January Fishing Sessions: Haddon Lake/Audubon Lake (01/20)

Hello, Readers!
I hope you are all doing well and fishing a lot. After a couple weeks of busy classes and complex homeworks, I'm finally bringing you another fishing session! My hopes are to update everything that is left during my Spring Break - March 11-15th. We will see how everything goes. =/ I've been quite busy with college!
My friend Erik K. and I hit the Haddon/Audubon Lakes (click on the links for the introductory post on each one of them) on the 20th of the last month, when temperatures were still just above 32F (same for the water temperature - just above freezing point). The place was as beautiful as always!
Erik K. spent most of his morning trying for Largemouth Bass at Haddon Lake with artificials. I decided to catch some Sunnies on my bare hook "dapping" technique, which you can see on the videos below:

I recorded the first video myself (no wonder the quality is so bad. Hahaha). In other words, it has harder to perform the dapping technique with one hand while filming with the other. The Dapping technique originated around the 1600's with the purpose of fooling the fish with an empty hook. Therefore, the act of catching the fish depends totally on skill. In this first video, I was able to just catch 1 Bluegill at the end of it.
Erik filmed this second video. Since I had both hands free, it was a little bit easier to perform the technique! I ended up catching 4 Bluegills on it - action until 2:10 minutes.

The dapping technique is certainly very useful when you don't have bait because you can catch your bait (small fish) with "nothing." All you have to do is find a certain location with hungry Sunnies (usually a place where they feed on top water) and "dap" your hook on top of the water! Chances are that they will strike it if you make the hook move like a drowning bug (that's your mission!). Good luck with it!
After messing around long enough with the Sunnies (I caught 61 Bluegills and 1 Pumpkin Seed - there are pictures at the end of the post), Erik and I decided to Carp at Audubon. We went there, took a look at the water conditions, and came to the conclusion that the Lake certainly looked PERFECT for a good Carping session! I went ahead, chummed the water, and set up the rods for Carping. Erik decided to first give a shot for other Species of fish. He set up a rod with a little Gulp! Minnow on a Crappie jig and went to the spillway at Audubon.
It was certainly a great day - Erik and I finished the day with 6 Carps on the corn. Erik also caught 1 Rainbow Trout on the Gulp! Minnow. All the details on the Carps are in the videos below. Enjoy!

Videos and pictures are below:

On Video 1, Erik reels in a 5.77lbs (22 inches) Common Carp on a single piece of Kernel Corn. The spot was a little tough for the net; however, everything worked well in the end! On 2:28, Erik got another hit on one of his rods; however, the fish wasn't hooked up (perhaps just a Carp crossing the line). Before this video, I had already caught 2 Carps (pictures are below).
On the second video, Erik reels in his second (and last) Carp of the day. Being a Power-type, Erik reels the Carp in pretty fast! This one turned out to be the biggest of the day: 6.26lbs (22.5 inches). Notice on 2:15 how my lines are always TIGHT for Carping. For my rig (bullet sinker and swivel), it's essential that there's no slack line, so the hook-up ratio is much higher!
In this video, I'm reeling in my 3rd Carp of the day. The Carp gets stuck in a submerged branch right at the beginning of the video. It's good to keep in mind that leaving the drag of the reel loose gives the angler an awesome fight; however, it also gives the fish more freedom to swim into difficult places! Always keep that in mind while Carping. Since my gear was lighter than Erik's (Fluorocarbon line, less lb test), I wasn't able to outwit the Carp with strength alone.  
Last video - my 4th Carp, and also smallest one of the day! Although the fish was the smallest, it still gave up an awesome fight! This last Carp was swimming in a very weird way... who knows. Haha.

Pictures are below:

Beautiful Pumpkinseed from Haddon Lake. I've mentioned this before, but I'll emphasize that there are 4 different main types of Sunnies here in Philly: Redbreast Sunfish, Pumpkinseed, Bluegill, and Green Sunfish. They are both beautiful, and great for a Species collection!

