Why Should You Protect the Environment and Practice "CPR?"

Uploaded: November fishing sessions (finished it)

Hello, Dear readers!

First, i've been updating my fishing sessions on my other post. Make sure to check it from time to time! =)

Also, Mike H. has been fishing less, but still catching some fish:

- Bass fishing at Lake Alverthorpe (You can clearly notice that NINJA Mike does a NINJA sound before setting up the hook)
- November Bass fishing at Haddon Lake

A little bonus here for those who fish the Schuylkill banks. Hehe.
It's been quite a while, huh? I hope everyone had a good time recently, and a great Thanksgiving as well. As you all know, this blog is not just about fishing as a sport...therefore, I'm bringing to you today a post mainly on environmental conservation, giving some emphasis to the practice of "CPR" - Catch, Photo, Release - one of the jargons in the fishing World.

It was while making a fishing video that I realized that a post on Environmental Conservation and CPR wouldn't be a bad idea at all. The video is already done; it was published on the Facebook page, and I'm pasting the link below:

Enjoy the video, guys. =)
I've divided this post in 5 parts:
1. The point of the post
2. What to expect?
3. The environment from a global perspective
4. The impact of overharvesting and environmental degradation in Philadelphia
5. Why should I protect the environment and practice CPR?

If you know already about part 3, you can totally skip it! It actually has to do more with History than fishing, but it helps us understand how the World is not sustainable nowadays, and HOW could we make it sustainable. Hopefully, the sad part is to realize that we would have to give away A LOT of our comfort to make that happen.

--- 1. The Point of the Post ---

As you can see, fishing is not just about putting a line in the water, or catching a fish. Maybe it's just like that at the beginning, but fishermen soon start to realize that it's MORE THAN THAT!

Every visited location is a fond memory that will never fade. Every fishing day becomes an unique day with its own mysteries and frustrations, and sometimes even a catch of a lifetime; and even more - the friends that you make and the knowledge that you gain are certainly exceptional and bonded to the heart and the soul.

Isn't it beautiful? Isn't it beautiful to have people from different backgrounds joined together by a common factor? Good fishing friends share a bond that society nowadays barely recognizes; a deep bond that resembles the loyal brotherhood of a long time ago.

The video shows a couple pictures of fishing locations that I've been to in the past 2 years. It was while making it that I thought of the importance of the "Catch-Photo-Release; practice CPR," and "Protect our environment" topics. It's been only 2 years since I've been to all those locations in the video, and some of them changed a lot already (i.e. FDR Park).

My point here is simple, and very clear: angler or not, one should realize that we have taken a toll on nature in the past couple centuries, and now it's the time to try our best to preserve nature. For anglers, the quality of fishing has been degraded for the past century or so, since the sustainability of our bodies of water was lost; In other words, since human beings started to harvest fish with a catching ratio higher than the fishes' reproduction ratio. From that point onwards, fish were no longer able to replenish its populations because we were, basically, over harvesting them.

Let's talk a little bit about the future...

--- 2. What to expect? ---

I found this question to be one of the deepest questions we can ask ourselves: "What do we expect?"
This entire semester, I heard my Electricity and Electromagnetism teacher mumbling about this specific question many times. He often said:

"Different than computers, this is a trait of the human mind. Computers are able to calculate results, but they will never be able to have expectations while looking at a formula or exercise to be solved."

Indeed, this question has brought me many hardships for the past couple months. It's truly a challenge to look at a Physics exercise, and try to expect what the result will be; or better saying, how the resulting formula is supposed to behave in the Physical way.

Okay, guys...I may have bored you out of your mind with my Physics example, but this question can actually be applied (and should) to every aspect of LIFE (including fishing, of course)! One can apply this to his/her own love life, decision making, goals for the future, and even daily actions (causality - action, reaction). This is a golden question that we should ask ourselves every time we do something of significant value. So, from this perspective, what exactly do we expect? What do I expect?

First, we have to think about "why is it so important to mention CPR and Environmental Conservation when it comes to fishing?" The answer is rather imbued in the human soul: it's important, so we will save these wonderful fishing locations, including the fishes, for future generations to come, so future generations will be able to enjoy the similar feelings that we have while being outside - with nature, or fishing with friends, or just enjoying ourselves.

It's not just about the future generations, if you think about it! These actions of protection and conservation are directly related to our moral code. One knows that there's no universal moral code, hence morality is highly influenced by sociological factors (i.e. culture), not to mention that a code that deals with morality is a social contract; however, the beauty of every moral code around the World lies in the fact that they mirror the natural concern for the well-being of other people. Therefore, one can say that protecting the environment and releasing fish is the same as having enough humility and generosity for fellow fishermen, future generations, us, and the Earth itself.

Certain things need to change, guys...and fast - we no longer have the luxury to waste time. Environmentally speaking, the expectation is simple: the human race is depleting Earth's sources at a very fast pace nowadays, and fishing will one day be degraded to a point that the sport may even disappear. Due to many different variables, such as population growth, mass production, etc, the World is no longer sustainable.

