: 1 part of a certain compound per 10 billion parts of water. WOW! Heh.

Taste:

In most Species of fish, the taste buds are only found in the mouth: on the tongue, palate, etc. Also, there are not vast amount of taste buds there neither. With Catfish, it's a whole different level...

The Catfish's smooth scaleless skin is completely covered with taste buds! Imagine a huge swimming tongue: that's what a Catfish is. For you guys to have an idea, a 6 inch long Catfish has more than a quarter million taste buds (250.000+). On the flank of an adult Channel Catfish, there are at least 5.000 taste buds/cm²-skin.

Even in the dark muddy water, Catfish will be able to locate food with their "body." Also, with this much power, they are even able to detect chemicals from food that is far away.

Hearing:

Catfish don't have ears like we do, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they cannot "hear." Just like us, they can "hear" through sound waves that travels through a certain medium (ambient). For us, human beings, the sound waves are generated through the vocal cords, travels through a medium (air), and finally arrives inside our ears, where a complex physical and biological process takes place, changing the waves into information for our brain to process. 

It's time for a little bit of Physics and Biology! (which are areas that I'm very familiar with! Associate's focused in Biology, and Bachelor's in Physics and Mathematics.)

With the Catfish, it's a little bit different. Waves come from a different medium (water), and they receive the sound waves through their skin. In reality, a Catfish's ear is basically its "swim bladder," which is a very fragile organ that vibrates with any sound wave, as much as our eardrums do. The swim bladder is an organ inside the fish that contains gas. In other words, it creates a space filled with air with a different density than anywhere else in the Catfish. 

Basically, this is what happens:

Sound waves travel through a medium (water) --> Sound waves hit the Catfish's skin --> Sound waves hit the swim bladder --> Sound wave is amplified by the bladder, finally traveling to the "otoliths" - small ear bones in the Catfish's inner ear --> Otoliths vibrate a bit, transferring the message to the brain.

Most fishes have an independent swim bladder. In other words, the swim bladder is not connected to the inner ear. Those fish (Bass and Trout, for example) detect sounds from about 20 to 1.000 cycles per second. Catfish, on the other hand, have a connection between the bladder and the inner ear - a series of vertebral bones known as the "Weberian Apparatus." Because of this small connection, Catfish hears sounds of much higher frequency, even up to about 13.000 cycles per second.

Are you amazed yet that Catfish is not your regular type of fish? This fish did not receive the finickiness of the Trout, or the instinctive smartness of the Bass - which are factors that make the sport challenging, but received characteristics that work for its survival - a true hunter and warrior of the waters. If you are not amazed yet, wait until you read about it's 5th sense - "electrosensing."

Continuing...High frequency sounds are not everything that a Catfish can detect. This type of fish can also detect very low frequency sounds; however, it uses a different method of detection. The sounds that cannot be detected by the inner ear are eventually picked up by a series of small pores that run along the fish's side lines - the famous "Lateral Line." Every fish has a lateral line, and now you know its function! Cool, isn't it? It's not there just to make the fish prettier.

However, these pores also exist around the eyes of the Catfish, under the lower jaw, and also over its head. Inside these pores are cells that are like "little hair," which is very similar to the cells inside an inner ear. The hair like cells bend in response to water displacement, and therefore, stimulates nerve endings that send signals to the brain. 

It's by using this system that Catfish can locate local preys, potential enemies, and even other Catfish! Have you ever wondered how fish can differentiate other fishes than their own kind? There we go! Also, it's with this system that Catfish can locate small creatures scurrying on the bottom, flopping at the surface, swimming through the water or even walking along a riverbank! (be careful where you step, and how you step, fellas!) All these actions create low-frequency vibrations in the water - all very detectable by the lateral line. 

