December Fishing Sessions (Last Update: Closed)

Hello, Dear Readers!
 
Here's the post for my fishing sessions during the month of December. Don't forget that this post is uploaded by fishing session (when I have time); therefore, it's always good to come back here and check for new updates.

Below is a video that I made recently. I've decided to upload it here in low quality, and I think I'll upload this video in every monthly fishing session's post. You can watch the high quality version of this video here. As always, and I emphasize: practice CPR - Catch, Photo, Release (or practice Selective Harvest), and preserve the Environment! Otherwise, there will be no more fishing in the future.

video
  

 --- December 1st, The Ponds ---

To start with, Mike Hsiao uploaded one more video on his Youtube Channel:

Accidentally snagging fish while fishing for Bass fishing.

I have to say - Mike's got an art when it comes to snagging fish. Believe it or not, snagging fish is usually very difficult! Let's not forget that snagging on purpose is illegal (i.e. snagging with a bare treble hook); however, snagging fish accidentally while fishing for other Species of fish is something that we can't really control. Keep this is mind, guys!
 
Believe it or not, the name of the location is "The Ponds." They are a set of ponds located next to each other in Downingtown, PA, fed by a small creek. I went there with my friend Erik K. last week, expecting to get some Largemouth Bass. The conditions were not all bad - the weather was fair, sunny, not windy; and the place was empty. The Ponds were partially deep, having moderate vegetation on the bottom.
 
We fished The Ponds for a good while without any luck! As a matter of fact, all we saw with our polarized lenses were 2 Bluegills swimming around, nothing else. Personally, I was quite disappointed with the lack of fishes in the ponds, expecting them all to be hidden in the middle of the ponds - among the vegetation. Therefore, I swifted my gears to Carp fishing while Erik continued his journey for the feisty Bass.  
 
It turned out that the fishes really didn't cooperate with us. I finished the day with one Common Carp (7lbs) on my ultralight (you can see the video here), 4lb test, and a piece of corn on a size 12 hook. The video is a little bit boring, but you can see the fish giving a couple runs, and my "hand break" system for Carp fishing. The idea is simple: you leave your drag quite loose, and you use your fingers as a "break" to control and tire the fish. I love this technique because the tension on the line is very low, and you can play the fish 100%! On the other hand, I hardly advise using this technique when there are obstacles around your fishing spot; in other words, I don't recommend this technique if Carp can actually run into structure or under cover.
 
Anyways...it was a beautiful day, and it was great to explore a new fishing location. Thank you so much for the introduction, Erik. Pictures are below, guys:
 
I took this picture as soon as I arrived. Beautiful place, isn't it? Nature is certainly a wonderful entity.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A Bald Eagle flying around. If you want, you can save this picture in your computer (right click + save as), and zoom it in in the Windows picture viewer. Although the resolution is not great (max focus at 18 megapixels), It's still beautiful! 

A good picture of Pond number one, which is the closest to the Stores. It was dead when we got there, but it's probably a wonderful fishing spot during Spring/Summer.

A nice view of Pond number three. This is where I set up my Carping rod, patiently waiting for something to fall into the trap. Heh.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" the "Alligator" in the middle of the Pond! Actually, I found this idea of putting a fake alligator head into the pond quite neat. The objective is to scare the geese away, and seriously? There were no geese around! I think FDR and some other places need some of these, seriously.

And the final catch: a 7lb Common Carp that fought really well! Truly a warrior for Late Fall season. Beautiful too.

--- December 2nd, Haddon Lake/Audubon Lake  ---

Updated the 2012 statistical fishing chart up to November 17th. Included data from: FDR Park (10/09), Pennypack Creek (10/14, 10/15, 11/16), Schuylkill River (10/21, 11/02, 11/06, 11/12, 11/17), Wissahickon Creek (10/22, 10/23, 10/26), Hopkins Pond (10/28), Driscoll Pond (11/03, 11/04, 11/17), and Cooper River (11/03, 11/04, 11/17).

Mike Hsiao and I planned this trip to Haddon Lake a couple days in advance, both expecting for some awesome fishing. To begin with, Haddon Lake was stocked with 190 Winter Trout, which is awesome, not to mention that Mike did exceptionally well with the Largemouth Bass on his last trip there. You can watch the video of him catching some LMB on a rattletrap here.

We arrived there 7:15 a.m.. I started to fish at one far end of the Lake, where there's water input. Mike decided to start by fishing the other far end, where the water output is. For 15 minutes or so, I tried a couple different baits for the Trout, but I was able to land only Bluegills.

Soon, around 7:40 a.m., Mike and I were both fishing where the water goes out to Audubon. I set my rods for Trout/Carp while he was actively fishing for Largemouth Bass. I have to say...during the next couple hours, I didn't get a single bite. While I was waiting for the Carp/Trout to bite, Mike decided to go to Audubon to give it a shot.

He first stopped at the spillway - the junction of Audubon and Haddon Lakes. He was using a metal blade bait, trying to get a Largemouth. Theoretically speaking, that's the perfect place for the Bass to stay at, since there's water current, structure, and even enough depth for them. First couple casts, Mike snagged a Gizzard Shad. Soon came a Bluegill, a Black Crappie (actually 2 in one cast), and a Golden Shiner. Seriously, right? I don't know what gift God gave my friend Mike, but snagging 4 Species of fish accidentally is no joke! The probability of that happening is already very low. Anyways...it just happened that all different types of fish were concentrated in that little area, which is more than enough to say that there MUST be a Bass there with so much baitfish. 

Mike failed to catch any Bass there, and moved on. While he did so, I thought about performing an interesting experiment to "unveil" Mike's secret abilities when it comes to snagging (Hahaha). Okay, without jokes now - I wanted to know if Mike's aggressive fishing style influenced in his accidental snaggings. If so, how? Therefore, I gathered my gear and changed my lure for a metal blade lure.

The results were quite surprising, actually. While both of us tried to catch Largemouth Bass using the same blade, the different twitching techniques that we used showed different results when it comes to snagging. In other words, picture a little body of water full of fish. Now, think: what are the chances of foul-hooking one of those fish when you cast your lure around them, and how does your hand technique influences in that percentage ratio? The results that you will find can be quite shocking, or even depressing: not every one's technique is apt to snag a fish. Therefore, for some people, even if they wanted to, they wouldn't be able to.