--- 3. The Environment from a Global Perspective ---

Okay...now we have talked a little bit about expectations (the future), and the main idea in this post. Now we have to deal with the past - understand why things are the way they are nowadays, and how exactly did those influence the USA. Of course, I won't be able to put every major detail out, but we can still review some brief History, and see how can that can be related to us - Philadelphians, Americans, or whatever word you define yourself with.

From a historical perspective, the sustainability of the World started to be broken at a higher pace after the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850). Those were ages of advancements and discoveries, and one can certainly see how far humanity has gone in such a short amount of time! With these advancements, new technology was discovered, the Sciences progressed at an accelerated rate - the World moved on.

A couple examples of advancements in different fields:

- Communication widened with the use of telephones (1870's). This was just the beginning of the phenomena we know as Globalization. Later came other communication/information devices: the television (1920's), the mobile phone - a.k.a cell phones (1980's), and now the Internet (1980-1990's).

-  Transportation progressed intensely with the creation of the "Car" (1770-1890. Mass production started in 1908 - the so famous Henry Ford). First came the train (1820's), then the car, then the airplanes (1910's - Model B by Wright Company).

- Comfort increased dramatically as well, and I'm not even going there. The vacuum machine came to replace the broom inside homes, and in a blink of the eye, we have now microwaves to heat our food, heather and air conditioning for different seasons of the year, etc.

I'm giving you readers this background, so you can actually see that with all these advancements and creations, all of us paid a huge toll: while humanity progressed so much, the same failed to realize that we were slowly depleting the sources that Nature provided us (let's not even get into Fossil Fuels - a non-renewable resource), not to mention that the consequences of certain productions included pollution, ground/water/air contamination, etc.

These developments were the base for our Capitalist societies, and these societies are in no way sustainable. Add mass production with population growth, and things really get out of hand! From this point onwards, I think you can picture how things will turn out in the future if the World continues ignoring Environmental Conservation as an important idea. 
--- 4. The Impact of Over harvesting and Environmental Degradation in Philadelphia ---
First, let's talk about temperature and the weather. The weather is getting pretty cold this year, and it's not even Winter yet (Winter starts at December 21st)! After Super storm Sandy hit the East coast, the weather has been quite crazy, hasn't it? We have been suffering periods of warm and cold days, we saw a little bit of snow the other day...really crazy stuff. Well, guys...this weather shift is just the beginning.
Guess what? This weird weather stuff is just one consequence related to nature's deterioration. This whole thing about Global Warming and green house gases is no joke. I read in the new edition of New Scientist last week that if emissions of CO2 don't drop, it's expected that the Earth will warm up 4 degrees Celsius by the end of 2100. Can you imagine how things are going to be at that time here in the United States of America?
Weather is certainly something important for Anglers, specially because severe droughts with raising temperatures may even deplete some water sources in this country. Personally, I remember going to the Hoover Dam last May, on the West coast. The water levels there were really low according to the locals, and looking at the markings on the rocks, it was clearly visible that water was super low (you can read more about it here). Can you imagine the impact that weather could have here in Philadelphia? Starting with the lakes, they could be totally dry by 2100. After all, people need to drink water. The Schuylkill and the Delaware Rivers' levels could be down by a couple feet, meaning that the tributaries/small creeks would be directly affected by it. With changes in water temperature and water depth, the whole fish migration cycle would be messed up, not to mention their spawning behavior, habitats, etc.
Now, since this post focuses mainly on the concepts of environmental conservation and CPR, I'll give one example of each related to the Schuylkill and the Delaware Rivers, respectively.  
Weather/temperature is nothing but one aspect of environmental deterioration. Pollution, which is a result of everything I said in part 3, is also another big factor that influences in our fishing. Ask any old fishing locals, and they will all tell you that the Schuylkill River was an oil dump when they were kids (1930-1960's). Only a couple Species of fish were able to survive in such a tough environment (i.e. Channel Catfish, American Eels). It's thanks to the Water Department, and MILLIONS of dollars spent in water treatment (money that goes out of your pocket), that the Schuylkill is better nowadays. And even today, when the River is so much better, there are still people out there calling the Schuylkill River the "Sewer" of the city, where "dead bodies" are dumped. I would love to remind all those people that the water that all Philadelphians drink partially come from the Schuylkill and the Delaware Rivers after water treatment is performed.
The Schuylkill River is definitely better, but it's far from clean. From the Greys Ferry portion downwards, one can still observe a thin layer of oil/chemicals floating on the waters of the River as the tide moves in and out. Would you eat a fish that comes out of a River like that? That's an interesting question that I'll discuss in the next section, heh.