Curious fact 1: It seems that a lot of curiosities are shown in the TV program referred as "River Monsters," Jeremy Wade being the main protagonist. I remember an episode of a Catfish in Japan known for showing up before catastrophes arrived. Well...One curious fact about Catfish is that thousands of years ago, Chinese people used to have them in their tanks to detect future catastrophes - mainly earthquakes. Certain kinds of Catfish are ultra-sensitive to low-frequency vibrations. They can detect the rumblings between tectonic plates beneath the Earth's crust, and "foresee" earthquakes days in advance! Man, I'm so glad I took Environmental Conservation and Earth Formation in college. Cheers to Christopher Murphy, my old professor in that field.

Curious fact 2: I guess I should be thankful for my psychology classes as well. If you guys are not familiar with Pavlov's experiment with his dogs, click here. Never mind the question and answer, although they are interesting! The main purpose for this link was the picture. It's the "conditioning" that is imposed upon someone. The conclusion of Pavlov's experience on his dogs was simple: the dogs would start to salivate when the bell/tuning fork was rang, even though there would be no food present. It's very related to expectations and habits.

With the Catfish, it's the same! Not only CATFISH, other Species of fish AS WELL! If you can find the "Pavlov's pattern" (that's how I call it) in a certain lake, you are APT to get fish! Channel Catfish raised in fisheries often rise to the surface of the water in response to people's footsteps, thinking that the person is there to feed them. Largemouth Bass that feed on top creatures will often hit a lure on top water when they hear the sound of the lure hitting the water, and see the motion of the lure in action.

Sight:

Many people believe in the fallacy that Catfish have bad vision because of their good sense of smell and hearing. It's taught in certain countries that predatory fish have big eyes, while foraging fish have small eyes. Well...this is a fallacy. Catfish have an excellent vision, and some of them will frequently feed on live fish. In clear water, specially, sight is the primary sense in terms of hunting live prey.

Also, Catfish have a REALLY good vision at night time. Have you guys ever catch a Walleye? The eyes of a Walleye, which is a nocturnal type of fish, are shiny! They glow in the dark. That's because their eyes are glowing from the reflection of the light on a thin layer of crystals located at the back of their eyes, referred as "Tapetum Lucidum." This thin layer reflects gathered light back at the retina; in other words, it aids a lot when it comes to night vision.

Also, it's a fallacy to say that Catfish can only see in black and white. Rods and Cones are present in almost equal numbers in Catfish. Rods allow a good vision in dim light, and Cones are cells responsible for color vision.

Curious fact on the Schuylkill: after fishing for Catfish on a float, I kind of realized that there's a very viable explanation for it. I should be happy that I took some Philosophy classes at college, specially giving focus to Darwin, evolution, and adaptation. For the moment, this is a hypothesis: one can say that there are two different types of Catfish at the tidal Schuylkill River, although they are both from the same Species - Channel Catfish. One type is the foraging type: round body - "fat," adapted to bottom-feeding. The other type is the predatory type: flat body - "torpedo" style, adapted to current-feeding. Their jaws are different, and even their colors are not the same. Adaptation - that's what it's about. For now it's just a hypothesis, but I'm working on this idea more and more. I gathered all these information with the data I collected recently, specially on the day that I fished 50 Catfish at the Schuylkill River on a float (my first time getting a limit on Catfish! Everyone was release unharmed! That's when I noticed that their body structure is very different from the Catfish that I caught on the bottom). Here's the data that I collected on July 26th, when I got 50 Catfish in a single day - all on a float:

