Preserving our Waters - The Path of Oligarchy or the Path of Democracy?

Hello, ladies and gentlemen!
It's been quite a while, huh? I hope everyone is doing well, and fishing A LOT! Heh. I've been quite busy with college lately, but I've been creating time on the side for the Blog and Facebook Page. Therefore, rest assured: there will be new info coming in regularly, or at least 2-3 posts every month!
Today, I'm bringing you a post on a very serious and "touchy" subject that every fisherman is concerned about: "Spot Burning." Also, I'm finally writing a post on the GOALS of my fishing Blog and Facebook Page. I recommend all readers to read this post from beginning till end, without skipping passages. After all, both subjects cover so many aspects of human life - it's definitely not just related to fishing. I'll leave this fun reading at your leisure, though! Heh.
If you are not familiar with this term (I don't expect all readers to be anglers here), Spot Burning is basically the act of revealing specific fishing locations to a certain public. After reading the previous sentence, I hope you guys realized that a spot can only be burned if it "belongs" to a certain group of people (i.e. locals, peers, etc), or else, Spot Burning would lose its definition. Note that I quoted the word belongs because a PUBLIC spot does not belong to anyone but the city; thus, it is fair and legal to say that a spot can and should be accessed by all who find it. In this post, I'll focus more on the aspect of "guarding spots" than "spot burning," hence one is the consequence of the other. In other words, I'll focus primarily on the action instead of the reaction, hence guarding spots is what created the concept of "Spot Burning." From a reader's perspective, fisherman or not, one may think: "What are the benefits of guarding a spot from other fishermen?; Why do anglers guard spots?; Should people guard their spots instead of sharing to fellow anglers?" 
Although I'm tempting you to answer these questions RIGHT NOW, I ask you to hold the answers in your head! I ask you to read this whole post first, think about its contents, and then answer these questions accordingly. Fisherman or not, one's opinion is certainly important to the whole (Durkheim's Functionalism right here!), and I'm exposing my points of view about this sensitive subject here with the objective of formally introducing the Blog's "goals." I realize that I've never formally created a post about "what the Blog is about," and thought it would be WONDERFUL to merge my goals and ideals with this touchy subject that a few face straight-forward. 
To tell you the truth, readers, this post is also about defending my ideals in terms of environmental conservation. Since the beginning - the creation of the Blog, some have been criticizing me for identifying specific spots that were not well known to the public. The main arguments were that people would start to frequent those spots more often and eventually destroy the environment by littering, increase fishing pressure, harvesting fish (overharvesting, illegal harvest), etc. (Note: This is one reason for me to relate Environmental Conservation with the action of Guarding Spots, as you may see it later in this post.) As for lately, however, a dear friend of mine criticized me for this same reason - that was it. Without seconds doubts, I've decided to publish a post on this chaotic topic, preventing similar future incidents to happen. In other words, I want people to clearly know WHY am I doing what I do, and WHERE I want to get with it. I don't judge people without knowing them first, and I expect people to not judge me without knowing my ethics. Also, I expect people to respect me and my opinions as much as I respect theirs. After reading the rest of this post, I'll welcome all to judge me for my ideals and future goals. Hey...feel free to send me an e-mail if you want to be part of this discussion, or just send feedback:
First, I've sent out e-mails to a little circle of friends about this little discussion. I wanted to know their opinions about this sensitive subject, and also about the Blog in terms of "propagating information." I've gotten wonderful responses back, and I will ctrl+c ctrl+v (copy and paste) Jay's response to my e-mail here because I think his e-mail exemplifies the action of guarding spots, and identifies almost perfectly with the objectives of this Blog. It's a nice review for what I'm going to write:
"Spot Burning
Wow. Where to begin? I won't define it, because we all know what it is. It has always existed, but now more so due to the Internet. This drives me crazy along with so many other things about fishing. In a perfect World, all fisherman would understand the fragile ecosystem that they are taking part in by dropping a line in the water. They would realize that they are affecting the actual environment around them, as well as the enjoyment of any fisherman who happens to fish that same spot in the future. They would realize that leaving their trash near where they fish is counter intuitive. They would realize that it is dangerous to eat fish caught in contaminated waters. They would understand how important it is to follow the law, and not exceed limits. They would realize that the money they pay for a fishing license, which is very small, I might add, will be invested back into the waters that they get their very enjoyment from.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect World, and the majority of fisherman never think about these things and the consequences they have on all fisherman. So, for the few fisherman that do 
understand that we need to preserve our fisheries, they tend to keep the best fishing spots to themselves. Now, I understand this. I really do! Who wants "yahoos" going to a great spot you found, leaving their trash there, keeping every fish they catch, and practicing bad fishing habits in general? Not me. 
But that is when Leo's blog comes in. See - one way to address the problem that I've talked about in the first paragraph is to keep all your spots, techniques, baits, lures, all to yourself. That's ensuring that no irresponsible fishermen can ruin the fishing spot for others. I believe, and I think Leo agrees with me, that the best way to stop the irresponsible fishing practices of others is to educate. I don't think these irresponsible fishermen are evil people who are aware they are destroying the environment. I think they are just ignorant, and need to be educated. That's what Leo's blog and Facebook page do, and that's what I do when I see fishermen while I am out there. Educate, educate, educate. I think we do a pretty good job too.
If we could just educate our fellow fishermen about how to fish responsibly, and show them why it is so important to do so, spot burning would never be an issue. We would all be enjoying the same great spots, practicing catch and release, keeping the area clean, and ensuring a great time of fishing for future fishermen.

Now, again, I am aware that we do not live in a perfect World. However, I do feel, based on comments that I've read, and fishermen Leo has introduced to me, that we have a pretty good group of guys 
following the Blog and Facebook Page. Most of them have been willing to listen to what we have to teach, and begun to implement it themselves. The entire point is: we are not just throwing our favorite fishing spots on the Internet "willy nilly" for any and all to see. They are going on a Blog, and a dedicated Facebook Page. Are there some 
irresponsible fisherman getting their info from us? I'm sure there are a few. But most who frequent Leo's blog are fairly new to fishing, and just thirsty for knowledge.