Interesting data, indeed.     

Pictures of some fish from the spillway are below. We ended the day without any Trout, Carp, or Largemouth Bass.

Surprisingly enough, this guy was hooked on its mouth. The main question here is: what are the chances that he was actually snagged from his mouth? Scientifically speaking, the chances and circumstances must be very specific for this kind of snagging to occur, hence the mouth of the fish is 98% of times closed. Therefore, does that mean that he actually tried to attack the lure? Does that mean that most of fish that get snagged are actually trying to prey or kill the bigger lure? Many questions remain empty for now.

A little Golden Shiner from the spillway, suffering some kind of Internal hemorrhaging close to his tail. Until this day, I never knew they were in the Audubon Lake. 
 
 --- December 5th, Concourse/Centennial Lake ---

After two years fishing in Philadelphia, I first heard of the Concourse and Centennial Lakes from my good fishing friend - Mike Hsiao. He tried there a couple times for Largemouth Bass, but only ended snagging fish (seriously, right?). If you want to check his videos on Centennial Lake, click on the links below:


So, I felt quite sad that I never noticed these two Lakes since I came here to Philadelphia. "How could I have missed them, huh?" - I thought for myself. Truth is that I saw them before while riding the bus in West Philly, but never really went there to give it a try.

First, a little bit of the history of the place...

In reality, the Concourse Lake was one of the best spots in West Philly until the 1960's, when water quality started to drop. People from the neighborhood would bring their families to the Concourse Lake for a nice family time, and some decent fishing! Largemouth Bass, Common Carp, Black and White Crappies, the regular Sunnies (Bluegills, Green Sunfish), and Channel Catfish were all inside there at a certain point in time. And not the small ones - big ones! Other activities included swimming, Picnicking, etc. In other words, the Concourse Lake is another golden spot that slowly died as the World moved on. With urban sprawl and more sewage systems, the quality of the water decreased dramatically. Henceforth, the fish either migrated to the Centennial Lake, and then the Schuylkill River, or they died there from acid shock.

The fact that Mike actually snagged a Slab there (big Crappie - 1lb+) gave me the chills! For once an all, I thought I would finally find a spot for decent Black Crappies in Philadelphia, and not just some stunted little pond with Black Crappies below 5 inches. I arrived at the Centennial Lake by taking the bus 38 from 15th and JFK (drops you right next to it, another option is the Bus 40 from 2nd and something. Look it up at Septa.org). My hope was high, and the weather was awesome - no wind, and warm for a change.

I set up one of my rods for corn, wishing for Carps; and the other one with a little Gulp! Minnow on a float, 18 inches of line below. I used this set up for quite a while at Centennial Lake, and finished there with tons of Black Crappie below 5 inches! It was such a disappointment on one hand, but also a pleasure to see that there's at least one place in Philadelphia that offers action at all times of the year (that place can even be Ice fished for Crappies, although sizes are not bit). Plus, we all know now that there's at least a 1 one-pound Crappie inside that place! There is hope! Other than that, I caught a couple Sunnies. No signs of life on my corn rod. No baby Catfish or Carp.

Anglers in West Philly; especially ones with kids - Bring your kids to Centennial Lake when you have a chance! Maybe your kids will get their first Crappies over there, which is such a FUN WAY to fish! Give them a bobber, and a little minnow like lure or even a piece of nightcrawler, and the constant action can make a kid very happy and maybe attached to fishing for life!

After fishing the Centennial Lake for almost 2 hours, I left and walked to the Concourse Lake - the great Lake in West Philly half a century ago. I tried there for another hour without a SINGLE bite. That place seems to be completely dead! Although, I'll go back there during Spring/Summer to fish on the bottom, and check if there are any Big Catties or Big Carp left inside!  

And the most frustrating thing for me was the fact that I didn't catch or see a single White Crappie there! Philadelphia, in general, lacks White Crappie. The only place that I know around here for having White Crappies is the Lake Luxembourg - a.k.a. Cores Creek, in Northeast Philadelphia. The sign at Centennial and Concourse Lakes point out that there are White Crappies in them; however, no signs of it...

Anyways, guys, you should go there and see it for yourselves! Pictures are below:

A picture of the Centennial Lake, which is located right next to the "Please Touch Museum."

One of the many Black Crappies from the Centennial Lake. Apparently, IT IS stunted with Black Crappie.

A view of the Concourse Lake, a place where kids used to swim and adults used to fish during the 1950's.

Another view of the Concourse Lake. Notice the lumps above the water - those are perfect structures for Largemouth Bass and other Species of fish! (only if there are fishes inside)

Finally, one last picture of the Centennial Lake from another point of view. The road is on the left-top.

Note to the public: now, people want to restore these two Lakes using 300 million dollars, which is money that comes out of every citizen's pocket. Not only that, the water quality of the place as for now is really bad...and the water of the Concourse flows into the Centennial, which flows into the Schuylkill River, which is the water that we drink since 1801. 

--- December 7th, Driscoll Pond  ---

I have to say, guys...I've been in many crazy situations since I came to United States, but nothing like what happened this day. The plan for the day was to go Carping at Driscoll Pond! As always, I took the Market-Frankford line (blue line) to the 8th street station; then, shifted to the PATCO line until Haddonfield.

I arrived at Haddonfield around 9:30 a.m.. I was carrying my regular gear - my blue back-pack from Bass Pro Shop, and my Plano fishing case . It's always a pleasant walk from the train station to the Pond through Kings Highway - a good 20 minutes walking exercise.

I arrived at the Pond right when it started raining. The forecast for the whole day was actually rain - 80% precipitation. Well...rain doesn't really stop me from fishing! Heh. I set up 2 rods for Carp, chumming my spot with corn, and the last rod with a "Gulp! Minnow" for Sunnies and Black Crappies. After my second cast or so, a police car came to Driscoll Pond. Followingly, came a second car. In less than thirty seconds, there were 4 cop cars at Driscoll Pond, and 2 on the street! Seriously, guys...I was the only one there, and I was thinking: "What the hell is going on?! Am I in trouble?!" Evidently, they were looking for me. After all, I was really the only individual around the Pond.