The "Purple" Bluegill - the King of the school. Anyone that has fished that spot at Haddon Lake knows that there are tons of Sunfish there! In particular, there is this ONE Sunfish that has a lighter color compared to the others - a purplish color. He's truly the King of that school - the oldest one. Using some skills, would you be able to get the same fish above? It's truly a challenge! It's like manipulating your bait and making sure that the other Sunnies won't hit it while trying to catch THAT specific Sunny. Good luck!

A nice view of the Audubon Lake. Sunny afternoon; however, cold and chilly!

Erik with his 1lb+ Rainbow Trout, caught on a Gulp! Minnow close to the spillway that connects Haddon and Audubon.

First Common Carp of the day. Say "Hello!" to Mr. Carp!

Another angle of the same fish.

Second Common Carp of the day.

Erik with his first Carp of the day (Video 1)

Erik with his second Carp of the day (Video 2)

Third Carp of the day for me (Video 3).

Smallest guy of the day! (Video 4)

I'll bring more posts when I can. For now, enjoy the weather! It's getting warmer. I went for a walk at the FDR Park today, and it seems that the fishing will pick up there soon!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

January Fishing Sessions: Schuylkill River (01/14)

Heya, Readers!
I finally have a little bit of time and disposition to bring you another January Fishing Session! Before I get there, a couple updates and reminders:
- The 1st Catfish Tourney that I'll hold will be in MARCH 17th until further notice. I'll have a DEFINITE date by the end of February. So far, I have gotten quite a couple people. Therefore, I think this first tourney will definitely happen. If you are WILLING to participate, send an e-mail to sheng12182527@gmail.com. For more details on this event, click here.
I'm bringing you guys some videos of my latest Catfish session on the Schuylkill River, recorded yesterday (02/17) by my funny friend Andrew. Until I bring you the full report on that day, enjoy it:

Part 1 - Intro
Part 2 - Setting the Hook
Part 3 - Landing the Fish
Part 4 - Extra: 4lber.
For a change, my last Skuke fishing session of January was a great success! Maybe it was "God's" gift to me for almost dying that day! Hahaha. Okay...without jokes, it was a near-death experience - kind of creepy.

The original plan for January 14th was for Mike and I to hit Haddon Lake in NJ. I met Mike around 6:45 a.m. at our usual spot, and we hit the road! The road was slippery from the rain of the day before. It was also dark...And that's when some SCARY STUFF HAPPENED on the road. It all happened too fast - as soon as Mike hit the highway, something went wrong, and our car drifted a good 360+45 degrees! Basically, the car gave a full rotation plus a little bit more, kind of like in those "Need for Speed" games that I used to play before (it's not fun in real life, though. Believe me...at least not fun when the car is NOT MADE to drift and the ROAD is FULL of cars).

So, we clashed against the wall. Thankfully, no other cars hit us, and we didn't hit other cars. Mike was nimble enough to control the car after the drifting, so, only the front of the car was damaged. We were actually able to drive back to the auto-shop to get it fixed! Believe me: if other cars actually hit us, creating a domino effect, I would probably not be here writing this at the moment! Therefore, guys: drive as safely as possible. The seatbelts really really helped.

After the near-death experience filled with adrenaline, we decided to call it a day. Mike went to fix his car and relax a bit (he really needed it!), and I went to the Banks to "chill." Since I had all my fishing supplies with me, I thought: "Why not?"

I started my session around 8:30 a.m. - same set up as the previous sessions on the Skuke. For my surprise, the first fish came really quick! After I set all my 3 rods in the water, one of them was already getting a hit! The first Catfish of the day came up at 8:55 a.m.: 2.5lbs. After that, it was all gooooood!

The weather was extraordinarily nice (I didn't even have my jacket on), and the fish kept hitting from 8-11 a.m. I missed a few, but finished the day with 9 Channels: 2.5, 2.0, 2.5, 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 3.0, 4.0, 3.0lbs. Notice that the heaviest ones came last, around 10-11 a.m.