As I said above, education is paramount, but we can't even get to that point without PARTICIPATION. And that is where Leo really stands out. His blog has an amazing collection of techniques, tips, 
tricks, and everything you would need to know before trying fishing for the first time. If new fisherman are constantly getting skunked, using the wrong techniques, or fishing in places that don't contain many fish, it can be very discouraging. If it is too discouraging, the new fisherman may quit fishing, and now you just lost a possible steward for life. The more of us out there fishing and educating, the better the fishing will be for everyone involved. Some things just have to be shared with others so that we can all enjoy it. In a way, keeping your spots secret is almost as bad as over harvesting a particular body of water. Whether you are diminishing some one's enjoyment by removing the fish, or keeping a fun spot secret, you are diminishing another fisherman's enjoyment.  And that fisherman might have just been someone who can help us educate others and improve the fishing for all. I know it's complicated, but I truly think that keeping fishing spots secret hurts all fisherman in the long run."  
Please, a salve d'applaudissements for this exceptional and beautiful composition. Jay certainly got the essence of what this Blog is about, and what is the solution for tomorrow's better environment: Education.
Alrighty...this is where I'll start my post for today: "Preserving our Waters - The Path of Oligarchy or
the Path of Democracy?
Ladies and Gentlemen - be prepared to read something new and amazing about this [Guarding Spots] topic that has been going on for a while! One may have encountered tons of discussions about this topic in fishing forums, websites, or even among peers; however, I can assure you that you have never seen an essay that breaks this topic down to its core. After reading it, one will realize that THIS is not just about fishing - it's about the World we live in and the way we think. I am daring to write on this subject, indeed, mainly because my ideals will never flourish while the concept of "guarding spots" stays around.
Okay! Let's start...time for some formal and informal writing! =)
Okay. So, you have read a lot about this topic already. What are some of the questions you may have in your head? On a first impression, most non-angler readers ask themselves: "Why is this such a big deal? Why make a fuss over it? Isn't this just about some fishermen greedily fighting over some spots?" I've gotten many comments like these in the past, mainly from people that do not fish. My prime answer is: this is not just about fishing; it's rather a big scheme: it's about humanity's psychological behavior, not to mention the sustainability of our World. I know it sounds crazy as for now, but you will be able to understand it a little bit better after reading this entire post.

In order to understand how we can get from guarding spots and educating people to the behavior of the human soul and the sustainability of the World, one should start by reading about the history of this sport and the dramatic changes that occurred to the environment since ancient times. After all, it's good to know where all of this came from, isn't it? For now, these are the three concepts you need to grasp to fully understand the extent of the problem we face nowadays:

- You need to know where and when in time the concept of guarding spots started, and why.
- You need to know what sustainability is. Is our World sustainable at the moment?
- You need to know that environmental conservation is a modern idea.

Maybe after reading this portion of the post, one will be able to realize that people shape the sport of fishing, and fishing consequently shape the lives of fishermen. I'll briefly introduce you to the ancient and modern World of fishing, hence I've read so much about it since I was young!

PART I - About Education and Guarding Spots
1. The History of Fishing and the Sustainability of the World.
The development of fishing as a sport is a fascinating curve throughout the history of human kind. It started from the basic human need to feed oneself and family, but it certainly did not end there. A complex and demanding sport evolved from the respect for fish, and the need to understand and work with their unique natures and habits.
Some may think that fishing as a sport originated in the modern times, but that's a wrong assumption. fishing started with the objectives of gathering food for human consumption, but sport-fishing was present since ancient times. From the day fishing began, it has always been about humans trying to outwit fishes. This fascination for conquering fish has been going on for more than centuries, not to mention the challenges of conquering nature, among many other uncontrollable elements in the sport. It's this passion that continues to absorb huge amounts of people into this wonderful sport that is called fishing.    
Even before the production of hooks, humans already challenged fishes by creating "gorges" - pieces of stone, bone, or wood that were sharpened at both ends and attached to a line, covered with a certain type of bait, and thrown into the water. The gorge would violently become wedged inside the fish's mouth, and the fisherman would finally be able to bring in its catch. If you were to give a guess of how long ago this happened, what would you answer? For your surprise, gorges were being created even 30.000 years back from now! Then, human beings were able to learn metal manipulation, and so forth came the hook. The first documented hook was found and analyzed to have been created around that time frame - 30.000 years ago, around the actual southern Europe. For our surprise, rods, lines, and even nets were used as far back as 2000 BCE! Evidence can be found in Roman, Jewish, Greek, and Egyptian scripts, writings, and paintings. Isn't that awesome?
Even more awesome - nobody knows exactly when humankind realized that putting feathers on hooks could actually imitate flies, but references to fly-fishing have been found as far back as 200 CE! Guys...that's a long time ago for fly-fishing. During the times of the Roman Empire, Claudius Aelianus wrote a book called "On the Nature of Animals," which described people fishing with flies in a Macedonian River for Trout! It was around this time that the "dapping" technique was revealed, hence their rods were short and unable to cast the fly far away. 
After a while, people soon started to create hand lines from animal and vegetable materials. By attaching these lines to branches (usually shorter than a meter), the first fishing rods were created in the history of humankind. Around 400 CE, longer and jointed rods were created - the same style we use nowadays.
As Ancient fishing passed, fishing became more and more of a sport. The early sport-fishing happened mainly during the early 13th century in England, where people were fly-fishing for Trout and Graylings. Just for you guys to have an idea, upper classmen in England were already fly-fishing when Brazil was first discovered in 1492.

The first fishing book written by a woman came out just during this time frame: "The second edition of the Book of St. Albans," portraying specific fishing techniques and fly patterns by Dame Juliana Berner. She observed that fishes ate different types of flies according to different seasons, laying out descriptions of a fly pattern for every month of the year. Isn't that amazing? Empirical data dating back to the 1500's, and a huge portion of people nowadays have long forgotten that field experience can overcome the rules by the books.
The first real sport-fishing book was written by Izaak Walton in 1652 - "The Compleat Angler." In this golden book, Walton introduced the empirical approach of fishing: the habits of different Species of fish, and how to catch them effectively using different types of bait. This is certainly a classic of angling literature, and every fisherman in the World should take a look at it at one point in their lives. 
Past that point, came the creation of modern hooks and reels, modern rods, etc. It's basically fishing as we "know" today.
The point of showing you readers this portion of the post is to inform you that fishing is a sport that has been practiced since ancient times. Since 30.000 years ago, humans started to harvest fish without any regulations or laws - they started to take from mother nature without thinking about the consequences of taking fish. As a result, the environment started to break down little by little. Without environmental conservation in mind, can you imagine how many fish have been harvested since then? More importantly, were fish able to always "repopulate" for their losses in terms of numbers? I'm sure the answer for the second question is "Yes, until some point." The line between a sustainable and non-sustainable aquatic environment was crossed when the number of fisherman started to increase more and more, and technology and human wisdom advanced through science. 
If you think from this perspective, it's very easy to make an analogy of fish/fisherman with food/human beings. Using a Malthusian example (related to Thomas Malthus) of the carrying capacity of the Earth, one can say that humans grow exponentially while food grows linearly. Mathematically speaking, exponential grows much faster than linear quantities; therefore, this means that if the population keeps increasing, the amounts of food will not nearly be enough for the amounts of people living on Earth. The same example can be applied for fishermen and fishes because the catching ratio and fish reproduction ratio are far-off in terms of time: humans can catch much more fishes in a certain period of time than fishes can reproduce to give lives to new fish.
It's on these terms that "Guarding Spots" first originated. After all, it's a common sense to say that if fishing was good everywhere, nobody would have to save special fishing spots. As the sustainability of the World decreases, fishes are becoming more and more scarce. 