Three officers came out of their cars, and one of them started walking towards me with his hand on his gun grip. He asked me if I had a "gun case," and then, everything made sense! I showed him my fishing case, the fishing rods, and he apologized. He took some information from me (name, address, date of birth), and apologized once again. Just before leaving, he said: "Someone reported a suspicious Asian male walking around with a gun case."

Seriously? Seriously??? I mean...someone actually saw me on the street, saw my fishing case, and reported me to 911? Even after the same saw the little Bass logo on my Bass Pro Shop Bag? My friend Erik K. said something that made sense to me: "Gun cases are not made of cloth material, but rather plastic or metal." I understand that the population can be ignorant of fishing accessories - that's very understandable. Even anglers don't hear a lot about the "Plano" company, which makes fishing gears. Still...that was a bit extreme for me. Hah.

Going back to the fishing...it was an AWESOME day at Driscoll Pond! Instead of a Carp, I caught 5 different Species in one day. It's quite sad that I wasn't able to catch a Carp in the end, but the rest of the fishes were all very rewarding (especially the Brown Bullhead).

First,  I got a bunch of Bluegills and Black Crappies on the Crappie jig - a Gulp! Minnow on a 1/32 oz. jig head. Between casts, I was able to nail a small Largemouth Bass on the same bait, which made me extremely happy! I fished the end portion of the Pond for quite a while, but the Carp rods were totally dead. Therefore, I had decided to move to where the water comes in - the other side of the Pond.

Once again, I set 2 rods for Carp (chumming a new spot) while fishing with a third rod for Crappies and Sunnies. First surprise was a small Yellow Perch that swallowed the little minnow on my jig. Soon after, I had a single bite on my Carp rod. I watched the rod carefully fora couple minutes after that, but no more bites at all! Everything was still, until the line suddenly went slack. I set up the hook, and got rewarded with an AWESOME BROWN BULLHEAD! The size of both fishes was to laugh for; however, the fishes were just beautiful. It really made my day to see that those Species were actually present there! And even better...I kept imagining about the possibilities of them not being "loners;" in other words, about the fact that they could reproduce and populate that little Pond one day.

Everyday, fishing is just different. It's never the same. It's like a little box full of surprises that change day-by-day, and you won't know what's inside until you open it. And when you open it again, you realize that what was inside the other day is gone, but what's new can be even better!

Below are the pictures of my little trip. Enjoy:

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" 4 cop cars chasing a "Suspicious male Asian carrying a 'gun case' on Kings Highway," finally finding him fishing at Driscoll Pond.

Driscoll Pond has some nice Bluegills in it, and the coloration of every different Species of fish there is good.

Another healthy Bluegill. This time you can compare its size with the size of my hand.

The little Largemouth Bass caught on the Gulp! Minnow. Beautiful, isn't it? LMB always make me feel at ease.

If you read my other posts on Driscoll Pond before, you know that there is a stunted population of Black Crappie in the Pond. Surprisingly enough, Black Crappie tend to feed on small fishes (fingerlings). Of course, Driscoll Lake doesn't have enough food to offer; therefore, the Black Crappie stop developing at a certain point.  

Small Yellow Perch caught at Driscoll Pond - certainly a rarity there! The most exciting factor after catching a fish like this is the "imagination." After catching something rare, questions start to come: "Where did this fish come from? How far did it have to travel to get here? How old is it? Is it the only one in this body of water? Doesn't it feel lonely by itself, if it is a loner?" Many questions, few answers!

Beautiful Brown Bullhead caught on a single piece of kernel corn. He was very likely feeding on the chum, when he suddenly picked up the hook. Notice the color of this particular fish: Brown Bullheads are truly BEAUTIFUL.

Never lip a Bullhead (Yellow or Brown)! They bite, and they don't let go easily. Not only that, handle them with extra care: their fins are sharper than those of a Channel Catfish, and they are more poisonous as well.

A picture of the Driscoll Lake. Small, but with a golden variety of fish.

--- December 8th, Haddon/Audubon Lake ---

Fishing with friends is always fun, isn't it? This trip to Haddon Lake wasn't really "planned" by everyone, but we all just decided to show up there on the same Saturday. First, I arrived with Mike H. around 11:30 a.m.. Upon arrival, we saw Rob Z. with his friend Mike B. fishing for Trout at the far end of the Lake. Around noon, Erik K. joined us, and Vince came a little bit later. Quite the crew for early December, huh? Dedication, guys! Rob Z., Mike B. and I were going for Trout whereas Mike H., Erik K., and Vince where going for Largemouth Bass.

It was a good, pleasant day! The weather wasn't really bad (not really chilly), and it was nice seeing the fishing crew again. After talking to Rob Z., I learned that they arrived there at 9 a.m., but they didn't have much success with the Trout. They cast some spinners, still-fished, and nothing. At that point, Rob and Mike B. just decided to rely on the old Power Bait, and set their rods on the other side of the Lake, where the water input is. Mike H., Vince, and Erik K. walked all around the lake in pursuit of Largemouth Bass. No results whatsoever! Pretty frustrating. I decided to walk around, cast my spinner, and got no bites at all! So, finally, I set up my rods with Power Bait where the water comes out, for some still fishing.

I have to say...fishing sometimes is just very unpredictable! All the catches came when everyone was leaving (the old "just 5 more minutes" type of thing). Vince and Mike B. ended up getting skunked. Well...it happens for most of the time during early Winter season. Rob Z. caught his Trout limit (4 for NJ) all on Power Bait! That was utterly awesome. He actually caught his last Trout just minutes before leaving the location. See, guys? Staying until the END really pays off from time to time. I can't recall how many times I've caught a fish just minutes before leaving, and thought after the catch: "This wouldn't have happened if I left!"