Note: Also, it's good to remember that many different bodies of water around Philadelphia still suffer from "acid mine drainage." You can know all about it by clicking on the link! The Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek are just two examples...it doesn't only contaminate the water, but can also kill fish due to acid shock.
The Delaware River also suffered a lot over the years, specially from over harvest. Believe it or not, the Delaware River is an excellent example of fish depletion due to over harvesting. I thought it would be good to introduce this idea here, so the reader can learn a little bit more about PA's history when it comes to fishing and fish. I'll copy and past a little excerpt of a very interesting report that can be found here. I read it a while back, and I found it to be very surprising:
"Humans took advantage of the migratory behavior of spawning Atlantic sturgeon to develop a fishery for Atlantic sturgeon flesh and roe (i.e. caviar). Caviar production in the United States did not flourish until the late 19th century (Cobb 1900), subsequently transforming the Delaware River Atlantic sturgeon fishery from a small, flesh-driven business into the caviar capital of the North America (Saffrom 2002). By the late 1800's, the Delaware River Atlantic sturgeon fishery was the largest in the Unites States and produced 75% of the US sturgeon harvest from 1890-1899 (Townsend 1900). Between the collection roe from mature females for caviar production and the canning of the smoked flesh, the fishery provided a way of life for many people in search of post-Civil War prosperity (Saffron 2002). Delaware River landings reached a peak in 18888 with a total catch of nearly 3000 metric tons of Atlantic sturgeon (Smith 1894). The success of the fishery was short-lived, and by 1900 the total catch was less than 10% of the peak harvest totals (Ryder 1890; Cobb 1900)."

Isn't that sad, but amazing at the same time? In less than 10 years, the Sturgeon population in the Delaware River was reduced to almost nothing due to over harvesting! And because of this tragic event in history, even nowadays, the Sturgeon population did not recover yet. As far as I know, reports showed a couple Sturgeon fingerlings in certain portions of the Delaware River, but no signs of great migrations around. Wouldn't it be great if we could be catching Sturgeons at the Delaware River? Think about it.

--- 5. Why Should I Protect the Environment and Practice CPR? ---

I guess the answer is pretty evident after all this post, isn't it? Hehe. Anyways...here's a few things that you should take in consideration:

- Fish Comsumption: PCBs and heavy metals

As mentioned above, Philadelphia suffered a lot from water pollution and different types of contamination (i.e. Acid mine drainage). Therefore, the fish that you get from any public body of water in Philadelphia (or around PA) may contain PCBs and heavy metals that are harmful for your body. In other words, I highly advise anglers to not eat the fish from public waters unless they are very certain that the fish are safe to eat. Personally, I have tested different samples of fishes from different bodies of water around Philadelphia for heavy metals, and many of them turned out to be "harmful" (specially bottom feeders; i.e. Channel Catfish, Common Carp, American Eels). When it comes to PCBs, it's much harder to test. It's known, however, that PCBs are stored in fatty tissue; therefore, according to research, cleaning and cooking the fish properly should reduce PCBs up to 75%.

Notice that the symptoms for consuming PCBs and heavy metals are usually not acute, but chronic (i.e. carcinogens - the production of cells that cause cancer in our body). Therefore, a person may not notice the harm done until the same has consumed contaminated fish for a long time. Always watch out for these two little devils!

Trout is definitely the one Species of fish in Philadelphia that are safe to eat, since they are stocked by the PA Boat and Commission. Therefore, I always encourage all readers to go catch them, and eat them! After all, a lot of our money goes for use in Trout fish hacheries and so on. Make sure you have your Trout Stamp!

- Overharvesting and Selective Harvest

Make sure you keep your fishing spots "sustainable." In other words, when you go fish, don't take fish that are rare or too big. Taking trophy fish from a certain body of water, for example, may damage the fish genetics of the whole environment. The concept is actually pretty simple: trophy fish have the genetics to give birth to potential big fish. Therefore, when someone removes a trophy fish, that same person is very likely killing millions of offsprings that could have existed, from which a couple could also been trophy fish. Overharvesting also leaves a person with less fish to fish. Anglers often complain how the fishing is not the same as before, and fishing quality usually drops because of over harvest. The FDR park in South Philadelphia is a clear example of that.

The right thing to do is to practice selective harvesting. In other words, CPR the fishes that have a significant importance to a certain body of water, while taking others of less significance. Take only what you will eat, and never waste. One curious fact: sometimes, it's not about sizes... One of the unsolved mysteries in the World of fishing is the cycling populations of Black Crappie. During a certain time period, they get stunted; during another certain time-frame, their population diminishes, but they grow big in sizes! This cycle is definitely interesting, and it applies perfectly to the concept of selective harvest. By harvesting stunted populations of Black Crappie (check your state's creel limit laws first!), you can actually expect to break the cycle. On the other hand, if you harvest too many, then you will have none to catch.

Harvesting requires a vast amount of knowledge. Without such, blind harvesting fish can lead to extreme consequences to the sport. Always keep that in mind!