Then, why didn't human beings preserve nature? This answer is quite complicated! If there's a fatal flaw in the human soul, it's the flaw of "regret." People did not preserve nature at that time because they didn't feel like it was needed. They couldn't really visualize the long run consequences of their actions. Human life is so short that sometimes we can't really visualize the chronic effects of our actions. That's when the "regret" part comes in. How many times have I heard "I should have spent more time with him/her;" "I could have prevented it;" etc? Many times. Why? The reason is simple: we will only know how valuable something is after we regret it. The worst part is: by the time we regret it, it's too late. Humans learn with mistakes; humans progress with mistakes. Without mistakes, is there really progress?

I'm not going to get too philosophical here, but I want to point out that our situation nowadays is the result of the actions of our great great...great forefathers. Therefore, this lack of sustainability is definitely not something that started yesterday, a week before, or even centuries before. It all started a long time ago, and we are suffering from it. That's when the educational approach pumps in! I could go on forever and ever about David Hume and his theory of human causality, but I'll just say that humanity has learned through bad ways that preventing is a key to many problems. Therefore, we have the modern idea of environmental conservation - the idea that the environment needs to be protected at all costs, so the World can survive longer.

So, now you know the truth: The World is not sustainable, and so it's our waters. We face many dangers nowadays, and if we don't do anything about freshwater, not only fishing will cease, but life as well (we all need water to drink)! Now you know the history of fishing, the definition of sustainability, when the concept of guarding spots started to appear, and why our ancestors did not apply the idea of environmental conservation.

 Now that you know the basics, we can start talking about the solutions for a better aquatic environment. 
2. Why is Education the right approach for a better environment?
Knowledge is the key for a good life! Let's not talk about environment alone, but about LIFE. Education is a fundamental aspect of life! How can we be able to survive without proper education? I think one can look at society nowadays, and be able to understand why we have so many of the problems we have these days: lack of education. Educating people in terms of etiquette and manners promote changes as a whole. An educated population will raise society's statuses, creating a better and safer environment for oneself and others. Think it this way: If you weren't educated to read, write, and speak, how much information would you be able to absorb? You would be missing out, wouldn't you? You would NEVER be able to understand the contents of this post. That's why education is SO important. 

Let's related it to fishing now. When it comes to fishing, an educated fisherman that loves the sport knows what is right and what is wrong to do. He knows that there's a consequence for every bad action performed. Once educated, he is able to make proper decisions that will eventually aid himself, others, and the community as well. That angler will set an example for others and future generations, learn to love nature and wildlife (if the person really loves fishing, it will eventually happen), respect oneself and others around, and so on. I can say this with confidence because I'm a product of it.
Education in environmental conservation creates respectful individuals (stewards) that will follow rules, and respect forms of life and nature. Jay cited that on his e-mail, and I couldn't agree more. Education is the base for EVERYTHING, and nothing can be captured by the human mind without having proper tools to perform the job. 

Everyone is entitled to pursue knowledge, as knowledge should be free. It's sad to see how society has shifted in terms of education (Just one example: public, private - different levels of teaching quality), but there are still free sources out there. The Internet is certainly a good tool for it, and the Blog is here to emphasize that there are still people out there willing to educate and inform at no costs whatsoever. The Blog deals on the equality and fairness of all, it deals on knowledge for those who seek it, so those can turn that knowledge into wisdom. 

Therefore, I'll close this portion of the post with a very powerful word: "Sapientia." In other words: "Wisdom." The Blog focuses on giving knowledge to those who seek it, and there's a big difference between knowledge and wisdom.

3. Why Guarding Spots is not the right approach for a better environment?

I like to make the analogy of Guarding Spots with Oligarchy, and Education with Democracy (Thanks, S.B.). Thus, the name of this post. For those who are not familiar with the definition of the word Oligarchy, it is "a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who pass their influence from one generation to the next." As for Democracy, it's basically our system nowadays. Viva la revolucion! Heh, just joking.

Guarding a certain spot and having that spot for oneself or a small group of people is certainly Oligarchy. One could argue that guarding spots can be environmental friendly, since the person is restricting access to people who are environmentally ignorant (among others). However, even if the argument is plausible, all this would do is delay environmental destruction, hence this approach does not focus on informing/teaching people about environmental conservation.

Is this what we really want? This approach does not only not give a solid solution, but it's also bad propaganda for fishing as a sport. After all, one can think: "are fishermen selfish for guarding spots?" I'll refrain myself from expressing my opinion on this question, but I'll leave this question for you - reader - to think about. It's good to notice that this approach also doesn't focus on union or progress. Emphasizing: It's simply a provisory (if not selfish?) action that delays the problems that we have nowadays.  

Note: I remember watching a video once about race inside a certain community, where African Americans started to move in and White Americans started to move out. When the reporter asked the lady about the reason she was moving out, she said: "I no longer feel safe in this community." Then, the reporter followed: "Have you ever been assaulted or threatened here?" Her answer was short and simple: "No." Followingly, the reporter told her many interesting facts that proved the "white rumors" inside the community wrong: the educational system inside the community was still the same after African Americans moved in, the crime rate did not increase, and yet she moved out of there. Now, I know I'm talking about race over here, but I ask you - reader: is this the solution for racial problems in this country? Can this example be compared somehow with this post? Plus, this is something for you to think about: what is the proper solution? 

This example above is to show you that this concept of guarding spots is not just related to fishing, but also related to the human mind. It's good for us to realize that one aspect of our mentality can be applied to many different areas of our lives. Think about it.'s good to note that Oligarchy has never solved any of our problems in the past, or the problems of many around the World. The system was often dragged into the small groups' needs, and people just got tired of it. No wonder we don't use the oligarchical system anymore. I'm not saying that Democracy is solving anything, but I can certainly say that democracy is the most plausible form of system to promote union and changes in the society. 

Again - Education is the key for a better environment, and this Blog and Facebook page will never agree with the idea of guarding spots. If stewardship is promoted, the concept of burning spots will no longer exist because anglers will learn how to share among each other, and educate those who commit flaws when it comes to the sport or the environment.

4. On fishing pressure: is it good or bad?

Another argument that I've heard a lot from people that guard spots is "Fishing Pressure." Most of them say it's a bad thing, and most of them agree that an environment that has low fishing pressure has better catching ratios while a body of water that is heavily fished has very poor catching ratios. Scientifically speaking, this turns out to be TRUE. One may ask: "Why?" Well...I'm going to give you guys the GOLDEN answer (based on sciences and studies). Before I do that, let me state that a lot of people tend to confuse the consequences of  FISHING PRESSURE with the consequences of HARVESTING, which are two very different types of consequence.