Erik K. caught a Largemouth Bass on a weightless rubber worm, totally by "accident!" His split shot fell off during the cast, and when he started to reel it in, there was a fish on! Heh. Let's not forget that Largemouth bites are very soft during Winter, and most of the times, it can't even be detected. Just after he landed his Largemouth, Mike H. hooked into a nice 2.5lber LMB! He was using his "retarded Bluegill" technique - just leaving a little Bluegill swimming around weightlessly. It was a beautiful Bass! Swallowed the whole thing!

After a bit, Mike H. and Rob Z. left...Erik K. and I decided to go fishing for Carp at Audubon Lake. We chummed the spot with corn (just a little bit - remember: the Carp's metabolism slows down during Winter, meaning that they eat less), and waited. I finished the day with one Common Carp, which gave me a LOT of trouble! I was using an ultralight setup with 4lb test line (fluorocarbon). The fish managed to get my line snagged on a piece of half-submerged branch. Took me about 2 minutes (and patience) to get my line off the branch, when the Carp decided to swim through a hollow submerged vase! My line was basically going through the vase, and I was having a hard time making the fish swim its way back while thinking about the pressure of the vase on my 4lb test line. Luckily, it didn't snap, and fish made its way back. It was a pain, and the Carp got unhooked a couple feet from me. So, I managed to take a picture of it in the water. Good fighter...very very wise. Hehe.    

Pictures are below. Enjoy, guys:

Rob Z. with a fat Rainbow Trout from Haddon Lake, caught on a piece of floating Power Bait. He caught his limit (4), which is certainly awesome! Congrats, Rob! You got 4 dinners now.

Erik K. with his Largemouth Bass...so lucky, right? He didn't even feel the fish, but hey...it was a fish. I can't remember how many times I've read those fishing magazines (Bassin', In-line Fisherman, Bassmaster, North American Fisherman), and even the Pros admit: "I didn't feel a thing, but it was just there."

Mike H. with his 2.5lber caught on his "retarded Bluegill" technique. The hooked Bluegill behaves differently than the rest, giving the Bass the idea of an injured fish. It's the old scientific approach: an anomaly, which is spotted.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" or even better - "Thing that you don't see when you don't follow the source of the water:" Yellow Boy mixing with freshwater. This picture is of a little stream, just before where the water comes into Haddon Lake. On the right, there's a pipe that releases acid mine drainage into the water. What exactly IS acid mine drainage? It's the outflow of acidic water from metal/coal mines, which are usually already abandoned (recall that PA and NJ had many coal mines, and now we are paying for it). When the highly acidic water comes in contact with neutral freshwater, like the picture above, a yellow substance is formed from certain chemical reactions (Iron(III) ions precipitate as Iron(III) hydroxide, which is "yellow"). This yellow substance is known as "Yellow Boy." This is a serious thing, guys! This water damages a whole aquatic ecosystem, not to mention that it can cause acid shock in fishes when it is present in high quantities. Being a fisherman, I've seen Yellow Boy in many different areas already: The FDR Park (little stream close to the furthest tennis court), Kirkwood Lake, Newton Lake, Haddon Lake, etc. Watch out for the Yellow Boy!

Erik K. waiting for his Carp to come. It never came, after all; however, Carping is just like testing one's patience...all while enjoying the scenery and nature. I'm far from a Philosopher, but I can certainly tell that a lot of Wisdom comes from Carping.

This Carp that got away! Good fighter, indeed. Very wise fish.

--- December 9th, Grenloch Lake ---

The original plan for the day was to stay home due to the rain, and just upload the Blog and stuff. Things changed, though. Hehe. It was around 11 a.m. that I got a text message from my friend Rob Z., proposing a trip to Grenloch Lake in NJ. I didn't think twice! I arranged my gear, took a shower, and left the house.

Grenloch had a pretty serious oil spill during the Spring of this year, and the place was even closed for fishing for a certain period of time. Thankfully, the aquatic ecosystem was not affected as much as they had expected. The fishes didn't suffer at all, which is a good sign. So, with the cleaning and everything set by the government, Grenloch was once again stocked with Winter Trout!

The plan for Rob Z. and I was to get to the Lake, and land some BIG stuff. Pretty simple plan, right? Haha. Both Rob Z. and I heard many legends of that place; however, the fishes there are quite difficult to catch. Rob heard about big Brook Trouts in Grenloch, and 20lbs+ Common Carp as well! I heard from locals at Haddon Lake that anglers have pulled 7lb+ Largemouth Bass from Grenloch Lake. Well...it certainly sounds like a good spot, huh?

We arrived there at noon. We decided to fish the end of the Lake first, where the water output was. We set up our rods there: Rob set up all of his rods with Power Bait while I set up 2 of mine with Power Bait, and 1 with corn for a possible Carp. We fished there for a good hour or two without a single bite. Both of us decided that it was time to move....

We walked around the Lake tossing little pieces of corn. We went to every dock, threw a couple pieces of corn in the water, and watched for some possible action. Nothing. Therefore, after our little failure, we decided to pick a deep spot, and set up our rods there for the rest of the day.

Six rods in the water until 4 p.m., and no bites. We ended the day by getting skunked, unable to find any monsters. We did see some movements around - splashes, and certain fishes creating waves...It's not like the Lake was empty or something.

Hopefully we will catch something next time! I took some pictures of the locations:   


Rob standing at the output site of the Lake. 3 rods with Power Bait, and no bites at all.
 
I took a picture from my point of view. The rod to the right was the one with corn, and the two on the left were with Power bait.

Six rods in the water, and no bites for an hour or so. It was quite a deception, but still worth the experience. One of these days, we will catch some monsters there!

--- December 14th, Wissahickon Creek ---

I did a very quick session at the Wissahickon Creek for Rainbow Trout. As usual, I took the R bus from Frankford Transportation Center all the way to the Wissahickon Transfer Center, which takes about 45 minutes of my time. Then, add 30 minutes of walking to Forbidden drive, and you have 1:15 minutes just to get there!

Arriving at the spot, I set up my single rod with one piece of kernel corn on a size 12 hook, 2lb Fluorocarbon test line (notice that this line was made for LEADER purposes! I mastered it on the reel). First cast, I nailed a nice 14 inches Rainbow Trout. I went to grab my camera, and finally realized that I left it at home (what a bummer, huh?). Anyways...I fished for 20 minutes there, and caught my limit of 3 fish. I guess they were extra hungry! Heh.

