February Fishing Sessions (Last Update: Complete)

Hello, Readers!

Now that my mid terms finally passed, I once again have time to work on the Blog! However, I'm still nearly 2 months behind my schedule here...so, bear with me! Because of my lack of time, I've decided to change the format of the "fishing session posts" once again to a SINGLE POST (i.e. December Fishing Sessions). It's easier for me (shorter posts), and I believe it will be better for the readers, since it will be more up-to-date. Just make sure to always look at the TITLE of the post, so you know which day was the last updated fishing session.

A couple updates first:

- Trout Opening day is Today! Click here for more information. I'll recommend people to go to the Wissahickon or the Pennypack Creek; however, check the website for all Trout Stockings around your area.

- The Catfish Tourney on the Banks will very likely be delayed to June due to license issues. I am currently waiting for my proper license to arrive; however, my first attempt to obtain the license was denied hence i didn't send it 60 days (2 months) before the registered day of the event. I'll keep all the registered participants updated. 

- I updated a couple old posts (change font, add pictures, add information, fix grammar and coherence):

No More Fishing at the Race Street Pier (June 2011)
Catching Sunnies and Carp at Kelly Drive (June 2011)
Fishing for Largemouth Bass at Kelly Drive (June 2011)

--- February 3rd, Schuylkill River ---

I went fishing on the Schuylkill Banks with my friend Erik K.. We did a short session from morning to afternoon (all the snow melted by noon), finishing the day with 3 Channel Catfish on cutbait. It's funny how I always want to fish the whole day on Sundays; however, the cold weather always makes me go home early...

It's good to mention that 3 o'clock is usually the "shifting" hour during cold weather: after 3 p.m., temperatures start to drop drastically. Therefore, if you ever plan to fish after 3 p.m. during Winter time, make sure to dress up really warm!

Anyways...the biggest fish was 3.5lbs and the smallest was 1.5lbs. It was cold and windy; however, none of us got skunked!

Pictures are below:
3.5lb Channel Catfish caught on cutbait. This one was caught in the morning, when the snow was still around.

1.5lb Channel Catfish - smallest one of the day.

By noon, all the snow was gone. It was one of "those days:" "29-38F," meaning that it's below zero Celsius in the morning, and above in the afternoon.

Erik K. with his only fish of the day.

--- February 10th, Manayunk Canal ---

Even though the Manayunk Canal is not well known for being productive during Winter time, my friends (Erik K. and Andrew H.) and I had decided to go there to try our lucks!
We knew from experience already that the canal is traditionally very shallow, and there would be absolutely no vegetation there during Winter. Even so, we relied on the couple spots that Largemouth Bass could actually hold (the deepest parts of the Canal - about 3-4 spots). Also, the weather was finally nice for a couple days (above 40s); therefore, the water temperature was a little bit higher than usual, and stable! We hoped that the fish would use that opportunity to go on a feeding streak.
Well...we all ended up skunked! Haha. We tried mostly for Bass at the beginning, hitting Senkos, Rattletraps, jigs, etc. The approach was to cover as much water as possible: "cast and move, move and cast." Not a single bite. After a while, and after some frustration, my friends Andrew H. and Erik K. left. So, being alone, I decided to shift gears and hunt for some Carp!
I didn't have all my gear for Carp fishing (i.e. rod holders, net), but I managed! I chummed a new spot, which looked pretty productive, and waited. After a good while, one of my rods got a hit! Since I placed the rod under my back bag, which is pretty heavy (usually 15-20lbs), the fish was unable to drag it in the water. My drag started to scream, and the fish was already swimming to the other side of the canal. After a long and awesome fight, I was finally able to drag the fish in front of me; however, I didn't have my net to scoop it up! =(
I tried to scoop it up using my hands, and failed to do so. The fish slipped from my hands and fell back into the water, breaking my line. That was the only fish of the day - a Common Carp - and I failed to land it. Therefore, it's like I got skunked! Haha.
There are a couple pictures of the scenery. Enjoy:   

My friends Erik K. and Andrew H., fishing a nice hole close to a bridge. That is one of the few good spots during Winter time, and even so, it's still hard to get the Bass! When their metabolisms are low, they feed very little. =/ 

One of the many promising spots in the Manayunk Canal. From my experience, an influx is always a good spot to throw your bait, doesn't matter what time of the year. Fish usually stay closer to them because the water temperature there is usually higher (depends on the temperature of the incoming water); it's a source that brings food to them; etc. I've seem a couple Carps swimming around this spot.