1. 3.12lbs, 19 inches     2. 2.36lbs, 17 inches     3. 1.12lbs, 14 inches
4. 1.74lbs, 15 inches     5. 3.86lbs, 19 inches     6. 1.60lbs, 15 inches
7. 3.05lbs, 20 inches     8. 2.55lbs, 19 inches     9. 1.28lbs, 14 inches
10. 1.40lbs, 13 inches   11. 4.21lbs, 22 inches   12. 2.90lbs, 17 inches
13. 2.88lbs, 18 inches   14. 3.21lbs, 21 inches   15. 3.60lbs, 22 inches
16. 1.74lbs, 16 inches   17. 1.94lbs, 17 inches   18. 2.13lbs, 17 inches
19. 2.05lbs, 14 inches   20. 3.29lbs, 19 inches   21. 2.70lbs, 18 inches
22. 2.44lbs, 16 inches   23. 4.10lbs, 22 inches   24. 2.91lbs, 19 inches
25. 4.49lbs, 24 inches   26. 3.76lbs, 19 inches   27. 1.22lbs, 15 inches
28. 1.65lbs, 17 inches   29. 1.03lbs, 13 inches   30. 2.05lbs, 16 inches
31. 2.37lbs, 18 inches   32. 1.44lbs, 15 inches   33. 2.76lbs, 20 inches
34. 1.89lbs, 17 inches   35. 4.11lbs, 21 inches   36. 3.01lbs, 18 inches
37. 1.27lbs, 13 inches   38. 2.88lbs, 18 inches   39. 2.45lbs, 16 inches
40. 2.77lbs, 19 inches   41. 4.54lbs, 22 inches   42. 3.15lbs, 21 inches
43. 1.45lbs, 15 inches   44. 4.28lbs, 23 inches   45. 2.90lbs, 19 inches
46. 4.18lbs, 20 inches   47. 3.67lbs, 16 inches   48. 1.97lbs, 18 inches
49. 2.04lbs, 16 inches   50. 2.30lbs, 17 inches

Note: the last 13 fish were caught at night.

Electrosensing:

Electroreception is, perhaps, the MOST AMAZING sense that a Catfish has. A regular Catfish has pores on its head, which are sensory organs that detect electrical fields in living organisms. Electroreceptive pits are also located in their lateral line. What electrical fields, you ask? Well...let me just mention that a heart is like a "battery."  As a matter of fact, every cell in every living organism is like a battery!

Let's go for a little bit of Biology and Physics together!

Every living cell is a battery itself! Talk about ATP (adenosine-5'-triphosphate), which is the main source of energy that our cells use to function (for Biology majors - Mitochondrion and all that stuff). Energy...it's all about energy! Well...better saying, if you were to stick an electrode inside a cell and another outside it, you would get a reading on your machine. It's the same concept of measuring a battery with a voltmeter. Catfish detect these electrical fields in their prey at MINUTE LEVELS, almost the same as detecting a flashlight battery from several thousand yards.
Catfish can detect a prey's heartbeat from far away!

This sense is extremely helpful in dark muddy water! Ever wondered how they would be able to find small minnows in a type of water where visibility is almost zero? This is your answer: electrosensing, just like the sharks.

Strong sense of smell and hearing. Very good tasting and vision. Also a 5th sense to help them out - electrosensing. Are you convinced yet that Catfish is not your regular fish around?

Well...that's it for the senses!

3. Locations around Philadelphia/NJ.

Alright. Now, you know how to properly identify a Catfish. Also, you understand some of their attitudes and behaviors. This is the third part of this "Catfishing 101:" where can you find them around Philly? Location is certainly important, and the "burning spots" idea comes up very often on fishing forums, websites, blogs, and so on.

Have you ever wondered why I decide to reveal so many spots to people, and encourage them to fish there? Simple: I want to encourage people to practice a healthy sport with a healthy mind. That includes releasing fish that either will not be consumed, or is rare at a certain body of water (concept of selective harvest); harvesting fish in fair quantities - always thinking about the aquatic ecosystem and its sustainability (concept of over harvesting); leaving a fishing place the way it was when you arrived (concept of littering and pollution), and so on. Basically, I believe that once people love something, they can change for it. I'm a believer and a dreamer that all fishermen with good knowledge will be able to take good care of nature and fish. I know that achieving "all" is impossible, but I want to pass the message to as many as I can. If most people were like that, "burning spots" would no longer be an issue. Think about it. Anyways...back to locations: 

There are two main locations around Philly that are PERFECT for catfishing: The Delaware River, and the Schuylkill River. The Delaware is mainly between PA and NJ; therefore, the Philadelphia-slash-New Jersey. Also, you can find them in all tributaries of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, and even some Lakes in NJ.