It takes an average of 2:30 hours to go and come back from that spot by public transportation, all for 20 minutes of fishing. Is it worth it? I guess this question goes with every one's different sense of values. For me, it's very worth it. I use public transportation all the time, and that is definitely not a bad thing. I don't have to worry about parking or the safety of my car, or even paying extra bills (insurance, maintenance, gas). I can actually read a nice book while riding the bus/subway, meaning that I'm using my time constructively, or even just relax with some music or my Nintendo DS. By using mass transportation, I'm also being environmentally "green" - one less car pumping CO2 in the air, etc. The walk from the bus/train stations to the fishing spots are usually a very good source of physical exercise. During the time that I was learning nursing in college, there was the "30 minutes rule" in the nutrition class: "30 minutes of exercise a day can decrease your chances of having a heart attack, heart problems by X percentage" (varies from person to person, and diet). And, of course, I got my dinner for the day!

Of course this is just my point of view. There are people out there that would take time as a factor, comfort, convenience, and so on. For me, it's just economical and simple. Kind of my daily source of reading time and exercise too! Sometimes, I do think about how things would be if more people used public transportation. By sacrificing that little extra comfort and time, how beneficial would that be to the planet Earth? That's something deep to think about.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of fish today. I did take an interesting picture at home that I want to comment on:

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" Roe. A lot of "fish eggs." Now, question of the day? How many fish eggs do you estimate the picture above to have?
 
The photo above is one of the main reasons why I practice selective harvest. In other words: harvest only what you are going to eat (never waste fish); harvest when it's not spawning time (save future generations of fish); harvest only Species that are LEGAL and above its creel size (be a good citizen) and not a rarity in certain body of water (put trophy fish and rare Species back). Using this little rule, we would have so many more fish to fish for! Killing one "pregnant" 5lb Largemouth Bass is the same as killing 2 million fishes (rough estimate) at the same time. It's true that only a small percentage of those fishes would survive and grow up; however, better to have percentages that are low than killing a pregnant fish and lower the survival chances of its future kids to ZERO. So, guys...do your best to know about each fish's spawning seasons, and practice CPR - Catch, Photo, Release - during that period of time.

Trout, on the other hand, are quite a different story for me. Before judging me for posting such an outrageous picture on a public post, I ask you to consider the fact that Trout are STOCKED by the Boat and Commission. The reason I don't really regret taking Trout from Trout waters for my meals(never waste it!) is in the fact that they were born and raised with the solely purpose of ending up on a dining table. They weren't even originally from the Wissahickon, or the Pennypack. They were stocked. Surprisingly, a lot of anglers don't know that the Trout are actually stocked; and a big part of the local residents think that the Trout are native to those waters. If you think about it, it's very similar to how Chinese people farm raise Tilapias for human consumption, and export those all around the World (maybe the last Tilapia that you ate in a certain restaurant was farm-raised from China). The difference is that we have to fish for the Trout, and not just buy it from the market. That's the fun of it, isn't it? The feeling of catching your meal - one of the very first feelings imbued in human nature, directly related to survival. As a matter of fact, think about it: where does the money for raising all these Trout come from? The answer is quite simple: a big portion of it comes from our pocket (fishing license, Trout Stamp). Therefore, partially, we are paying for these fish even if we don't fish for them. 
 
I've talked about Trout stockings with a couple people, and one of my friends (Chris E.) said something very interesting: "A huge sum of money is used for the Trout fisheries. Why not take a portion of that money, and invest in other Species of fish? Why only Trout? Why not invest part of that money in stocking Largemouth Bass in certain bodies of water for catch and release?" Truth is that the Boat and Commission do stock some bodies of water with other kinds of fish. They have stocked the Delaware and the Schuylkill with Tiger Muskies nearly 3 decades ago; they have stocked the FDR Park with Channel Catfish a couple years ago; and so on. However, I do agree with the fact that they could use a portion of that money to actually stock more of some other kinds of fish (giving emphasis to Bass).    
 
Now, finally going back to the main question! Obviously, I did not count the roe egg-by-egg. I carefully shaped the roe like a sphere, did a couple measurements (size of an average egg, radius of the sphere), and used spherical coordinates to integrate over the whole area. The result that came out was an estimate of 2376.4 eggs. Therefore, if you estimated around this value, congratulations! That was a VERY GOOD guess. Just remember: practice Selective Harvest, and CPR.
 
 --- December 16th, Haddon Lake/Schuylkill River ---

Mike H. and I went to Haddon Lake in the afternoon for a quick fishing session. Mike H. was targeting Chain Pickerel (he heard that they bite good during dusk in cold weather). I decided to stick with my Rainbow Trout.

There were a couple people fishing there, as usual: a couple Trout fishermen still-fishing, and one guy fly-fishing for Trout (he got a couple Sunnies/Crappies). The Lake was pretty calm for a Sunday, maybe because it was pretty chilly. Mike started to walk around the Lake with his spinner on, and I set up two of my rods with Power Bait for the Trout.

We fished for two hours, and he didn't get a single Pickerel, and I didn't get a single Trout. Hahaha. It's really disappointing when you set up a plan, and it totally ends up in failure, isn't it? Well...I was able to land a couple Bluegills/Calicos on the side with my third rod: ultralight with a Crappie rig (Gulp! Minnows). Not a single bite on the Powerbait. =(

Pictures are below:

Haddon at 3:30p.m. Pretty empty for a Sunday.

A beautiful Black Crappie (Calico Bass) on the ultralight. Awesome fighters, seriously!

Traditional Bluegill. Haddon Lake is FILLED with them.
 
After coming back to Philadelphia, I had some dinner in Center City (Thai Singha house in University City). I was ready to go home; however, I saw my friend Calvin L. fishing on the Schuylkill Banks, between Walnut and Chestnut. As I arrived, he had told me that he was doing good there with chicken livers (landed 2 before I went there). So, I fished the Schuylkill for 1 hour or so (using corn - hah), and ended up not catching anything there. =( Worth the time, though...it was a beautiful evening.
 