As I mentioned before, maybe it was "God's" gift to me for a really bad experience...hahaha. Fun day on the banks, and glad to be alive!

Pictures are below:

1st Catfish of the day: 2.5lbs

Another little guy! Notice that I didn't even have my jacket on. The weather was super nice that day: 45 degrees+! The water temperature was a little bit higher as well. Perhaps, that was the trigger for the feeding.

At a certain point of the fishing session, fishing was SO GOOD that they kept coming one after the other. As soon as I reeled in the first rod, the second rod hit. When I reeled the second fish in, the third one hit! Note that all three of them were released and swam away safely. The longest one was kept outside of the water for about 6 minutes, which is a safe amount of time for the Catfish Species.

Smallest one of the day - 1.5lbs.

Biggest one of the day - 4.0lbs

4lber from another perspective. I compared it to my feet. Heh.

Winter is almost gone, and the fishing is about to get GOOD. This means I'll fish much more on MONDAYS and FRIDAYS as well, making a possible 3-4 sessions a week! It all depends on how much homework I have...

I'll keep you guys updated on my catches;

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

January Fishing Sessions: Wissahickon Creek (01/13)

"Hello, boys and girls of all ages!" (As Uncle Steve would say.)
If you are not familiar with Uncle Steve's greeting, you should youtube it! Hehe.
A couple reminders to start:
- The Catfish Tournament's date is officially decided: March 17th. If you are planning to attend, please shoot me an e-mail with your name! I have a couple contestants already, and I'm more than happy to see that people are willing to participate in it. To read more about this topic, check my previous post. Sooner or later, I'll write a FULL POST on this subject. The plan is to hold monthly Catfish Tourneys on the Banks, during the 3rd Sunday of every month.
- I updated another old post: Ghost Carp at Wissahickon. It's directly related to this post; therefore, I had decided to add some more content to it. I upload 2 additional pictures, and added a little bit more of information on the Ghost Carp.
Inside my mind, there are 7 "Carp Kings" in the Northern portion of the United States of America: The Common Carp, Fully-Scaled Mirror Carp (with 2 of my pictures on the first page. Yay!), Mirror Carp (partial), Linear Carp (1 row of scales), Leather Carp (no scales), Regular Koi, and the Ghost Carp (Human Face on top).
In reality, one can say that the Koi are not really "natural" to the environment, since they were definitely released by owners who no longer wanted them; however, truly speaking, all Species of Carp aren't native to the United States of America. Despite this interesting fact, the 7 Carp Kings are real, and they are currently swimming in our waters! So far, I've added only 4 out of 7 to my collection: The Common, Fully-Scaled, Mirror Carp, and Koi. The last 3 are difficult to catch, and even trickier to find! 
Luckily, I found one of those 3 in Philly a while back. Last year, I posted about this mysterious "fish" in the Wissahickon Creek, which turned out to be a Ghost Carp. Many times, I tried to catch it. However, every fishing session ended up in frustration! The Common Carps would often eat the chum around the hook while the Ghost Carp ate the outskirt pieces of kernel corn. This often resulted in a Common Carp on the hook, meaning that all the other fish (including the Ghost Carp) would get scared and scatter away from the chum. Certainly not an easy task, huh?
So...one of my goals for 2013 is to catch that Ghost Carp (if it's still there). I went with my friend Erik K. to the Wissahickon Creek on January 13th, wishing I could spot such rarity again. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see a single fish swimming around... Even though Erik saw a couple Carps swimming there a couple days ago, we were still unable to hook, yet see a single Carp on that specific day.
The first session of the year at the Wissahickon ended up with zero fish! However, this is certainly just the beginning of a long journey after the Ghost Carp: the "Monster" of the Wissahickon Creek!
3 rods ready for some Carp action! Unfortunately, we weren't able to land or even spot a single fish... =(
Keep tuned for more updates! I'm trying my best to dedicate some more time to the Blog. Hehe. Soon, I'll finish posting all my January fishing sessions, and start the February ones!
Best of luck for all of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
Leo S.