Simplifying: they are all around! I'll emphasize the Schuylkill and the Delaware in this section of this post.

Delaware River:

The Delaware River is the river with biggest Channel Catfish around! When fished at night, and with proper bait, the chances of getting a potential 10lb+ Channel are high. There are, of course, disadvantages to this River: the number of snags on this body of water is outrageous! First, it's because of industrial junk that has been submerged there for centuries, not to mention rocks, etc. Then, you have this "Eel" infestation at the Delaware. As soon as they get the bait of an amateur fisherman, they will take it straight to their "holes," resulting in a big snag. Therefore, you are advised: be careful where you drop your line, and always fish the Delaware with tight lines, giving Eels very limited mobility. 

Here are some locations that are accessible by public transportation.
Therefore, don't ask me for directions! Hah.

I made a little map on Google Earth, and pointed out some locations (indicated by the little orange fish). If the visualization is too small, click on the picture to magnify it (original size). From North to South: The Hatcheries, Penny Pack at Delaware, Frankford Arsenal, Penn Treaty Park, Race Street Pier, and Pier 70 on Columbus Boulevard.


Now...a couple notes on the dotted portions of the map (from NORTH to SOUTH):

The fish hatcheries at Linden Ave: A nice spot to go for. It has a parking lot, and lots of rocks to fish from. If you know the spots around there, you will certainly get no snags! Big Channels at night, for a fact. If you get bored of the Delaware River, you can always go give it a try at the hatcheries for Carp and LMB (there are 5lbers there - catch and release only, guys! It's the law).

Penny Pack at Delaware: A very pretty spot. The government did a good job at this location: it's convenient, quite safe, and has a path for easy access. I never had too much success over there, but I've seen people pull 5lb Catfish out of the River, on chicken livers. Also, the place has a low rate for snags, which is great for any fisherman! If the tide is high, you can fish the sides of the pier for White Perch and Sunnies - very entertaining for kids. Often, you will get a Catfish there too (as they come in to feed)!

Frankford Arsenal: This is one of the safest locations to fish at the Delaware. It's basically a property owned by the Boat and Commission that is opened at certain times of the year for fisherman to fish. That's it! That's the purpose of it. The most left of the Frankford Arsenal is the best spot for Catties and Stripers (during Spring.)

Penn Treaty Park: Certainly, there are Catfish there. However, try to aim for that location when the tide is high. Your chances of getting a nice fish will be when the tide is going from low to high. The park itself is quite abandoned, and the ambient isn't that great. Therefore, watch out for trouble. Maybe, one day, that was a wonderful place to be fishing at. The World moved on...

Race Street Pier: It used to be an AWESOME spot - Catfish, Stripers, big White Perch...but now it's closed forever for fishing! I'm only including it here because I've heard of fishermen fishing it from outside the park. It's pretty weird to do that, but hey...there's fish there! You can read more about the Race Street Pier here. Note that the post is pretty old. My writing style changed quite a bit, huh? No? Hmmm..Oh well. Hah. Note that I caught a type of Catfish there that was 9.8lbs!!! I kept insisting that it was a Bullhead, but everyone was telling me that Bullheads don't get that big (which is obvious), and the state record is wayyyy below 9.8lbs. (also obvious) Oh well...it was some type of Catfish that either looked a lot like a Bullhead, or it was a mutated Bullhead or something like that. Well...I'm upset until this day that I did not take a picture of the fish! And guess what? If it lives around there, chances of catching it again are thin!

Pier 70: It's not very convenient to fish there, but it has easy parking. Also, there's a Walmart right next to the River. Watch out for private properties: you don't want to fish inside them. Think it this way: would you like if someone invaded your property to go fishing? If this doesn't convince you, think it this way: is it worth to risk yourself and have background problems and headaches because of trespassing a property? Therefore, be careful with private piers.