- Respect the environment: don't litter

Don't forget that you are not the only one fishing in PUBLIC waters. Therefore, in respect to others, you should always keep your spots CLEAN. In other words, leave all your trash with you. If you watched the video above, you will notice that I've pointed out that the Race Street Pier is no longer opened for fishing. Truth is: it was opened for fishing when it first opened, but the owners of the pier didn't like that idea very much. Using our mistakes (anglers) to back their reasonings, they were able to close the wonderful spot down. They declared that anglers were "destroying the property, leaving bloody marks behind, leaving trash on the floor, and one angler hooked a little girl by accident."

Oh well...you will have to agree with me on this one: nobody likes to see their own property getting messed up. Therefore, we should always pay attention when we cast (safety first), and always make sure that our surroundings are clean of our trash.

Let's remind ourselves that the image of an angler here in Philadelphia is made by no one other than ourselves. Therefore, protecting the environment and respecting wildlife is the same as giving away a good image of youself to your family, your peers, and everyone else in this country. You are doing a favor to you, the ones close to you, future generations to come, not to mention that you are moraly setting a right image/reputation, which should make you feel good!

Hopefully these will convince you that protecting the environment and practicing selective harvest and CPR are very beneficial for everyone, including yourself.

The World may be a little bit messed up (okay, maybe more than a little), but hope is still out there. As far as more people get educated and united, there will be changes.

I hope you learned something new in this post,

Best of luck to all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S. 

Reports (Rob Z.): Fairmount Dam

Note: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!!
Updated: November Fishing Sessions (11/16)

For previous reports from Rob Z.
Also, Mike H. added 1 more video on his Youtube Channel (1Rod1ReelFishing):
NOTE: Let me emphasize that foul-hooking fish in PA is ILLEGAL. In other words, using a fishing set up that consists of HOOK only (no bait) for purposes of snagging fish is against the law.
It's "legal" (but not nice, hence the fish suffer damages); however, to accidentally snag a fish while fishing for other Species of fish using a lure or live bait. It just happens that the body format of the Gizzard Shad and its swimming behavior make it extra easy to be snagged.
I also added a video on my Youtube Channel - a little video of my "Wildly caught" fish tank:
NOTE 2: Philadelphians - be extra careful when you buy fish at the Market nowadays. When you see the sign "Wildly caught," you want to double check your sources! It never hurts to ask the owner or the worker of the business one question: "Where was this fish caught?" A lot of people nowadays prefer to consume wildly caught fish over farm raised for many reasons; however, the fishes are not always safe to eat depending on where it came from. I'll certainly think about making a full post out of this subject in the near future.
Rob's report on the Fairmount Dam (Schuylkill River) - November 8th.
Written by Rob Z. - edited by Leo S.
My friend Mike B. picked me up at my place in Center City around 6:30 p.m., and we were down there by 6:45 p.m. It was dark, cold, and windy. The air temperature was in the upper 40's, and I was trying to stay warm. The water temperature was around 47 degrees. The conditions looked good, and we started jigging for the fish. Mike had not fished the Dam before, and I warned him of the snags and other challenges. I also told him of the potential prizes we might catch that night.
Around 7:30 p.m., I got a solid whack on my jig! I set the hook, and was immediately battling with a feisty fish! I was pretty sure it was a Walleye, but it was so active that I had some doubts. It was flopping on the surface like crazy! When I got a clear look, it was definitely a Walleye. I yelled to Mike to get the drop net, and he was back with it in an instant. He popped the collapsible pop net open, and lowered it down. It was on the water, and I worked the fish in the direction of the net. On the first try, the fish slid over the hoop of the net, and Mike hoisted it up!
YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! First Walleye of the year, and a nice healthy fish too. We took some photos and weighed the fish before releasing it: 2.65 lbs. It never flopped on the cement, which is, of course, a good thing. That type of flopping is enough to make these fish bleed, which could kill them after the release - so, try to handle them with care.
 The fish was hooked right through the middle of his top lip...I should have taken a close up picture of that. There was no way he was coming off of the hook at all. He could have been pulled up through the air, if necessary. I was using 8lb test, so that probably would have been fine, but I'm still glad I had the net.
The temperature dropped and we fished until almost 9 p.m., but no more fish. It was great getting out there again, and even better to catch a fish. Usually I get skunked there. Thanks for being there and for helping to land the fish, Mike!  Next time we will get you one. Fishing the porch is so much more enjoyable with someone else when it is dark. Fishing there alone can get spooky, and I'm sure it would have been tough trying to land the fish alone with the drop net. 
Enjoy the pics:

Congrats on the first Walleye of the year, Rob! These fish can be finicky at times, and the Dam is certainly a place to get skunked often.
Not many have the guts/determination to stay out there in the cold to fish for these fish. Heh.
Best of luck for all of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
Leo S.

November Fishing Sessions (Last Update: Closed)

Heya, guys! How's everything going? I hope everyone is well!