"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" Lights and rain on the Schuylkill Banks, Center City, Philadelphia.
 
--- December 17th, Lake Luxembourg ---
 
After a long time, I finally went back to Lake Luxembourg (Core Creek Park) for some extreme fishing! It just happens that my sister lives very close to it; so, I go fishing there every time I go visit her.
 
During the past year or so, I had always fished the end of the Lake (where the water output is), especially on those little wooden docks. It was just recently that I found out a new spot that is very productive during Winter. It's a little spillway behind the main Lake, which connects Lake Luxembourg to Core Creek (not the Park, but the Creek itself). Now...here are the pros and the cons of the spot:
 
Pros:
 
- The temperature of the water is particularly higher in this spot because there is water coming from other places (maybe part of the Bucks County sewage system?). Therefore, this spot holds fish.
 
- Fish get literally washed down from the Luxembourg Lake to the Core Creek. I'm not sure what is going on, seriously. There should be screens around the water output, so fish wouldn't be able to swim by it. Apparently, either the screens are broken or there weren't any screens to begin with. Concluding: fish gets washed down to this little spillway at a constant rate! Black Crappies, stocked Rainbow Trout, small Common Carps, American Eels, White Perch, Channel Catfish...everything gets washed down there!
 
Cons:
 
- Supposing that the other pipes are part of the sewage system, and taking in consideration that there are Gizzard Shad there (filter feeders), one can expect the fish there not to be edible if the same is already there for a long period of time. Take in consideration that I'm taking my own risks by taking the Trout from this spot, hence I don't know how long they have been there. After adaptation, it's like harvesting fish from a sewage system! So...if you like to eat fish, I highly recommend you to CPR most Species there (the Trout is the only one I would take).
 
- If you look at the picture below, you will see that you HAVE to fish in-between metal bars. Wonderful, huh? You can't just be the average fisherman, but you have to have the maneuvers to land the fish. The space between bars is about 6-8 inches - more than enough space to bring the fish up. There's another problem, though: if you get a Carp, for example...you have to be EXTRA careful to not let your line touch the metal (it can snap), not to mention that you have to let the Carp run in a very awkward position. And....there's the last problem: after tiring the fish up, you need to scoop the fish up. Chances are that your line will either snap or the Carp will unhook due to its weight. So, you need a net. Being more specific, you need a net that can drop down 8 feet from the bars, which is the vertical distance between the bar and the water. My Balzer net does its job, but I understand that not everyone has a 8 feet range net. So...you are advised of the difficulties of the spot!
 
- Finally, there's the last con: the "confusing" no trespassing sign. On the third picture below, you can see an orange sign that says "No Trespassing." Using common sense, one knows that the metal bar area is legal to fish, then. After all, the private area starts BEHIND the "no trespassing" sign, and the spillway is in front of it. I talked to many different locals about this spot, and they told me this con from different perspectives. One of them said that some Park Rangers allow you to fish there because you are not breaking the law as far as you don't pass the sign. In other words, you are not trespassing private property. Someone else told me that some Rangers tell you that the area you are fishing in is, indeed, illegal to fish! Frustrated with this response, I asked the local: "But hey...wait a second. Where does it say here that you can't fish this spillway? There are no signs saying "no fishing," or signs saying "no trespassing" here, where we are. The private property starts AFTER the sign." Here's where the confusion comes in...the local told me to follow him - he said a Ranger showed him something very interesting in the past as an argument to support his claim that the spillway is a "private" place. So, we went BEHIND the sign and the fence (yes, we trespassed for a couple seconds), and I was in shock, Readers! What I saw was something that we would call an "Anomaly" in Mathematics or Physics. The other side of the "no trespassing sign" should be blank, just a plain piece of silver metal. However, the other side of this particular sign was painted the same as the FRONT - "No Trespassing!" What the heck?! So, a person looking at the sign from the spillway thinks that the Creek is private - no trespassing! Another person looking at the sign from the Creek will think that the spillway is private. Believing that these two people are actually lawful, they would never pass the sign; therefore, they would never know that the other side has the same message as the side he/she sees.
 
Isn't that interesting? Look at it from a Mathematical perspective...This is like a Mathematical Boundary problem! The sign should cover only 180 degrees, which is the half circle that emanates from behind the source (the sign). Any area in-between the 180 degrees would be an illegal area. But this sign is covering 360 degrees, a FULL circle from its source. That means that everything around it is illegal to access until the emanating circle hits another "source" (another no trespassing sign). Hahaha...that's why it's an anomaly. After I saw the sign, I couldn't help but to bring Science in and say: "This is impossible. It's like the 'don't step in the grass' sign type of joke." 
 
So...if you can deal with all these cons, you are ready to fish this wonderful spot! In my opinion, the pros definitely beat the cons - after all, it's a little treasured body of water, where all fishes stay at during the Winter.
 
Particularly, I did very well there. I was using corn for the day, and finished the day with 12 Common Carps (biggest at 6lbs), 2 Rainbow Trout (on the bottom, on the corn), and 2 Black Crappie on the "Gulp! Minnow." Considering the fact that a Carp will not bite twice after hooked (it will bite again after a while), there are at least 12 Carps in that little spot. Good, huh?
 
Pictures are below:
 
Lake Luxembourg certainly has some very beautiful Rainbow Trout! Magnificent colors and shapes - a good sign of healthy fish. It's a shame, though, that most of the stocked Trout actually gets washed AWAY from the main Lake. Therefore, there are Trout in Core Creek from Lake Luxembourg.

One of the many Carps caught that day. They all fought wonderfully, and they were all brought up with my Balzer Metallic net.

The spot, as you can see: you have to fish between the metal bars. In other words, you have a couple extra challenges here, which should make things more fun. At the back, the "anomaly:" the back and forth "no trespassing sign." 

A view of the main Lake: Lake Luxembourg. Be aware that it's forbidden to fish on the ROCKS. Everywhere else is good!
 