January Fishing Sessions: Schuylkill River (01/11)

Hello, Readers!
Just a couple more weeks, and Spring will finally be here! The Striped Bass run, the Largemouth Bass, the Snakeheads, and a lot more is coming up! This year started with some pretty extreme weather, didn't it? I feel quite bad about this snowstorm that is hitting the northern portion of the country. Although, I'm very curious to see how this crazy weather will affect the different Species of fish here in Philadelphia.
I'm bringing you a short post today (after all, I got skunked on this fishing session - 01/11). My original plan was to fit all my January fishing sessions in January; however, college has been pretty intense lately (especially my Classical Mechanics homework). Therefore, there will be a couple January fishing sessions on the month of February, and hopefully I'll be able to normalize the posts this month! I'll try my best to create a little bit more of time for the Blog. =)
Before I start my report on my skunked fishing session on the Schuylkill, I'm posting a couple scenery pictures that my father sent me by e-mail. They are all very beautiful, and portray my old fishing spots in Brazil:
Some Brazilian "fashion" for you guys, haha: notice the dude in Yellow and the one next to him... The guy in Yellow is fishing just a couple INCHES away from the platform, and using unnecessary boots. 
A larger view of the same place. This place was famous back in the days for a specific Species of fish: "Piau." Accidentally, I caught my first one over there when I was 12, on a piece of mozzarella cheese. Nowadays, people still use cheese, and other weird baits: ham, spaghetti, etc. 
Back in the days, the spot between the little island and shore was one of the best places to fish for Tilapias. Unfortunately, big Tilapias are very scarce nowadays, since they have been over harvested without regulations or creel limits for at least the past 2 decades.
My spot for Fresh Water Wolf Fish. Casting around the shallow vegetation at night time with minnows was the best technique! Since Brazil doesn't really have a "Winter" (coldest above 40F), the Fresh Water Wolf Fish stay at the Shallows the whole year. I am very confident that they would hit a frog lure on top water too!
My father and I used to fished on that side of the Reservoir, which is position 4 on the map. Due to urban sprawl and the "favelas," this area became an entertainment spot for the lower classes. There are big fishes there, however: mainly Caras (Pearl Cichlids) and Tilapias. 
A beautiful view from position 4 to position 2. In reality, the first Koi I ever caught was in this area - 7kgs.
Kids and adults fish alike in Brazil. Not only that, the gender ratio is much smaller - there are female anglers almost everywhere! Due to poverty, most of the fishes that are caught are consumed by the population. Therefore, kids start to learn fishing from a very early age with the intention of "bringing food home" and helping the family.   
Some kind of small fish. Truly, I'm not very familiar with these Species. I don't recall catching them a decade ago. =)
As you may have noticed, the environment is pretty different between Brazil and USA (for a better idea, click here to read my other post on this subject). I hope you were able to pick up some cultural differences, specially in the picture with the lady getting a tan among some wild chicken (notice that the ratio between female and male anglers in Brazil is lower than USA's), and in the other picture, where tons of people are swimming in the Reservoir. Years ago, that area used to be empty, and open fishing spots were everywhere. Nowadays, it's more of an "entertainment" area.
Now, to my fishing session on the Schuylkill Banks...

On January 11th, I went there again (recall that I went there 2 times before). I was using the same set up (you can read more about it here); however, I changed my hooks for smaller hooks. I really wanted to get whatever was biting my nightcrawlers off! On one of my rods, I even changed the hooks to #10.

Temperatures were not bad (above 32F). I fished from noon to afternoon. I spent a couple hours at the banks without any success! As always, there was one Catfish bite, which I missed because of my impatience. As soon as the fish hit, I felt the urge to set the hook: fatal mistake... Excitement is very hard to control when fishing, seriously. Hehe.