As mentioned before, I'll create one specific post every month in dedication to my fishing sessions, so the readers can always stay updated, even without the Facebook Page!

Note that this page will have all my fishing sessions through the month of November, and the page will be updated by session. Therefore, it's a good idea to always come back here to check for new content!

 --- November 2nd, Schuylkill River (between Locust and Walnut) ---

After having a heavy day at college (blame my Latin teacher for the Quiz. Hah. Just joking), I stopped by the Schuylkill River to check its conditions. It was as expected: high turbidity, muddy water, a new layer of sediment along the bank, and so on.

The water temperature dropped dramatically over the last couple days; therefore, my chances of getting skunked were pretty high. I was, however, hoping to catch at least a little American Eel...or praying for some "off the book" Catfish to bite my bait!

Well...it didn't happen. I fished for nearly 2 hours without a single bite, and the sciences won over my hopes. After fishing, I took a couple pictures of the new "section" of the Schuylkill Banks - the bridge connecting the trail to the park next to 26th street, and also the construction site for the future boardwalk that will connect Locust to South st.

No pictures of fish; however, enjoy some scenery pics! Hah.

My single rod with a piece of Cutbait on it. As you guys can see, everything goes inside my backpack. Hah. Poor Temple students have to see me carrying an Ugly Stik...One said the other day: "Wow...you are fishing in this kind of weather? In the Schuylkill? Crazy! Wild!" Hahaha.

The newly opened bridge that connects the Schuylkill Banks' trail to the park across the railroad. Thanks to this fine piece of work, nobody needs to worry about the train blocking the way.

A view from the bridge, towards Walnut street.

A view of the current "machinery" stationed for the future boardwalk that will connect the trail from Locust to the South street bridge. This is certainly a WILD project, guys! And dare I say: it will open so many more fishing spots around the Schuylkill River. Heh.

A close up. Notice a second set behind, closer to the South street bridge.

One of the most magnificent things about the Trail is the fact that the trail offers many "posts" about the history of the River and the city! Guys...if you read it, great! If you didn't, you should. Every post brings great knowledge of a River and a City that existed a couple hundred years ago, and the beauty in it is to be able to visualize how things were before, and why things are the way they are at the moment.  

I don't know how this project will end up looking like, but these rocks look like great structure for future fishing. White Perch, Sunnies, Catfish, and even Striped Bass can benefit from it!

--- November 3rd, Cooper River/Driscoll Pond ---

I went fishing with Mike H. and his friend Kyle in New Jersey today. They decided to hit Hopkins Pond for some Largemouth Bass while I decided to fish for some Calico Bass. We arrived there around 7:20 a.m., unpacked, and started fishing.

Overall, Mike and Kyle didn't have much luck with the Largemouth Bass, which was pretty much expected, hence the water temperature was at 50-52 degrees. Mike had one monster bite that ripped half of his Senko away, but we will never know what kind of fish it was, since it got away. Anyways...the Black Crappies, on the other hand, were biting like crazy! I guess they are super hungry and eating as much as they can for Winter time! No slabs, but still...action every minute!

I used a Gulp! Minnow on a 1/32oz jig, a float, and 4lb test line on an ultralight rod. It was simply amazing! Driscoll and Cooper River made my day! That's exactly why I'm going back there tomorrow. Heh. 

I finished with 52 Black Crappies, 5 Bluegills, and 1 little Largemouth Bass (it's good to see that there's at least one juvenile Bass in that pond). I decided to take a couple Black Crappies with me - a neat addition to my aquarium, since they are so pretty in colours.

Overall, a cold day (35-50F), but full of action!

First Calico Bass of the day!

Another little guy from Driscoll Pond.

Small, but extremely beautiful and healthy!

After getting too many small Black Crappies at Driscoll, I decided to move to Cooper River to catch some bigger ones. There are really no slabs in that portion of the Cooper River, but the sizes are bigger than Driscoll's.

I caught this little guy in 4 inches of water, under a branch. All I did was dap the Gulp! Minnow, and the fish attacked right away.

I caught this one by drifting my bait in the current. The float went down, and the fish easily hooked itself.

A nice Black Crappie for that portion of the River. They really love those little fake minnows! They work extremely good, and I recommend them to the general public. Not only Crappies, but I've caught a huge variety of fish on Gulp! Minnows, including all kinds of Sunnies, and even LMB and Bullheads.

After a great trip, I finally got to put some Crappies in my aquarium! A great addition to it. You can also see a Bluegill in the center, a Pumpkin Seed up-right, and my Koi (caught at the Wissahickon Creek) on the left.