Note: there's a new pier next to the Tacony bridge that opened in May. As a matter of fact, Mayor Nutter was there for the opening ceremony! The Bus 84 will take you there. I've never tried there before, so I can't comment too much on it. All I know is that a lot of people got a lot of snags around those parts.

These are only a couple spots at the Delaware, of course! One can also fish from Camden (close to the Aquarium), Pulaski Park, etc etc etc. If you have a boat, things get even better - there are a couple secret spots at the Delaware for good Walleyes! Heh. That's a subject for future posts.

Schuylkill River:

The Schuylkill River is definitely one of the best places to fish in Philadelphia! I did a very specific post on it before. Anyways...let's focus on Catfish. The Schuylkill is long; therefore, I'll focus only on a couple locations. They all hold Catfish, although sizes cannot be compared to the fish in the Delaware (a 5lb Channel is a good size for the Schuylkill River). Most of the spots are very pleasant, though. After all, they are all part of the Fairmount Park system. 

Again...Here are some locations that are accessible by public transportation.
Here's a map to aid you. The locations are indicated with the little orange fish. If the visualization is too small, click on the picture to magnify it (original size). From North to South: Manayunk Canal, Kelly Drive, Fairmount Dam, Schuylkill Banks, Grays Ferry Trail.


Now...a couple notes:

Manayunk Canal: Be careful with snags! Other than that, everything should be fine. The Manayunk Canal is a small body of water that branches out of the Schuylkill River. It has Common Carp, Largemouth Bass, Gizzard Shad, and your regular Channel Catfish. Although Channel Catfish is not mainly what people fish for over there, it's still present in it.

Kelly Drive: Very convenient; very nice. There are a couple parking lots around Kelly Drive, and the River is right next to the Schuylkill trail. Therefore, it's an area with wide access for fishing. Big Flatheads at certain portions of it (I'll not focus on it), as well as big Channels at night. Be careful with your lines, though - there are lots of people rowing over there. Watch out for weekends.

Fairmount Dam: One of the best fishing spots in the city, if not the BEST SPOT. Focusing on Catfish...this is an unique spot to try some float-fishing with live minnows. The Float-fishing will work with other baits as well. Catfish at this portion of the River are very predatory. There are two sides that can be fished: the fish ladder (on the left of the map), and a small place close to the Fairmount Dam (on the right side of the River).

Schuylkill Banks: Probably the most comfortable fishing spot that you will find IN THE CITY. Sustained by the SRDC (Schuylkill River Development Corporation), it's a pleasant spot: clean, with illumination, nice environment, and awesome people. Once in a while, you will find a crazy one...but this is Philadelphia, right?! Can't be perfect! Here's the link for a post that I did on "Catfishing at the Schuylkill Banks." It comes with a variety of baits as well! There we go! If you want to read more about the Banks, you can access their official website.

Grays Ferry Trail: This is the new portion of the Schuylkill Banks that opened recently (a couple months ago). I haven't been there personally, so I can't say much about it. However, I can certainly state that I expect that location to have the same kind of fish as the Walnut street bridge. After I give it a try, I may update this part of this post. =)

As always, there are other spots on the Schuylkill River...there's a spot behind a certain UPS, there's the Black Rock Dam, etc etc etc. So, there's plenty for everyone to explore! Heh.
4. Baits

Okay...now you know where to find them, how to identify them, and how they "sort of" behave. There's certainly a step missing in-between, isn't it? Indeed. Let's focus now on "how to catch them." Let's start with baits!

Here's a post with some bait options. I'll do a little bait list over here, and also add some labels for a more efficient comparison/contrast between them (the ratings go from 0/10) - kind of a video-game style thing. Have you ever played some RPG at home? Here's your chance to apply some video-game knowledge here, and try to choose the bait that suits you most. If you never played one, don't be afraid - analyze, and "thou shall pick the rightful one." The ratings are being given out from my personal experience + online research, of course. Nothing is really biased here.