The consequences of fishing pressure, scientifically speaking, are GOOD for the fish and challenging for the fisherman. The consequences of harvesting fish, scientifically speaking, are BAD for both of them (the fish is killed - ugh, and we have less fish to catch).

Are you guys ready for a lesson on fish behavior and evolution? Hah. I hope so!

So, the golden question is: "Why is fishing pressure good for fishing?" And the GOLDEN answer is: fishes can adapt and evolve! I know it's hard to believe, but it's scientifically proven. I'll give you a little something to think about:

Imagine that you were eating a sandwich at a restaurant one day. Suddenly, after a bite, you find yourself hooked with a gigantic silver metallic object that you have never seen before, but gives you enough pain as it pierces your flesh! Then, you suddenly realize that the metallic object is attached to some kind of flexible material that you hadn't noticed before. You are dragged by it out of the restaurant, into the sky - you can no longer feel the soil, and the weight of your body makes the metallic object apply even more pressure on your pierced flesh. It drags you out of the atmosphere, and into the space! Upon lack of oxygen and increased pressure, you feel your body suffering from excruciating pain - you can't breathe! However, even with the pain, you are still able to see, and you see something that YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE - SOMETHING THAT IS UNKNOWN TO HUMAN KIND! After experiencing such, whatever dragged you out of Earth puts you back in Earth. Suddenly, you can breathe again - the psychological and physical pain are still there, but you are in shock due to the new knowledge that you have gained. This is something that you may forget in the future, but the depths of your mind won't.

This example reminded me of the Aerosmith music (Girls on Summer, end of video). Hah. Wow...that was pretty wild, wasn't it? Not realistic at all! But guess what, guys? Well, guys...that's exactly what happens to the fish, isn't it? They get out of the water only to find that everything is blue, and they can't breathe. They find out that there's a whole new universe outside their own, and they go back into the water (considering that you released it) with a certain amount of knowledge that other fish may not have.

It's with that amount of knowledge that fish instincts' EVOLVE. Wouldn't it be the same for us? How would you react if you saw that sandwich again, huh? I bet you would NEVER eat it again! How about next time you look up at the sky, trying to see if that "invisible" flexible material is somewhere around? Fishes do the same thing! It may take them once, twice, or even three times the experience, but they get smarter every time they are released.

Take Largemouth Bass in consideration: they are very finicky about lures, and they will very likely not hit a lure that is heavily used in a certain body of water (unless they are hungry! Heh This is one of the weaknesses). Somehow, they suspect that something is just not right. Another example: Common Carps that have been caught and released multiple times will not eat your bait if they can see the hook, or even the thick line or sinker around it. These are facts of fish evolution, guys!

That's why I said that the consequences of fishing pressure and harvesting are very different. If catch and release is performed, a high fishing pressure will positively make the fish evolve, creating a more difficult and challenging environment for fisherman to catch fish ("From the day fishing began, it has always been about humans trying to outwit fishes...").

Therefore, if more and more stewards are created, we don't have to worry about fishing pressure being a bad thing. As far as we catch and release, and treat fish with utmost care (use a net, leave them out of the water for as short as possible, etc), the battle will be there! Fish will be smarter, and we will have to get smarter to catch them.

If fish are harvested, though...then, one can forget everything about this evolutionary theory. The evolution ends there with death. However, once again: the effects of fishing pressure are not to be confused with the consequences of harvesting fish.

And seriously, guys? If I knew I would be put back on Earth, from a humane perspective, I would withstand the pain and gladly be dragged out of the Earth to see the "unknown." I'm a scientist at heart, after all...

From all this information, I'm pretty sure you can draw your own conclusions on this topic of Education Vs. Guarding Spots. From now onwards, I'll focus a little bit more on the "goals" of this Blog - why have I created it, and where do I want to go with it.

PART II - About the Blog and its Objectives

5. On the propagation of information

Some have been criticizing the Blog since it was created, asking me to not reveal specific locations or refrain myself from revealing certain types of information.

I'll remind everyone here that I have rights just as everyone else does, and it's through my free will that I propagate information on this Blog and the Facebook Page. Freedom of speech. I'll emphasize here that all spots that I specifically introduce are public, and it's my right to decide if I want to share these public spots with others or not. Since I'm a believer of education over everything else, I'm more than willing to share all of them!

I'm a scientist at heart: I collect data using the empirical approach, and I expose them to all. What happens with that information is out of my control. If people want to use it in good or bad ways, that's something that I cannot control. I can only wish that it's used in good ways, and I do more than just wishing: I emphasize all the time about catching and releasing, maintaining clean environments, practicing selective harvest, and so on. In other words, I promote fishing as positively as possible. Like Jay says in his e-mail, I don't propagate information to become rich or famous - I do it for good causes: promote fishing as a healthy and good sport; promote stewardship and environmental conservation; educating people about many things in life; and so on.

It's free, guys. What do I have to gain by spending all this time on this? I clearly do this because I love fishing as an sport - it's a passion, a hobbie, and I want others to experience similar wonderful experiences that I had in the past. I believe that the World can be a better place, and so can be fishing!  

6. Is it all about fishing? 

Certainly not! "Fishing is a deeper immersion in life," guys. The Blog and the Facebook Page are mainly focused on fishing, but the goal here is to create a better society and environment for us and future generations to come. For example:

Economically speaking...

The Blog promotes fishing and stewardship, which motivates more people to follow laws and do what is right. People start to purchase fishing licenses, fishing gear, etc. This increases the state's budget when it comes to fishing, which is money that SHOULD be spent back on us. Fishermen are always complaining about the lack of law enforcement from the Game Warden, but how can we expect to have proper law enforcement without giving funds to the state? If they had enough funds and still did a poor job, then, it would be a whole different story.

Politically speaking...

The educational approach that the Blog offers promotes union and progress. I believe that educated people will fight for what they love. When hardships show up on the path of fishing, I expect conscious fishermen to stand up and act to protect/enforce their ideals. So, one of the Blog's objective is to create conscious fisherman who will be active within their communities, and fight for fairness and justice. The Blog is saying: "Hey...if you notice that there's something wrong, or something is lacking somewhere, you should act." Let's not forget that WE ARE THE ONES sustaining this whole business that is fishing! We are the ones buying expensive equipment, blah blah blah... Therefore, we have the rights and we should have the guts to do our little revolutions for what we think is right, or what we think should change.

Sociologically and Psychologically speaking...

Fishing is certainly a sport that trains both body and mind. Not only that, fishing is often socializing! Fishing with family, friends, neighbors...this is, indeed, socialization! Isn't this beautiful, guys? We may not know each other at heart, but we are all united by one aspect of our lives: we love fishing. If you guys are updated on the Blog, and read about the FishAThon, you will know that this event was all about this! In a single day, teams around the country united to help the environment by fishing 24 hours straight. I didn't know them at all, but I knew this: we all loved fishing, and we were all fighting for the same cause. 