--- November 4th, Driscoll Pond/Cooper River/Wallsworth Pond/Evans Lake ---
The weather was brutal today - cloudy and windy in the afternoon (~40F, "feel like" 32), but fishing was still good as it should be!
I met with my good friend Steve a little bit after noon, and we started with the Driscoll Pond at Haddonfield. My goal for the day was to catch some big Black Crappies whereas Steve's was to land some LMB. I told Steve that the water temperature wasn't willing to cooperate with his Bass fishing; however, he decided to try for it anyways!
We fished the Driscoll Pond for a good hour or so. I was nailing the Black Crappie with my usual Crappie rig - Gulp! Minnow on a 1/32oz jig, float, 4lb line test - while Steve was trying for Bass. In the process, I managed to land a couple Sunnies as well - nothing unusual. After, we decided to walk to the stretch of the Cooper River that is connected to Driscoll. We fished there for a little bit as well: the usual Crappies.
At this point of the day (around 2:45 p.m.), Steve was getting skunked and I was on my count of 23 Black Crappies. As we fished under the extreme weather, our stomachs started to bother us! Steve made a wonderful suggestion for lunch, and we had some great Asian food...
By the end of the meal, we were full of energy. We decided to hit Wallsworth Pond and Evans Lake. To tell you guys the truth, I tried Evans Lake 3-4 times without any success in the past year or so. This time, however, I was wishing that there were some suspended Crappies at Evans! We arrived there around 4 o'clock. Wallsworth and Evans were pretty muddy, and I noticed right away that new cover and structure were present in both places! Also, Evans Lake still had some lily pads available!
First cast with a Gulp! Minnow...one hit! Although I didn't land the fish, I was seriously excited because now I "knew" that there were fish in Evans Pond. It was soon after that Steve started yelling full of excitement: "Leo, I got something!" When I turned my head to watch him, I saw a Bass (~2lbs) giving a magnificent jump! Another jump after! Then, it got away... Steve was so frustrated, but I know that he was also excited in hooking that fish.
We fished there for the rest of the day, until 5:15 p.m.. I finished my fishing count at 32 Black Crappie - a combination from all four locations, and Steve actually did manage to catch a Bass at Evans Pond - just smaller than the first one! In total, Steve caught 1 LMB and missed 2, which is extremely awesome considering the weather and the water temperature (~42F).  
Such a great adventure, huh, Steve? It was certainly cold, but we endured it! Hehe. Anyways...Pictures are below, guys:

Probably one of the biggest Bluegills at Driscoll's. Hooked with a Gulp! Minnow.

First Crappie of the day: small, but yet beautiful! Look at that eye...

A beautiful Black Crappie from the Cooper River! Darker colors than regular ones.

A big fat Bluegill caught at Cooper River at Haddonfield.

A decent-sized Crappie for that portion of the Cooper River. Although there are bigger ones, it's pretty difficult to find them!

A little Crappie caught at Wallsworth Pond.

A fat Crappie caught at Evans Pond just before Sunset!

Steve with his "Rocky LMB." The fish was put on the floor, hence all the pebbles on it. Hah. Many congrats to you, Steve - getting some LMB in this kind of weather (and with this water temperature) is pretty extreme!

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home" - A Turkey Vulture eating a dead Squirrel in the middle of the street at Haddonfield, close to PATCO. It was quite big, guys...quite the view.

--- November 6th, Schuylkill River (Fairmount Dam) ---

Long day at the Fairmount Dam, and not many bites! I fished the Fairmount for a good while in the afternoon (1:30 to 4 p.m.) and had only one bite, which I missed. My goal for the day was to catch at least one fish, hence the Fairmount Dam is so difficult at times! After two and a half hours of frustration, I decided to go to Cosmic Cafe for a little break. I ate, drank, and went back for round 2!  

My friend Chris and Aj joined me around dusk, and Mike (Chris' friend) joined us at night. Overall, it was a very tough day at the Dam, not to mention that the weather was also pretty cold. We tried a different set of lures without much success. Luckily, one of us got a fish: the only fish for the day was a Walleye - 19 inches, caught by Chris on a fluke. Congrats, Chris!

It was my first time fishing with Chris, and I was pretty impressed with his secret Pink collection (not Victoria Secret. heh) of lures. Well done, Chris! Pictures are below:

Vampire mode - Nice Walleye, 19 inches, caught by Chris on a Fluke.

Normal mode - same fish from another perspective.

Nice cozy Cosmic Cafe (right next to the Fairmount Dam) - my fishing rod with a nice Shad Swimbait, a fruit Parfait, chocolate milk, my Nintendo DS and my cellphone. Haha. Good to go!

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home" - Something is on fire in Philly!

The whole gang for the night - Mike on the left, Aj C. on the center, and Chris E. on the right.
Brutal weather, one can say - fishing under 39F in Philly!
--- November 12th, Schuylkill River (Fairmount Dam) ---

After the first evidences of Walleyes in the area, I went back to the Fairmount Dam for some night fishing. The circumstances were really really bad - low tide was at 7 p.m., the water was super clear (Walleyes are not a big fan of clear water), and it was windy (40 degrees, "feels like 33").