I've included a selection of basic baits (i.e. nightcrawlers - the fish will or found these naturally one day), a selection of weird baits (i.e. bubblegum - the fish will never find that in a natural environment), and a selection of "smart" baits (i.e. chicken livers - the fish will detect these from far away).

Labels:

Q = Quality (Size). Higher the rating, higher the chances of you getting a big Catfish!
S = Species (Variety). Higher the rating, lower the chances of different Species of fish (other than Catfish).
T = Time (Efficiency). Higher the rating, faster the fish should bite.

Live bait (minnow) - Q: 10/10 S: 10/10 T: 3/10
Cut bait (fish) - Q: 10/10 S: 8/10 T: 2/10
Chicken Liver (or any other liver) - Q: 7/10 S: 5/10 T: 8/10
Nightcrawlers (or any other type of earthworm) - Q: 2/10 S: 2/10 T: 10/10
Waxworms - Q: 1/10 S: 1/10 T: 5/10
Soap (with animal fat) - Q: 10/10 S: 10/10 T: 1/10
Marshmallows - Q: 4/10 S: 10/10 T: 5/10
Hot Dog - Q: 3/10 S: 5/10 T: 8/10
Corn - Q: 3/10 S: 9/10 T: 7/10
Bread - Q: 3/10 S: 7/10 T: 5/10
Catfish dough (trusted brands) - Q: 2/10 S: 8/10 T: 10/10
Bubblegum - Q: 3/10 S: 10/10 T: 3/10
Shrimp - Q: 7/10 S: 8/10 T: 8/10
Lures (in general) - Q: 7/10 S: 1/10 T: 1/10

I hate the fact the blogger doesn't have a "Table" option. Grrr! Anyways...Be the Lord of your own judgment, guys! Of course, there are other baits out there for Catfish. Do you really think I would reveal my darkest secrets? Heh. Exploring is part of fishing, isn't it? Note that if one bait is 10/10, and the other is 5/10, it means that one is "double" the other, for whatever meaning it has. Note that if one is 2/10, and another is 1/10, it means that one is a little bit more effective over the other one. And so on...

4. Rigs/Techniques/Set up

Finally...you know where to catch them, what to use, how to identify them, how they behave! Now, this is the last section of this "Catfishing 101" post (hallelujah!): what equipment to use, how to tie your rigs properly, and how to avoid snags (as much as possible).

Let's start with set up. These are the set ups that I recommend, depending on what "kind" of fisherman are you. There are those that play the fish (loose drag, light set up), and there are those who fight with utmost strength (tight drag, heavy set up). There those who are in between, and so on. It depends totally on the person, and the circumstances. The set ups are adapted for the Schuylkill and Delaware River, guys!

Light:

--> Light action rod (never ultra-light)
--> Line: Monofilament/Fluorocarbon 4-8lbs
--> Weight: less than 1oz
--> Drag: very loose
--> Optional swivel: no.
--> Hook: depends on how greedy the user is. (#1-#8)

Notes: sometimes a split shot will do for this kind of set up. Works best where/when current is weak (slack tides, highest, lowest, slow pools). Adding a swivel here is a bad option: you have 2 more knots to apply tension on, and the line may break upon a big fish. Remember: knots like the improved clinch and palomar are 90% resistant, as book say, but not totally reliable. Never totally reliable. Less knots = less chances of losing the fish. Maximum perception of the fish's strength! 

Medium:

--> Medium action rod
--> Line: Monofilament/Fluorocarbon 8-15lbs, Braided 15lbs- (less than)
--> Weight: 1oz
--> Drag: loose
--> Optional swivel: yes
--> Hook: depends on how greedy the user is. (#1-#8)

Notes: a slip-sinker or three-way rig is recommended. Works good under normal current (increasing, decreasing tide). Adding a swivel here is really necessary for this rig. Good perception of the fish's strength!