These are only a couple aspects that the Blog has to offer. Since the beginning of this post, I've been emphasizing that it's not all about fishing. Heh.

7. What about the Law?

One of the reasons for creating the Blog was to gather conscious fishermen in Philadelphia."Why?," one would ask. Simple: besides sharing information about the sport and socializing, we cannot depend only on the government or the law to fix all the problems we have. As a matter of fact, I'm very open to say that the quality of law enforcement that the Boat and Commission offers is really really bad. I've seen enough illegal stuff going on around me (often I try to deal with it myself), and I've rarely seen the Game Warden there when the illegal stuff is going on. 

That's why WE MUST ACT! That's why we must remain strong, educate more and more and more about the ethics of environmental conservation and conscious fishing, and never give up (being Mike Iaconelli now! YEAH!). Unity is the key to promote progress, and the Blog and Facebook Page were create to do that. United we stand, people! We can bring great changes if we want to, changes that we often can't do alone.

8. Is the Blog and the Facebook Page a plausible solution for a better environment? 

I'll leave this part of the post for you to fill in. After all the things you have read so far, I'm sure you have an opinion about me and my ethics when it comes to fishing and life. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post: "After reading the rest of this post, I'll welcome all to judge me for my ideals and future goals. Hey...feel free to send me an e-mail if you want to be part of this discussion, or just send feedback: " There we go! Now you know all about it.

Is education really a plausible solution? Yes, it's. However, as much as we want to believe in a better World, ideas are very different than actions. We talk about constant ideas to change the World, but performing them is a whole different idea! How effective this solution will be depends on the amount of people's participation, and their willingness to do so. 

The Blog and the Facebook Page will be here to always remind you that there's hope for our World to become sustainable, and there's hope for our waters to become sustainable. For the World, many sacrifices will have to be made to attain sustainability - one would be naive enough to think that there's hope for the union of the human race. Well, call me naive then. Heh. Better to believe in it than being hopeless on the subject. Pandora's box, guys.

As for our waters, I'll continue to believe that education is the key.

Thank you for your time, guys! Thank you for your patience, and for following the Blog and the Facebook Page. I couldn't have done what I did so far without all of you - after all, what would be the Blog and the Page without readers to access it? Am I correct? Heh.

Let's move with the fight! Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

About the FishAThon and our 24-Hour Fishing Session

Hello, guys!

It's been a while, huh? Certainly has. College has started, and classes are killing me already. However, I'll always find a little bit of time to bring you updates. I'm apologizing in advance if updates are delayed, but I'm guaranteeing the fact that they will be here.

OKAY. Now, let's talk about the FishAThon, and a little bit about the Blog (among other things)!  For those who are not familiar yet with this event, feel free to click here to read more about the wonderful organization that put everything together, or feel free to click here or here to read more about this event on the Blog.

Team Extreme Philly Fishing rocked on the Schuylkill Banks during this past weekend (7p.m., Friday to Saturday - 24 hours), getting more than 500 fishes on the site. Isn't that amazing?! 500 fishes in 24 hours? Personally, I find that incredible! When I think about it, it's been quite a while since I started fishing in Philadelphia. The Schuylkill River, particularly, is certainly a treasure in the middle of our city.

I remember the first time I ever thought of fishing on the Schuylkill River: I passed by Spring Garden on my way to work, and found a gentleman throwing a whole live nightcrawler into the River, kind of practicing a cast and retrieve style. As I watched him fish, I remembered all the wonderful times I had spent fishing in Brazil with my father - all the wonderful weekends that we spent outside. Those were wonderful times, people...wonderful times! At that precise moment, while I was wondering about the past, a fish jumped, creating a huge splash on top of the water. That was when my eyes shone and a smile came by. The first question that came to my mind was: "What kind of monstrous fish was that?" At that moment, I realized that my passion for fishing was still hidden deep inside my mind.

After that, it was all fun! I bought some light gear (I started with small cheap rods, 6-10lb monofilament, and nightcrawlers) and tried the River. I caught my first Channel Catfish, my first Bluegill, my first White Perch, and so on. With time, my dedication for fishing increased - I started reading books and magazines about fishing in Philadelphia, and came to realize that there were so many wonderful Species that I had never seen in my life, so many exciting places that I could fish at! I used Septa to explore the city, and I was never afraid of dropping a line inside a puddle of water to test my luck and my skills. Urban fishing, people - that's a fishing style.

I found numerous new locations for fishing, made new fishing friends, and, of course, I learned a lot about the sport and the environment (many thanks to my old environmental conservation Professor: C. Murphy.). I started a small fishing community to exchange ideas and socialize (Nadir has been with me ever since), a fishing blog to promote the sport (that's how I met Mike H, Rob Z, and Jay D.), and recently started a page on Facebook. Unexpectedly, I suddenly had a fishing Team, and I was registered for the 24-hour FishAThon.

Little by little, I improved. And, the beautiful truth is: I'm still improving. We are all improving. Such is the beauty of ongoing processes in life: living, learning, teaching, and so on. If you downloaded my video, you can definitely associate this paragraph with some quotes on it.  

Time passes fast, isn't it, guys? Close your eyes for a moment, and think about your past - when was the last time you smiled with extreme joy? Heh. Well...And as time passes, we move on with the World... (As Stephen King would say.)