My improvised Carp set up! I chummed the corn directly in front of me, and used my bag as a "rod holder," since it always weights around 15-20lbs.

Although it wasn't a super productive day, I still got to fight a nice Common Carp, and I even found a couple extra spots at the Canal for Summer fishing. That's why I always say: it's better than staying at home. Being outside from time to time (for me, almost all the time) is nice, and every fishing session can bring an unique experience! Particularly, I take every one of my fishing sessions as "field experience." They never hurt me. It's the opposite: I was learn something new with each trip. 

--- February 17th, Schuylkill River ---

February 17th was by far the BEST DAY I ever had on the Schuylkill Banks since I started fishing it (2 years ago), and also my MOST FRUSTRATING day there. It was the best day because I caught my new PB (personal best) for Channel Catfish for the Schuylkill River - a stunning 9.5lb Channel Catfish. On the other hand, it was my most frustrating day because my camera went haywire, and I ended up deleting all the photos for the day (up to that certain time of my fishing session) by accident, which almost made me cry!
Therefore, the only witnesses to my monster fish are a couple people that passed by, a couple people that stopped to watch the fight, and a lady that helped me take pictures of the fish. Even though the memory is forever engraved in my mind, it's a shame that I won't be able to visually share that memory with you guys! However, I do still have hopes to land an even bigger Channel Catfish from the Schuylkill River, of course.
To start with, that Sunday (the 17th) was probably one of the worst days of the year to go out for fishing! The weather was totally brutal: "below 32F, feels like 17," very windy, not to mention that it snowed many times during the day (one of the pictures below portray the snow very well).
Being the crazy fisherman that I am, and a natural challenger of mother nature's might, I decided to go out fishing (of course!). I even invited some of my friends for the fishing session; however, only one of them showed up: Andrew N., and he showed up after I caught my 9.5lber (ugh...). I have to say that among my fishing friends, my most unusual one is Andrew N. - he's not very normal, he doesn't usually catch fish, and he comes with me on the most crazy days and creepy locations around the city. Anyways...
I set up my rods as usual, each one of them baited with yummy chunks of Shad. My initial goal for the day was to catch at least one fish, so I wouldn't get skunked. The weather was definitely not promising, and it was already chilling my bones. However, things turned out very differently: just when I was setting up my second rod's rig, my first rod was already getting a hit!
I landed my first fish of the day within 5 minutes of my fishing session, weighting 4lbs! It was a good one, and I was already satisfied for the day, thinking: "I'm not going to get skunked, and I have a picture for the Blog!" 
After that, everything was good! I finished the day with 12 Channels in total: 4, 2.5, 4.5, 2.5, 2.0, 1.5, 9.5, 1.5, 1.5, 4.0, 4.0; a total of 39lbs.
Andrew joined me a little bit after I got my 9.5lber. When he came, I was still messing with my camera, trying to find a magic "recovery" button, even though I knew that it didn't exist. I looked at it for about 10 minutes, in the cold, still feeling the adrenaline that was left from the 9.5lber's fight.
That huge fish actually hit my Ugly Stik/Shimano combo, which is by far my favorite one. I always use a drop rig for it, attaching 2 hooks above my 2oz weight. When the big fish hit, I knew that it wasn't a small one! The small Channels usually hit the drifting bait and immediately stop, trying to get rid of the hook. When they do that, the reaction that the angler sees is the rod bending from the bite, and then slack line. That's how the bite is usually identified. A big one, however, takes the drifting bait and runs with it! The response is totally different: the rod bends, and the drag starts to scream! It's very much like a small Carp's bite. From my experience, even Channels up to 5 lbs will still hit and stop, leaving slack line on the rod. Therefore, when I saw the rod bending and my line going out like crazy, I thought right away that I had hooked a nice Flathead or Striped Bass!
I fought the fish for a good 15 minutes. It gave many powerful runs, and many times I fell 100% of its momentum! It was an awesome fight, and I was shacking while fighting it - pure adrenaline rush. When it surfaced, I was so shocked! Instead of a Flathead or a Stripper, it was a plain Channel Catfish; however, a huge one. It was rather short, but its head was huge. It was fat. I was so excited that I forgot how cold it was! All my thoughts were focused on landing the fish, and I knew that it would be tough because the tide was at its lowest. 
In the end, everything went well. It took me a good while to net it, but my Balzer net is so awesome that it did its job. The fish was 9.5lbs, and not very long (27 inches). It was super fat, and I could put my whole hand in its mouth! A memory for a life time, certainly...
Below are some videos and a couple pictures of my fishing session, all recorded after the first 7 fish. After watching them, I think you guys will have a better idea of how brutal the weather was. Haha. Enjoy:

I divided the video in 4 short parts:

1. Introduction. As I mentioned above, it was very windy, and it snowed at least 3 times in the afternoon. After being there for 15 minutes, and using many layers of Under Armour, the wind was still chilling my bones.