I always joke with this "feels like xxF" because a fishermen can never look only at the degree Fahrenheit (temperature). A good fisherman understands the concept of air pressure, and looks at the speed and direction of the wind, the humidity, the "feels like" temperature, among other factors. If you want, click here for my trusted weather website.

I tried for a long time at the usual spot, next to the dam. I lost a couple rigs due to the low tide, which was expected. Actually, this is a good question for the reader to think about: Do you think the tide levels of a River (i.e. Schuylkill) influences the speed of the water current? Why or why not? Some may think of what I just said as an excuse; however, physically speaking, the tides do matter when it comes to the River's current. In theory, the current of a River gets "faster" when the tide is lower. If you want to read more about it, you can click here.

Going a bit out of topic, just for fun...
The main idea is that with lower tides, the jig will move more on the bottom because the current close to the bottom of the River is faster (Force of current close to bottom >>> force of friction of the bottom) while a jig of the same weight could stay put when the tide is high (Force of current close to bottom <<< force of friction of the bottom). It's good to keep in mind that the force of Friction is always in the opposite direction of the force of current; therefore, friction slows current down.

Physics is cool, isn't it? Since you know the relationship between the force of friction and the force of current now, it's quiz time. Imagine the following scenario: you go Trout fishing after heavy rain. You know that the current will be altered (faster), but you still have hopes that the Trout will bite.

Question one: Which fishing rig would you use for this scenario?

As you arrive at the site, you notice that the current is, indeed, faster. Now, I did a very homemade picture of the Stream (hehe) from a "current perspective" (up is the top of the water, down is the bottom of the stream). Looking at the picture below, answer question two: Which area - A, B, or C - would you fish at? And Why? 

Well...keep the answers to yourself for now. You can find the answers to these two questions at the end of this report.

Okay...now, back to the report.

I lost my patience next to the dam, and decided to try for Largemouth Bass above the dam! The area is a little bit shady, but it's been known to hold Largemouth Bass during Spring and Summer. I didn't switch my lure at all (I was still using a Zoom Fluke on a jig), and went exploring.

I went to the upper portion of the Schuylkill River, and followed a small stream connecting the big portion of the River to a small part "pond" (in quotes because it's not closed) behind the River. I was walking, dragging my jig in the water, when I suddenly felt a bite! I was TOTALLY SURPRISED; after all, the water there is less than 2 feet! I stopped, and started jigging my Zoom fluke close to some cover. I felt another bite, and set the hook. The fish was on! It felt decent, but it got unhooked while performing a beautiful jump. Although it was night time, I was certain that the fish was a Largemouth Bass. After that, I had one more bite, but didn't land a single fish for the day.

Not unusual, I got skunked at the dam! It was, however, a wonderful night. Having that Largemouth Bass on for a couple seconds made my day.

Pictures of some scenery are below:

This is the place where I hooked the first Largemouth Bass, right under some leaves and branches. The water there is less than 2 feet deep!

A hooked the second Bass under a pile of garbage right above the Fairmount Dam.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home - The Cira Centre at night time."

As for the answers to the questions above:

Question 1: Any rig that stays on the bottom. I prefer the slip sinker rig.

Question 2: Area C. The friction of the bottom slows the speed of the current. In other words, we know that the current at C is slower than the current at B, which is slower than the current at A (C<B<A). In other words, A is where the current is fastest in the Creek, and C is where the current is slowest. Fish will use area A and B in their favor to boost their traveling speed, but they will feed mostly in area C, where the current is slowest.

In the Trout Scenario:

Trouts will often hide behind rocks, or below structure to avoid the current. Also, they will scavenge for food in area C after heavy rains, hence the faster current flips the contents of the bottom, exposing other living organisms. Note that this "current velocity" scenario (C<B<A) is universal - it works everywhere on Earth, assuming that there are no obstacles present between areas.  

--- November 16th, Pennypack Park ---

After reading Mike H.'s report on Facebook about a Palomino and some Rainbows at the Welsh section of the Pennypack Creek, I went hunting for them in the afternoon!

Quick session at the Pennypack with canned corn. It took me a while to find the fish (I never found the Palomino), but once I found it...I got it! Heh. I caught my limit just before sunset. The fish weren't very big (didn't pass 12 inches), but their color was beautiful.

By the way...while fishing for Trout, never forget to make your bait as presentable and natural as possible! During centuries, European Trout fishermen thought that Trout were very wary of the force we know as "gravity." Within empirical data, the Europeans observed that Trout would eat batches of a certain species of insect that fell in the water, but they would ignore any suspicious bugs of the same kind! In other words, the fish observed how fast the bugs would sink in the water, and some of them would (for some reason - heh) sink slower than the rest of the group - those were the bugs that the fish ignored. 