Anyways...500+ fishes is a big deal, people! Our goal for the FishAThon was to catch 400 fishes in 24 hours, and our results were beyond our expectations - we finished the competition with 507 fishes. Who would ever think that the Schuylkill River, once referred as the city's "sewer," located at the heart of the city of Philadelphia - PA, could have so much fish? Even Jay said in his interview for the FishAThon that he drove there his entire life, and never thought there were fish present in the River. And the sad fact is: nowadays, there is still a huge portion of Philadelphians that are ignorant about the fact that the Schuylkill River is a good fishery, if not the best in THE CITY!
White Perch, Channel Catfish, Spot Croakers, Bluegills, Pumpkin Seeds, American Eels, Striped Bass, Brown Bullhead, American Shad, Yellow Perch, and even a rare adult Rock Bass - all those were among the Species we caught during 24 hours! Isn't that impressive? I've mentioned in a post before that the Schuylkill River holds more than 50 Species of fish. Well...I wasn't lying! Haha. That's 11 Species of fish right there, caught all on nightcrawlers at a same portion of the River (between Walnut and Locust). Are you convinced yet that the Schuylkill River is a mighty fishery? The Schuylkill River is famous in so many different areas (i.e. Rowing); therefore, why is it not famous yet for its fish diversity? 
Imagine if this knowledge spreads out more and more. Would we have more fishermen, more people willing to join us in our good and healthy sport; people with good etiquette and a positive sense and love for nature? I believe that the answer is yes! And if that happened in different places around the globe, would the World be a better place to live? I also believe that the answer is yes. After all, fishing is certainly not just about catching a fish, is it? Going back to the old cliché - "That's why fishing is not called catching." Just as Harry Middleton said one day: "Fishing is not an escape from life, but often a deeper immersion into it." 
Fishing has taught me many things in life, and these lessons are not bounded to fishing alone. I learned to respect wildlife and nature; to be punctual and respectful towards fellow anglers; to be organized towards my own belongings; etc. With these same aspects, I have learned to respect people's feelings and wishes, despite their ethnicity and cultures; I have learned to be punctual and organized when it comes to meetings and important events in life; I have enhanced my hopes for a better society! Fishing definitely enhanced my physical skills, but it gave me an extra boost when it comes to my mind!
You may be wondering why am I mentioning all these, and the answer is quite simple: I truly believe that people can positively change their attitudes and behaviors towards something that they love, that they can improve if they have motivation towards certain goals in life! Wouldn't it be wonderful if more kids started to practice this sport? I think so...
And, of course, I have been putting these out because they are all good reasons for our participation in the FishAThon. The competition was a blast, without a doubt! However, let's not forget that the FishAThon is not just about catching fish. This event is about something else; it's about changing the World. It's about creating a better environment for us, for our fishes, and a better future for mother nature and future generations to come. As you know, Team Extreme Philly Fishing has been doing some extreme fundraising for the city of Philadelphia, and for the country as well!
So far, the Team Extreme Philly Fishing has raised more than $2000 dollars for a good cause. Let me emphasize once again that every single cent of it will go for a good cause, which is a cause that is certainly related to you indirectly (unless you don't consume water! That would be alienwise). 
Teeg Stouffer, Executive Director and Founder of the Recycled Fish non-profit Organization, will be using 50% of our donations for their national projects on Stewardship. They are big on saving our aquatic environment, which is fundamental for a healthy and sustainable World. After all, what would be of us if we didn't have anymore potable water to drink? Hmmm...good point, huh? For more information on it, you can access their website here.
The other 50% of donations will go to a local project of our choice. Team Extreme Philly Fishing decided to join forces with the SRDC (Schuylkill River Development Corporation), which is the same non-profit organization that takes care of the Schuylkill River from the Grays Ferry to the Fairmount Dam portion. We are currently working on a plan to develop "signs" at certain portions of the River with information on fish Species, and fish contamination and consumption.
The fundraising is opened until September 14th; therefore, you still have a chance to donate to our Team for a good cause! If you wish to, you can click here. Also, don't forget to check out the prizes and drawings we are giving away to the good citizens that are donating for our noble cause.
Now you know our reasons for participating in the FishAThon and doing our fund-raising; as well as a little bit about the Schuylkill River and our fishing results. So, I'm going to give you guys a brief summary of our 24-hour fishing session on the Schuylkill!
Team Extreme Philly Fishing - West: Robert Zito, North: James Daly, East: Michael Hsiao, South: Leo Sheng 
This picture was taken Friday, right at the heart of the Schuylkill River - Center City, Philadelphia - PA, after 14 hours fishing straight. Haha.
- Our average for the competition was 1 fish every 11 minutes per person for the entire competition. 
- Nightcrawlers were used the entire time: we went quantity over quality for 3 main reasons: we created our plan by analyzing the score grid for the FishAThon; we wanted to test the River - we challenged ourselves to see how many fish we could get in 24 hours; and some people promised to donate 10 cents for every fish we caught. Hehe
 - None of us slept. Jay and Rob had some coffee, and all 4 of us endured 24 hours.