--- December 18th, Lake Luxembourg ---
 
Since the fishing was so good at Lake Luxembourg, I went back the next day for some more fish! It was a little bit colder than Monday, so I expected to see less people fishing around the Lake. For my surprise, it was quite the opposite: there were 3 people fishing close to the rocks (water output) on a boat, 2 people fishing on the wooden docks, and 1 guy fishing on the little pond next to the spillway (which is, or should be, illegal).
Once again, I set up my rods with the same rig: 1 oz bullet sinker, swivel, and size 12 hook. I used corn for the entire session (11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), finishing with 3 Common Carp. No signs of Trout; however, someone there left evidences of a HUGE Black Crappie. Apparently, someone caught and harvested a big Crappie. The person decided to clean the fish right at the location, leaving all the fish scales on the grass. The biggest Crappie that I've seen there was 14 inches, truly a SLAB. That fish was so beautiful...
 
Anyways...Pictures are below. Enjoy:  

 
Same spot from another angle. This place is on the bottom of a cliff. In other words, there's less wind there if the wind is coming from the cliff's direction. Heh.

Little guy caught on the corn. The Common Carp are not really big there, but they are plenty in numbers. Constant action! Also, there's a Silver Carp there (not the Species - just another morph of the Common Carp) that is beautiful! It's about 1.5lbs. I lost it while playing it, but I am definitely willing to go back for it.

That's where all the fishes are! The main question is: Would you actually eat something that comes out of this place? Once upon a time, certain fishing tribes would "smell" their sinkers in other to determine the constituents of the bottom of the Lake. They would let the lead sinker sit for a while, and smell it to determine if the bottom was made of rocks, silt, vegetation, and so on. I guess you can find your answer by doing the same over there: let your sinker sit on the bottom for a while, and smell it. As I have mentioned before, the Trout that I've tested there came out with good results: low concentration of heavy metals (safe to eat). However, that doesn't mean that every Trout there is safe to eat, especially if they are swimming there for a while. "To be or not to be," huh? =)  
 
--- December 19th, Schuylkill River ---
 
Just before my work, I stopped by the mighty Schuylkill for 2 hours of fishing (between Walnut and Chestnut). I've caught at least 1 fish on the Schuylkill Banks every month of this year, December being the exception! Thankfully, now I can say that I've caught fish on the Schuylkill every month of this year. Heh.
 
One of the biggest fallacies in fishing is to believe that Catfish bites die during cold months. Many anglers believe that Catfish are mostly active during Summer (which is true), and that they "hibernate" during Winter (Fishes don't hibernate. Click here for more details), which is not true. As a matter of fact, it's right during the end of Winter and beginning of Spring that the biggest Catfish are caught! Taking a look at different Catfish records over the World, one can see that a lot of them were caught during colder months.
 
Channel Catfish - a bottom feeder - feeds as actively as a Common Carp during Winter time. Even if both of their metabolisms slow down during colder months, they still feed. Since there's a lack of food in the surrounding environment (i.e. no bait fish), they become less finicky during colder months. Therefore, it's during a short window of time that chances rise. If you know a good spot with structure, or a deep hole with Catfish, now it's the time to try for it! Persistence is the key.
 
I fished the Schuylkill River for 2 hours in the afternoon - 1-3 p.m., ending with 2 Channel Catfish on nightcrawlers. I was truly happy that something out there was still willing to bite! Heh.
 
Pictures are below. Enjoy:
 
"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" The Seagull family "chilling" on Market Street Bridge.

A good view of Chestnut, Market, and the FDR bridged. Notice the first rod with Braided line, dropped straight-down. =)

The first little guy, caught on a piece of nightcrawler.

Both of them were caught on nightcrawlers. One measured 1.5lbs (above), and the second measure a bit over a pound. Despite sizes, I was happy enough to land a fish!
 
--- December 24th, Lake Luxembourg ---
 
Christmas was almost here; therefore, I went to my sister's house to spend the holiday with some family. Considering the fact that she lives only 15 minutes away from Core Creek Park, I had to give Lake Luxembourg another try! I was extra excited about it this time, hence I had nightcrawlers with me.
 
I arrived at my regular spot by 10:15 a.m.. I set up my rods - 2 with nightcrawlers, and 1 with corn. Nobody was around, as usual. I had the spot all by myself (Yay!). My goal for the day was to "explore" the environment; in other words, catch more Species with my new available bait. I heard from the locals that there were some Channel Cats there, as well as some White and Yellow Perch.
 
The first guy to come up on the nightcrawler was actually a beautiful Rainbow Trout - very well structured. Not long after, a second one came up! I decided that nightcrawlers were being way more effective than corn (I took current velocity as a factor as well), and switched the last rod to a nightcrawler as well. For the rest of the day, it was only fun!   
 
The catching ratio was much lower compared to the other days (I blame it partially on the current of the water - greater than last week); however, I was very pleased with the results. Apart from the Rainbow Trout, a Common Carp came up on the nightcrawler as well! Not only that, a White Perch and an American Eel were also victims to it.
 
I left the spot around 3 p.m., ending the day in a productive way. Pictures are below! Enjoy:
 
The first victim of the day: a very nice shaped Rainbow Trout. The colour and the shape of the fish were just magnificent!

Second and final Rainbow of the day. A great fighter for such a small body of water. 

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A bird in the middle of the jungle. Play time! Try to guess what kind of bird is that. =) 

A healthy looking White Perch, directly from Lake Luxembourg. Despite appearances, the Lake above does have a nice population of White Perch present in it.

It's amazing how this Common Carp sucked the whole nightcrawler in! It must have been HUNGRY! Hehe. The action was great: the rod moved once, line went slack, and then it bent all the way down. The Carp itself was small (less than 5 lbs), but the fight was still extreme! 

Same fish from a different angle. The flash of the camera made things around pretty white.Glorious fish, though. It made its way back safely.

Unexpected guest of the day: An American Eel. To tell you the truth, I didn't even notice the bite! It was only when I decided to reel my line in that I realized that I had a fish on! It was pitch-black, mature, and not very small. Tough one to handle, seriously...
 
 --- December 30th, Schuylkill River ---
 
Just before the end of the year, I went to the Schuylkill Banks to play with my luck! The day was super windy and cold (38F, "feels like 29"). The coldness usually seeps through the skin, lowering dexterity, and the wind always messes up with the fishing rods while still-fishing. It was truly a challenge, and since I love challenges.... Heh.
 