It's quite frustrating because I wasn't able to get whatever Species of little fish that was biting my nightcrawlers, in 3 consecutive fishing sessions. For my conclusions, I truly believe that I should have put an even smaller hook - perhaps a #14... For now, it will all remain a mystery.

The Banks after rain. Watch out if you go fishing there after heavy rain - make sure you don't slip in the mud!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

Updates and Plans for Catfish Tournaments! =)

Hello, Readers!
February is here, and my work on the Blog is already piling up. Hahaha. I have yet to write 3-4 sessions for January, and add some extra content. Hopefully, I'll find some time to do it over the next couple weeks. College is, indeed, keeping me pretty busy!
A couple updates/reminders:
1. 1-on-1 fishing sessions are still on, even though college has started. In other words, feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you want to tag along one day. My availability for fishing now is pretty limited, but I'm saving Sundays for it. Send me an e-mail for more details. Kids are highly encouraged.
2. I've updated a couple more old posts on the Blog. Rather than adding new posts over and over again, adding information to old posts is productive and saves time:
3. I am planning to start CATFISH TOURNAMENTS on the Schuylkill Banks. Economy is pretty tough lately - I'm pretty sure people could have some fun and make some money through their skills. If interested, send an e-mail to sheng12182527@gmail.com! Basic review of the rules is below. Later, I'll do a specific post about this subject. For now, I just want to see HOW MANY PEOPLE are interested and available for this event.
A. The minimum number of participants must be 15.
B. The entry fee for the competition is 20 dollars - cash.
C. The location of the competition is in Center City, on the Schuylkill Banks, between Locust and JFK Bridges. The competitions will start beginning from MARCH.
D. Competition will be held on SUNDAYS, from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Weight in at 3 p.m.
E. Fishing rules follow the rules of the PA fishing and boat commission (3 rods per person, fishing license required, etc. - for more details, shoot an e-mail)
F. Weight in at 3 p.m. on Locust Street - 5 Catfish limit per person (doesn't matter the Species). I highly recommend each participant to either bring an aerated box for the fish, or a fish cage to keep them alive. Note: There will be a penalty in lbs for each dead fish at the time of weigh in.
G. The prizes will be distributed as it follows (in cash):
NOTE: 20% of the total amount of money gathered in each tourney will go to a non-profit organization in PA or USA that focuses on environmental conservation and/or aquatic environments. 
After subtracting 20% from the final amount, the prizes will be distributed as it follows:
1st place: 40%
2nd place: 30%
3rd place: 20%
Big Catfish: 10%
Example: Since the number of participants must be 15, the total amount of money will be 15*20= $300.
20% of 300 will go to a non-profit organization: $60
The remaining $240 will be distributed as it follows:
1st place: 40% --> $96
2nd place: 30% --> $72
3rd place: 20% --> $48
Big Catfish: 10% --> $24
If the number of participants are actually 25 instead of 15: 25*15= $375
20% of 375 will go to a non-profit organization: $75
The remaining $300 will be distributed as it follows:
1st place: 40% --> $120
2nd place: 30% --> $90
3rd place: 20% --> $60
Big Catfish: 10% --> $30
Therefore, the higher the number of participants, the higher the amount of money distributed. Notice that this is just a sketch for now. This will only happen if there are enough people willing to participate. The non-profit organization will very likely be either the SRDC, or a local one. I'll request a formal e-mail from the non-profit to every participant after the donation is in, as a gesture of gratitude.   
Note that I'll not be taking place in the competition. I'll act as the judge (weighting in, collecting and distributing the prizes), and probably be fishing just for fun, and checking on the participants from time to time.
If interested on this Catfish Competition proposal, send an e-mail to sheng12182527@gmail.com. For other questions, send an e-mail as well.
I bet this would be SUPER FUN! Heh.
Best of luck for all of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
Leo S.