 - Our trash is attached to Jay's chair. As you may know, the Schuylkill Banks is very clean, since it's managed by the non-profit who will receive 50% of our funds. I think I mentioned that above. So, that's basically our own trash (we always bring a plastic bag) + all the trash we snagged up from the River., let me give you guys a summary of our fishing session by hour:*
*Note that sometimes we saved the fish in aerated buckets for picture sessions. Therefore, the hourly catches are recorded by the amount of pictures we took, and not exactly the amount of fish we caught in that hour. In other words, they are APPROXIMATIONS that will sum to the total of 507.
7-8 p.m.
We started slow. We organized ourselves, unpacked our stuff, and went over the rules for the FishAThon before we started. Mike started with active fishing, trying to get some unusual fish for our cameras. The original plan was to make Mike the "star" - let him catch something gigantic or rare for a nice "Hero Shot," which is basically a photo of the angler holding the fish. Rob, Jay, and I did most of the catching in this first hour. We were blessed with a nice Striped Bass, 2 Bluegill, and 2 White Perch. That's a total of 5 fishes in the first hour, and we were quite down with the slow start! High tide was just over, and we had hopes for good fishing to come.
8-9 p.m.
A lot happened during the second hour! Fishing got better as the tide started to move out, and our variety increased as well. Rob tried some float fishing without success, and we tried different approaches and patterns for different fishes. Jay managed to catch a small Brown Bullhead; Mike managed to catch a Channel Catfish; and I managed to catch my first Spot Croaker of the year. Fishing was still slow, but we also caught a couple White Perch in the process. It was still a little bit boring! We finished with the count of 7 White Perch, 1 Striped Bass, 2 Bluegill, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, and 1 Spot Croaker: 14 fishes by 9 o'clock, 9 fishes caught in an hour. Our hopes were still up for great fishing to come!
9-10 p.m.
Fishing was once again very slow from 9 to 9:30 p.m. We were so bored at a certain point that I started taking pictures of the team for fun. Haha. However, the American Eel started to bite around 9:30, which made us all very happy (at least me!)! Jay and Rob weren't very happy with the Eels because of their slime coat - they get really messy if the person is not experienced in taking them off the hook, but they were happy enough because they were worth 150 points per fish on the FishAThon scoring grid (which is actually VERY NICE). Mike was performing very poorly with his "Still-fishing" skills, and the Team got a little worried. As for 10 p.m., we finished on the count of 9 White Perch, 1 Striped Bass, 2 Bluegills, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 1 Spot Croaker, and 9 American Eels: 25 fishes total, 11 fishes caught in an hour. Although the fishing was slow, I was mentally happy for our catches because the catching ratio was increasing with time. I'm a mathematician...what can I say? Haha.
10-11 p.m.
The White Perch slowed down, and American Eels picked up! We were getting constant bites on the bottom, but we missed a lot of them. I figured right away from the biting style that they were Eels, and they can certainly be very tricky to get hooked. Jay decided to change his set up, putting a float on his line. It was around 11 p.m. that Jay got the RAREST fish among our final count of 507 - an adult Rock Bass on a float! It measured 8.5 inches on the FishAThon measuring board, and it was ABSOLUTELY a beauty! In my entire fishing experience here in urban Philadelphia, I had never seen a Rock Bass as big as this one. At 11 p.m., we finished on the count of 10 White Perch, 1 Striped Bass, 2 Bluegills, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 1 Spot Croaker, 24 American Eels, and 1 Rock Bass: a total of 42 fishes, 17 fishes caught in an hour. The catching ratio was still increasing! And...Mike was still doing poorly in the still-fishing: "I can't connect with the fish."
11-12 a.m.
The bite slowed down from 11 to 12 a.m. The White Perch disappeared! American Eels were still the main attraction, and I managed to get another little Striped Bass for our collection! I told Jay: "Watch this, Jay. I'll catch a Striped Bass by suspending my bait." 10 seconds after the bait was in, BOOM - a Striped Bass came up. At this portion of the FishAThon, we were still pretty active and focused on our fishing. Fatigue hadn't kicked in yet, and we were saving our energy for day time. I made sure to tell the Team: "Save your energy for tomorrow morning and afternoon, when the bite will get hot." Also, Rob got his first Spot Croaker of a lifetime around 12 a.m.! Congrats, Rob! New Species for the collection! At 12 a.m., we finished on the count of 10 White Perch, 2 Striped Bass, 2 Bluegills, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 3 Spot Croaker, 33 American Eels, and 1 Rock Bass: a total of 54 fishes, 12 fishes caught in an hour. The ratio went down... =( Anddddd...Mike was still performing poorly at still-fishing: "How do you guys do this? I'm not getting any bites!"
12-1 a.m.
Another school of White Perch passed by, and they decided to stay for a while! The bite became consistent for a little bit, giving us a lot of fun during this portion of the night. Rob and Jay were still getting used to the tricky "nibbling" habit of the White Perch; therefore, they were missing a lot of bites and bait. Jay's friend showed up at a certain time, and brought us some muffins, orange juice, and bananas! That was great - thank you! At 1 a.m., we finished on the count of 34 White Perch, 2 Striped Bass, 2 Bluegills, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 7 Spot Croaker, 38 American Eels, and 1 Rock Bass: a total of 87 fishes, 33 fishes caught in an hour. Mike finally was able to catch a White Perch, and he improved a little bit in terms of passive fishing. Way to go, Mike!
1-2 a.m.
The school of White Perch passed, leaving only some hungry ones behind. The bite slowed down once again, and fatigue started to kick in. Without noticing much, we started to yawn. As Biology goes, yawning is a body response to stimulate focus and attention, so the person doesn't fall asleep. We managed to catch a couple more White Perch, and Mike improved slightly in Perch-fishing. It was around 2 a.m. that Jay caught a beautiful Pumpkin Seed - another Species for our collection (Jay certainly doesn't look THAT ACTIVE as in the previous picture with the Rock Bass)! At 2 a.m., we finished on the count of 44 White Perch, 2 Striped Bass, 2 Bluegills, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 7 Spot Croaker, 38 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, and 1 Pumpkin Seed: a total of 98 fishes, 11 fishes caught in an hour. =(
2-3 a.m.
The bite was definitely slow at this point of the night, and we were SURPRISED with the lack of Catfish in the River! They were supposed to get extra active during night time, but they weren't hitting our nightcrawlers as well. At a certain point, I had a theory that they weren't very hungry; therefore, they were being very selective about their food. Over these hours, we caught a couple of small Catfish, and we were saving them in an aerated container for a group picture. We stayed with our primary set ups, still trying to catch White Perch and American Eels. At 3 a.m., we finished on the count of 59 White Perch, 2 Striped Bass, 3 Bluegills, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 9 Spot Croaker, 44 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, and 1 Pumpkin Seed: a total of 118 fishes, 20 fishes caught in an hour.
3-4 a.m.
Not much happened from 3 to 4 a.m. It was probably one of the worst hours for us. We picked up a couple small Catfish on the aerated container, and focused on the three main Species: White Perch, American Eel, and Spot Croaker. However, they didn't bite much during this time range. Rob managed to catch another small Striped Bass, which was fun to watch! The city was beautiful, though, and the location was SO CALM! There was no one around - only us. It was a great fishing environment. At 4 a.m., we finished on the count of 65 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 3 Bluegills, 2 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 10 Spot Croaker, 44 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, and 1 Pumpkin Seed: a total of 130 fishes, 12 fishes caught in an hour.
4-5 a.m.
Same situation as above. I was almost falling asleep for this entire hour, barely keeping my eyes open! I had to take a little break to regain my focus, and my team mates were struggling to catch fish. Despite all the calmness, we managed to catch a couple American Eels and Jay caught a nice Channel Catfish around 4:50. We were thanking the River for the White Perch - we knew that we would depend on them heavily during the day for points. At 5 a.m., we finished on the count of 73 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 3 Bluegills, 3 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 10 Spot Croaker, 47 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, and 1 Pumpkin Seed: a total of 142 fishes, 12 fishes caught in an hour.
5-6 a.m.
This hour was definitely the worst hour during our entire FishAThon - 2 Catfish in 1 hour. The Catfish were certainly more active, and my theory is that they probably scared all the bait fish away. Rob managed to catch 1, and Jay managed to catch the other 1. We also caught a couple little ones, and we were saving them for a group shot before 7 o'clock. At 6 a.m., we finished on the count of 73 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 3 Bluegills, 5 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 10 Spot Croaker, 47 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, and 1 Pumpkin Seed: a total of 144 fishes, 2 fish caught in an hour.