The Europeans were, however, wrong about Trout being wary of Gravity. Gravity is a force that pulls everything on Earth towards the center of the Earth. The Trout wouldn't be able to be wary about this force because gravity applies for everything around them with the same intensity! It applies to everything (note: disregard altitude as a factor that changes gravity)! The force that Trout were really wary about was not Gravity, but buoyancy! In the water, the buoyant force is the force that opposes gravity. If an object's buoyancy is greater than the gravitational pull (Fg=mg), then it will float. Vice versa, it will sink.

Anglers, always keep this little note above in mind. It's certainly very useful while fishing for Trout if used correctly. Think about it.

Pictures are below. Enjoy it:

First of the day, caught at the bridge close to the auditorium next to Welsh/Rhawn street. 12 Inches.

Last one of the day, caught just before sunset! Beautiful, huh?

--- November 17th, Schuylkill River, Cooper River, Driscoll Pond ---

I was planning this Saturday Carping trip at Kelly Drive for quite a while. I invited some friends to go Carping with me (Jay, Steve), and even chummed the spot two days before. I knew that the chances of landing a good Carp at Kelly Drive drops dramatically once water temperatures drop below 60 degrees, but I still wanted to give it a try!

I met Steve in Center City, and we headed straight to the fishing spot - Kelly Drive after the Girard Bridge. We each set up two rods for Carp around 11:00 a.m., and one for Catfish/Eels. Jay joined us a little bit later, setting his three rods for Carp. After setting everything up, we just had to wait... Like my old Calculus professor would say: "That's the name of the game."

After a couple hours, however, we didn't get a single bite! We were SO BORED. Steve was the first to get extremely frustrated. Hah. His patience is quite short; therefore, he decided to take a nap while waiting for some action. Jay ate his lunch; after, he chilled while listening to some music. I was playing my Nintendo DS (some Chrono Trigger - classic!)...and no action AT ALL!

It was around 2 o'clock that Steve and I decided to move to New Jersey and try for some other Species! Jay's friends joined him around that time, and they decided to stay and wait to see. 

Steve and I left the Schuylkill, and moved to Driscoll Pond in New Jersey. After that, it was a blast! I put my "Gulp! Minnows" in action, getting some Sunnies and Black Crappies, while Steve ran small lures for Largemouth Bass.

We both ended catching some fish! And you know what? Even if we got skunked, that day was so gorgeous that it was just nice to be outside! That Saturday was so pleasant - pleasant temperatures, no wind. 

Well, enjoy the pictures below:   

My set of rods at Kelly Drive, waiting for the Carp action that never came. Hahaha.

Steve working a lure, trying to see some signs of life in the River.

Jay chilling in his chair - eating some lunch, and watching his rods.

Steve decided to take a little nap after no action was detected. Tsk tsk tsk...Steve, Steve...And what's with that rod holder, huh? Surf fishing? Hehe.

Steve caught this nice little fella at Driscoll Pond. Despite sizes, it's always so pleasant to see how active fish can be during cold periods of the year.

Little Sunnies are always welcome. Bluegills, Pumpkin Seeds, Red Breast Sunfish, Green Sunfish...I like all of them! As a matter of fact, they are beautiful fish, not to mention that they are wonderful fighters on an Ultralight.

Can't leave out the Black Crappies! When Winter arrives, nothing better than catching some Crappies!

Steve with another little fella, also at Driscoll.

--- November 18th, Manayunk Canal ---

Compared to the previous day, the weather was certainly worse: cloudy and windy. Even so, my friend Erik K. and I decided to go fishing at the Manayunk Canal for a little bit.

I have to say that I was very surprised when it comes to the water clarity at the Canal! Compared to the Summer, the water so much clearer! I was able to see all the way through, not to mention the wonderful "snag spots" from Summer: two supermarket carts between Fountain and Main, one huge tire under the bridge, two old bicycles under the Main st bridge, a construction cart, among other "delicacies and rarities." You know, guys...the sense of exploring is an unique feeling! Being able to see what's under the water comforts my heart in certain ways.

Anyways...we tried a little bit for Largemouth Bass without success. The water was super clear, shallow than usual, and very cold! We spotted two schools of Gizzard Shad (1lb average), one yellow Koi, and one Largemouth Bass.

We ended up fishing for Carp, since the Koi kind of got us excited. Result: skunked, both of us. Heh.

I took only one picture of the scenery after Erik left (he left because he couldn't stand the cold):
Carping at the canal. No fish, though. =(

--- November 21st, Pennypack Creek ---

I was craving for some Trout fishing, so I went to the Pennypack Creek between Bustleton and Roosevelt Boulevard for a quick 1-hour fishing session.

I took off from the bus 14 at Roosevelt Boulevard (before Welsh), making my way to the Axe Factory Dam. Surprisingly enough, the trail was dead. Not surprisingly enough, the Creek was also dead! =/

I managed to land one Rainbow Trout on the corn, under the dam. The fish wasn't very big, but it gave a beautiful jump while fighting!

Picture is below:

Only catch of the day! The Pennypack Creek is, unfortunately, dead...

And...this concludes the fishing sessions for November - 2012.