2. Setting up the hook. Videos 2 and 3 should be one, but Andrew's fingers were so cold that he pressed the stop button by accident. I truly admire him for coming out with me: he was dressed not nearly enough for the cold weather, freezing to death, but he still cracked some jokes while filming the video.

3. Landing the fish. Readers, heed my advice: get a Balzer net. This net is by far the best net I ever had, and a life saver in many different types of situations.

4. Extra video. A little video of me catching another Catfish on the Banks.

A couple pictures below:

Catfish # 8 - 1.5lbs.

Catfish #9 - 1.5lbs

Catfish #10 - 1.5lbs

Catfish #11 - 4lbs. Also, you can clearly see all the snowing. Andrew and I were freezing at that moment...

Andrew took this picture accidentally; however, I think it's a good picture to portray the length of the Catfish in comparison to my body. So, there you go. =)

Catfish #12 - 4lbs. Last one of the day!

--- February 24th, Schuylkill River ---

Short fishing session on the Schuylkill Banks. I went there for a little bit in the afternoon, and ended getting skunked.

I believe that this day was by far my worst fishing session of the month: not a single bite. Usually I have a couple bites, I miss some fish, but there's at least "some" action.

However, that Sunday was as dead as it could be!

As always, I took one scenery picture just for reference (so I can have the date of my fishing session, time, and location)...

--- February 28th, Meadow Lake ---
I finally decided to hit Meadow Lake (FDR Park) for the first time this year! First, I would like to let everyone know that I've decided to refer to this body of water as "Meadow Lake" from now onwards instead of "Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park." After all, the lake has a name, so...why not, right?
I walked all around, following the "cast and move" approach. My hopes were still not that high, since water temperatures were still so low. But, as always, my heart just told me that we shouldn't always play by the books.
After walking a great deal, I finally got my first (and only) bite of the day: I threw my Senko in the shallows, behind the wood platform at the big lake, and a nice Northern Snakehead surfaced to chew on my Senko! I was happy for a bit...However, what was supposed to be an exciting moment turned out to be rather awkward: my Senko was whacky rigged, and the Snakehead bit the end of the Senko, and it wouldn't let it go! I couldn't force my rod, or the Senko would rip. Instead of giving a run, the fish was just staying still, kind of looking at me. After a good while, I forced my line a little bit and the fish finally got off, taking a small part of my Senko away.
Unfortunately, that was the only fish of the day! I ended up so frustrated that I just called it a day. I took a bunch of scenery pictures. They are all below. Enjoy:
The "Yellow Boy" is everywhere. Unfortunately, Meadow Lake is a big victim of Acid Mine Drainage. Thankfully, the acid levels are not too high; therefore, the game fish are still safe to live there (for now). Still, AMD is a big problem in PA and surroundings, and something should definitely be done to it.

A picture from another angle. That little water pipe can actually cause THIS MUCH damage to only one portion of the Meadow Lake. Therefore, acid mine drainage will keep spreading day by day - a never ending process (until something is done to it).

Unfortunately, there are multiple sources of AMD in the Meadow Lake. This one is located far at the back of the main Lake, but it's still a danger for the whole aquatic ecosystem in South Philly. It's a shame, especially because I've seen Yellow Boy all around Philadelphia, and even in multiple places in NJ.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" Geese. A LOT of geese!

A little golden spot that produces awesome Northern Snakehead action during Summer time at Meadow Lake. It's shallow, weedy during the Summer, and perfect for a top-water frog! Unfortunately, the spot didn't produce any fish for me that day. But as mentioned before, the water was still too cold.

The spot where I lost my Snakehead. The fish was just waiting there for something to fall in the water, or a little fish to pass by. Very nimble...

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" Exotic pieces of mother nature itself.
 With this, I was finally able to finish the February fishing sessions, which is great! Now I can finally start the March Fishing Sessions' post, which is even bigger than this one! Hahaha.
Bear with me...little by little, we will get there!
Best of luck for all of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
Leo S.

February Fishing Sessions: Audubon/Upper Cooper River (02/02)

Happy Sunday, Readers!