6-7 a.m.
The White Perch started to bite better, and the American Eel came back for a swim. During this time, other fishermen started to come to attend the Philly Fun Fish Fest, which is an annual competition that happens at the Schuylkill Banks during September. The water department arrived; members of the SRDC arrived; and kids would soon arrive as well. We were praying for the place to not get packed! Hehe. We took a picture of all the small Channel Cats we caught during the night, and around 7 a.m., I caught my first nice Catfish of the day. At 7 a.m., we finished on the count of 85 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 3 Bluegills, 29 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 10 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, and 1 Pumpkin Seed: a total of 183 fishes, 39 fish caught in an hour*.
*The small Cats were caught during all night, so, not really in an hour.
Challenge: count how many Catfish are there in the picture (the answer lies in mathematics).
7-8 a.m.
White Perch fest! The place was infested with kids because of the Fish Fest competition, which made our fishing a little bit difficult. However, we loved to see parents and their kids out there, learning a new sport. Jay mentioned - "A love to see all these kids out here, smiling and fishing." From 7 to 8, the White Perch started to bite compulsively. The whole team knew that that was the signal: it was time to use our stored energy and get as many White Perch as we could! At 8 a.m., we finished on the count of 108 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 3 Bluegills, 29 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 10 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, and 1 Pumpkin Seed: a total of 206 fishes, 23 fish caught in an hour.
8-9 a.m.
Things certainly started to pick up! As we hoped, the White Perch were on FIRE! I've never seen a plan work better than this: we saved our energy, had our hopes up, and it happened! I was totally focused during this hour, using my secret fishing technique to catch the Perch by surprise on the hook set (what Jay calls "ninja style")! Rob and Jay were doing an awesome job as well. Mike was trying...he definitely improved a lot by then. Also, it was around 8 a.m. that our first American Shad came up! Jay got it on a piece of nightcrawler - isn't it beautiful to know that they are still here, even after the run? It means something, means something! At 9 a.m., we finished on the count of 145 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 5 Bluegills, 29 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 11 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 1 Pumpkin Seed, and 1 American Shad: a total of 247 fishes, 41 fish caught in an hour.
9-10 a.m.
Another American Shad came up between 9 and 10. The Fish Fest competition was in its Climax, and the place was full of kids criss-crossing our lines. Fishing became quite difficult, and White Perch bite slowed down. Mike was so tired at this point that he could barely open his eyes. We did what we could for this hour while realizing that we were already pretty sore from all the casting and retrieving. At this point, my camera's battery died. We started using Rob's phone for pictures. At 10 a.m., we finished on the count of 151 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 5 Bluegills, 29 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 11 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 1 Pumpkin Seed, and 2 American Shad: a total of 254 fishes, 7 fish caught in an hour.
10-11 a.m.
The Fish Fest competition was on its last hour. I found out that Nadir was participating in it, and apparently, he was doing great on it (Of course. Who taught him how to fish? Cof cof...Heh). The situation for us was no better - kids were still enjoying themselves, and casting bobbers everywhere! The River was a float land! Rob and Jay tried their best to fish under those conditions, while I took a good break to refill my energy bar. As the tide moved, Sunnies came to eat our crawlers! At 11 a.m., we finished on the count of 160 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 10 Bluegills, 29 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 11 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 1 Pumpkin Seed, and 2 American Shad: a total of 268 fishes, 14 fish caught in an hour.
11-12 p.m.
After the Fish Fest ended, we finally had space for ourselves. The team started to focus on White Perch once again. The sun was strong, and we were getting toasted under it. Also, the fatigue was pretty intense at that point, disrupting our dexterity. Jay caught one more Pumpkin Seed during this period of time. Some Sunfish and Spot Croaker also came up. At 12 p.m., we finished on the count of 178 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 12 Bluegills, 31 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 12 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 2 Pumpkin Seed, and 2 American Shad: a total of 292 fishes, 24 fish caught in an hour.
12-2 p.m.
Curiously, I have no pictures between 12 and 1 p.m. The Perch bite picked up; therefore, the team decided to just save them in the aerated bucket, and take pictures all at once. For these two hours, we fished White Perch and Spot Croaker like crazy! It was just as we thought: once noon came, feeding frenzy started! Rob, Jay, and I kept ourselves busy for most of the time. We missed a lot of fish, but we caught a lot as well. Mike, on the other hand, was still having a hard time connecting with the fish. At 2 p.m., we finished on the count of 238 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 12 Bluegills, 31 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 21 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 2 Pumpkin Seed, and 2 American Shad: a total of 361 fishes, 69 fish caught in 2 hours.
2-3 p.m.
We used the same approach as before: we started saving the Perch in the aerated container for group pictures. We tried to take advantage of the situation, hence the White Perch were biting SO GOOD. We knew that they could be gone at anytime; therefore, we used all of our strength to catch as many as we could. It was between 2 and 3 that I caught the ONLY White Perch that would be considered as "Large" for the FishAThon (8"+), and the only White Perch among 332 to be more than 8". Also, Rob caught a really nice Channel Catfish around 2:50. At 3 p.m., we finished on the count of 239 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 12 Bluegills, 32 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 21 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 2 Pumpkin Seed, and 2 American Shad: a total of 363 fishes, 2 fishes caught in one hour.*
*As mentioned above, the fish were saved in a container for group picture. Therefore, it wasn't really 2 fish in one hour.
3-4 p.m.
The bite continued, and the day started to get cloudy. We knew that the weather report stated that there would be rain in the afternoon, and we were more than ready to move under the bridge in case of heavy rain. The White Perch were biting non-stop, and the Spot Croakers joined in for a little bit. I caught one decent Catfish between 3-4, and that was all for exceptional catches. At 4 p.m., we finished on the count of 284 White Perch, 3 Striped Bass, 15 Bluegills, 33 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 27 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 2 Pumpkin Seed, and 2 American Shad: a total of 415 fishes, 52 fishes caught in one hour.
4-7 p.m.
The last 3 hours of the FishAThon were quite extreme. Rain moved in, pouring the whole city. Mike and I moved a couple feet away to hide under the bridge while Jay and Rob put their ponchos on for some extreme fishing under the rain! They focused mainly on White Perch while Mike and I focused on Sunfish (prime spot for Sunfish!). We decided to save all the fish inside the aerated bucket, and do one last photo session just before 7 o'clock. It was intense for Rob and Jay, who got soaked under the rain (the Poncho helped a lot, though). And, finally, Mike contributed with a new Species for the team: a Yellow Perch! He didn't catch a monster Flathead or a nice Striped Bass, but hey...a Yellow Perch is quite rare in the Schuylkill these days. Anyways...Basically, we called in a last round: we went all out for the last 3 hours! We were ALL very tired at the end, and I'm sure that all 4 of us couldn't wait to go home, take a shower, and go to bed. Hahaha. are the final statistics for the last 3 hours, and the final score:
At 7 p.m., we finished on the count of 332 White Perch, 4 Striped Bass, 40 Bluegills, 42 Catfish, 1 Brown Bullhead, 29 Spot Croaker, 50 American Eels, 1 Rock Bass, 6 Pumpkin Seed, and 2 American Shad: a total of 507 fishes, 92 fishes caught in 3 hours (average of 30 per hour).
And, finally, below are some random and interesting pictures that were taken during the FishAThon:
After taking many pictures of Rob, I realized that he closes his eyes during pictures. Interesting, huh? Nice White Perch, by the way!

Jay with his charismatic smile. He's covering almost the whole fish, though...

I wonder where Rob was looking at. Maybe he got a bite!
FISH ON!!!!!!!!!!!!
Errr...Mike. Your shirt, your shirt!
Fishing is a joy. I was probably thinking: "This one got away!"
Time to cast. "Watch out, guys!"
"You go in the bucket!"
Shades' on!
Shades' on!
This is the name of the game!

Leo to Mike: "Mike, your eyes sometimes scare me, man."
Fish, Mike!
According to Jay: "Ninja Style."

Fish, Jay!

Advertising for Berkley. There we go! My favorite Fluoro.

Fishing's a Joy!
Charming Cigarette, perhaps?
"Don't move, Jay! Errr...never mind."
Really, Mike?
Just a bit soaked...
Uffs! Long post...I'm ready to go to bed. Hahaha.
Best of luck for all of us!
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
Leo S.