I arrived at the location around 2 p.m.. My goal for the day was to fish only for 120 minutes. People that were passing by obviously thought that I was crazy (Heh), and one of them even told me that I wasn't going to catch anything because the fishes are "sleeping" at this time of the year. Just after I set up my fishing rods, a gentleman came over on his bike to tell me that "there are lots of shit in these waters" (pardon the language). Typical of Philadelphia, huh? Hehe. He continued: "Blue Catfish, Flatheads, Channels...but mainly Channels. Big ones. 40lbs. They are in there." Hahaha. Blue Catfish, huh? I have to say that during these 2 years of fishing, I have heard a lot of wrongful information, and one little sentence that is pretty annoying: "They are in there." Well...just like any other angler, we all know that they are in there (to a certain extent), or else, we wouldn't be fishing there with hopes of catching something! Hahaha...anyways, just a funny event. The guy asked me if he could hang around, and I gave him the white flag. He left after five minutes, though - couldn't stand the cold. When leaving, he shouted: "I'm sure you will catch something! Keep trying!" (So like Mike H., man).   
 
After, no bites at all. People just kept passing and asking me what type of fish I was trying to catch there. I looked at the clock: 3:40 p.m. It was then, in the last 10 minutes of fishing, that one of my lines suddenly went slack! It couldn't be the wind because the slack was too big. Therefore, I knew it was a fish. I ran towards it and picked it up from the rod holder. Slowly, I reeled the slack line in, and felt the little thumps that the fish was giving. I set up the hook in a heartbeat, and the fish was on! I completely forgot about the cold and the wind! It was on!
 
After fighting the fish for 2 minutes, it turned out to be a 1.5lb Channel Catfish. Small, thin, and long...but hey, it was a fish! I had avoided the skunk, and I was happy with my catch. The "plan" paid off, and the hopes gave results. Isn't fishing wonderful, guys?
Ended the day with 1 fish, Ike style: I pointed up to the sky, and said to myself: "Never give up."
 
Pictures are below. Enjoy:   
 
My "Peacock" - hand warmer. 1 oz of lighter fuel can last 16 hours. The heat seeps from the metal to the skin through conduction. All you have to do while Still-fishing is told it in your hand, and you are good to go! Your little pocket source of heat, with no chances of inducing a fire. Neat, huh? 

Partially cloudy, and super windy! In days that are windy, remember to NEVER use braided line for still-fishing. Monofilament or Fluorocarbon are your best options, and lighter the test, better the "bite indicator." I like to use a heavy weight in this kind of situation (1oz or up) with light test line (10lb or below), so the wind can't make my line slack. The only way of identifying a proper fish bite in this kind of scenario is to look at the tip of your rod and wait for it to move TOTALLY horizontal from your point of view (vertically would just be the wind, not to mention that the wind applied to your fishing line makes the tip of the rod go a little bit horizontally, which often results in an amateur fisherman setting up the hook for nothing), or just see your line go slack. Since the bites during winter time are often light, you will not frequently see your rod bending like crazy (unless it's a hooked Carp, and to hook it during Winter you usually need to set up the hook)! This is the time of the year when your still-fishing skills come in, and that determines how many fish you can actually set up the hook for. 

The only little guy! The 1 fish of the day. Proud of it, certainly. Despite all challenges, I was able to land one in extreme temperatures and weather.
 
--- December 31st, Lake Luxembourg ---
 
For the last day of the year, I went on a little adventure with my friend Erik K.. We first met at the Fairmount Dam, among some other anglers. I remember seeing Erik catch an American Shad, and losing it while trying to pull the fish up by the line; and Erik remembers seeing me drop my line straight down at the little pool of water next to the dam, and catching fish. Fun times, seriously!
 
We decided to hit Lake Luxembourg for the last day of the year, since I was doing so good there recently. The actual objective was for Erik to catch a Common Carp; therefore, we went there with our corn supply.
 
It was a pleasant sunny day without any wind. The scenery was beautiful, still with the snow left-over of Christmas eve. The place was empty! Usually, I spot some people fishing at the docks or on a boat, when I arrive there in the morning. I arrived there around 10:15 a.m.. Just after setting up my rods, I caught my first Rainbow Trout on a piece of nightcrawler. Erik arrived by 11 a.m., chumming and setting up his rods for some Carp.
 
It was a funny day...we finished with 5 Rainbow Trout (Limit for me, and 2 for Erik), and no Carp! We fished from the morning until 3 p.m., and no signs of Carp whatsoever. At a certain point of the fishing session, a white male guy walked out of the woods (beyond the no trespassing sign), and crossed us as if he did that everyday. Hmmm....interesting, huh? Erik mentioned that he was probably "high on crack," since he was impersonating an airplane? (don't ask me, readers...he was just weird!)
 
Erik couldn't stand the cold by 3 p.m., and he left with his pack of roasted peanuts. No Carp at all. Pictures are below. Enjoy:    
 
First Rainbow Trout of the day. Beautiful fish!

I love this picture. It's the only picture that I have with snow on it! Makes the scenery so pleasant.

Erik with his Rainbow Trout. He caught two of them on the corn, after chumming his spot.

Erik with his second Trout. I decided to take a picture of him portraying the little body of water after the No Trespassing sign. That body of water is actually the Core Creek, and it eventually connects to the Neshaminy Creek. Therefore, one can expect Trout to be inside both places! Interesting, isn't it? The Lake Luxembourg actually "leaks" stocked Trout (and other types of fish as well).

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A flock of wild Geese. Reminder: please, do not feed wild geese, doesn't matter how much fun it's to do so. In the past couple years, there's been an increase of them in the region, especially due to the global weather shift.

A picture of all 5 of them together. By this time, they no longer exist. =O
 
And this concludes all fishing reports for December of 2012. Note that from 2013 onwards, the reports will be divided in individual posts, making the "search" button of the Blog more useful for Readers.
 
Best of luck for all of us,
 
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
 
Sincerely,
 
Leo S.