Heavy:

--> Heavy Action rod
--> Line: 20-50lbs Braided, 30lbs+ Monofilament/Fluorocarbon
--> Weight: 2oz+
--> Drag: tight
--> Hook: depends on how greedy the user is. (#1-#8)

Notes: a slip-sinker rig is recommended. Works good after storms, under abnormal current speeds. The Braided line should be crucial here, as debris would get stuck more often in thicker line. The drag should be totally tight, and able to hold the current and debris' resistances. More weight = more friction. Perception of the fish is minimum!

--> PUMPING is a very good technique for playing any large fish, and is recommended here.
--> the size of your hook will depend on how "greedy" you will be upon catching a fish. If you are planning to catch BIG CHANNELS, you should definitely purchase some big 5 Gamakatsu hooks.
--> NEVER close the reel before your sinker hits the bottom. Let the line go out until your weight hits the bottom. You will feel it - a "tac," and your line will go slack. If you don't, you bait will fall within a certain angle instead of 90 degrees (vertically), meaning that the bait will "come back" a little bit of distance.
--> ALWAYS reel in a little bit of line after your weight sinks all the way down. This will make sure that you have no snags, and your rig is straight (and not tangled). Also, because your line will be straight, your hookset chance dramatically increases! After all, the tension applied at the time the fish bites is better when there's no slack line.
--> ALWAYS keep an eye for small bites. It could be an Eel. If it's an American Eel, your chances of getting a snag just increased dramatically. This type of fish will drag your hook into their "houses," often under structure. As soon as you detect a small bite, and think it's not a Catfish, you should reel your line slightly!

Alrighty! Now you are good to go. You have learned:

--> Where to find them (locations)
--> What bait to use
--> How to set up your equipment
--> How do they behave

I'll leave the rest to you, since this is not everything! After all, it's a 101, right? Hah. There are still the tides and the moon, safely releasing the fish, hooking the bait in an appropriate wait, hints and tips, and so on...There's always more to learn, isn't it?

Below are pictures of recent Channel Catfish. Fish ranges from 1lb-6lbs. Enjoy!

June 24th, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

June 24th, Nadir G., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

June 24th, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

June 24th, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Locust and Walnut.

June 28th, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

June 29th, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust.

July 5th, Cooper River Lake - NJ (at Haddonfield).

July 6th, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

July 9th, Olye K., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust.

July 9th, Olye K., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust.

August 2nd, Mike B., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

August 2nd, Mike B., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

July 21st, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust.

July 12th, Jay D., Schuylkill River at Race st.

August 4th, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (1:19 p.m.)

August 4th, Jay D. and his Cousin, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (3:04 p.m.)

August 4th, Jay D. and his Mother, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (3:11 p.m.)

August 4th, Jay D. and his Mother, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (3:43 p.m.)

July 15th, Cooper River Lake - NJ.
July 15th, Cooper River Lake - NJ.

July 21st, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (12:44 p.m.)

July 21st, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (1:01 p.m.)

July 21st, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (3:00 p.m.)

July 21st, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust (3:36 p.m.)

July 22nd, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust.

July 22nd, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust.

July 22nd, Eamon, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust.

July 23rd, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Chestnut.

July 23rd, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Chestnut and Walnut.

July 25th, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (2:15 p.m.)

July 25th, Jay D. and Leo S., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust (2:50 p.m.)

July 25th, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (3:15 p.m.)

July 25th, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (4:24 p.m.)

July 25th, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (5:59 p.m.)

July 27th, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (10:09 p.m.)

July 28th, Jay D., Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (12:10 a.m.)

July 28th, Jay D. and Leo S, Schuylkill River between Walnut and Locust. (12:48 a.m.)

July 29th, Haddon Lake.

July 11th, Rob Z., Schuylkill River at Race st.

July 30th, Mike H., Schuylkill River at Fairmount Dam. (caught on a lure)

July 27th, Mike H., Schuylkill River at Fairmount Dam. (caught on a lure)

Best of luck for all of us, guys!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,

Sincerely,

Leo S.