The weather shifted, and it's cold once again! These last couple days have been brutal: windy and cold. Water temperatures dropped as well, staying a little bit slightly below 50 degrees F (the magic number, seriously!). Crazy weather, huh?

Well...I am finally being able to start the February Fishing Sessions' posts (6 in total)! Before I start it, though, just a reminder of the Catfish Tourney on the Banks:

- If you want to register for the 1st Catfish Tourney on the Banks (click on the link for more details), send an e-mail to sheng12182527@gmail.com to receive the registration form. The scheduled date is April 14th (Rain date: April 21st).

Please notice that you must fill in the registration form in order to be registered for the competition! To get it, send me an e-mail. I bet it's going to be a lot of fun! Therefore, join if possible.
Some have being asking me if I have a permit for the competition: not yet; however, I've sent the form to the PA Boat and Commission. Therefore, everything should be fine. I'll keep everyone updated on that as well!
I hit Audubon Lake with my friend Erik K. on February 2nd (Saturday). The plan was to Carp for the day, since Audubon is a great place for it! We were praying for the Lake to not be frozen, especially because temperatures were below 32F. When we arrived, we saw that Haddon was great - some people were even Trouting there. No ice at all! When we walked to the other lake, however, our hopes were crushed. Audubon was halfway frozen... =(
Therefore, we changed our plans. We decided to fish the Spillway for a little bit, and then hit the Upper Cooper River. Below, there's actually a beautiful picture of the spillway that "connects" Haddon to Audubon. The ice patterns were so cool that I had to take a picture of it. Hehe. Nature is certainly beautiful...Erik fished a little bit on the Spillway with a Crappie rig, finishing without major results. I tried for a little bit as well - no bites!
We headed to the Upper Cooper River, just below Driscoll Pond. Erik set his rods for Carp, as always (chum and wait). I decided to adventure a little bit more (as always!), setting my rods on "Gulp! Minnows" and nightcrawlers.
Nothing too exciting, seriously. Erik finished the day with his usual Carps (2 in total - I don't remember the sizes, but they were pretty decent for that portion of the Stream). I carped for a little bit, landing a little guy on corn. Other than that, just the regular: 2 Bluegills, 3 Black Crappies, 3 Golden Shiners. We didn't fish for a long time, since the weather was EXTREMELY brutal. We were literally freezing due to the wind!  
Pictures are below. Enjoy:

A little Bluegill on the "Gulp! Minnow." I love their purplish colors during Winter time. It makes them extra attractive, in my opinion.

A little "Papermouth" (another nickname of the Black Crappie, Calico Bass, whatever you want to call it). Papermouths will never cease to amaze me - their color patterns are quite unique. I currently have two of them in my aquarium, and I never get tired of observing them. Beautiful. 

For my surprise, this is the first year that I've caught Golden Shiners at the Upper Cooper River! Also, they were very good in sizes. I saved some of them as bait, and I'm expecting to get some monsters in the near future!

A tiny Common Carp caught on a piece of corn. During Summer time, even the smallest ones can give you an awesome fight! During Winter, however, when their metabolisms are slowed down due to the low water temperatures, they can behave like a rock! That's why I always let my drag loose, so I can properly fight the fish and enjoy the fight to the fullest...

Erik K. with his first Carp of the day. Somehow, this guy always ends up catching the big ones when we go out to fish! Talk about luck, perhaps?

Erik holding his second, and last Carp of the day.

Half-frozen Audubon Lake. Unfortunately, we weren't able to Carp there. But we did manage to get some Carps at Upper Cooper River; therefore, it was a productive day!

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" The spillway that "connects" Haddon to Audubon - in quotes because water is discharged from Haddon to Audubon (no interchange). I thought the ice patterns were very neat!

A little scenery of the Upper Cooper River during Winter time. That place is very very different during Summer (big Channels lurk around there)!

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" a photo of ice through polarized glasses. The different shades after a "polarized-screening" are very interesting, huh?

The weather is getting better soon! Also, the Shad and the Stripers are coming! The Largemouth are also waking up! I can't wait, seriously!

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

January Fishing Sessions: Upper Cooper River (01/21)

Hello, Readers!

The weather is finally "nice" (on the 50's for the past two days). I hope you guys are enjoying it!

It's finally my Spring Break; therefore, I'll try my best to upload as much content as possible during this week. To start, some updates and reminders:

- If you want to register for the 1st Catfish Tourney on the Banks (click on the link for more details), send an e-mail to sheng12182527@gmail.com to receive the registration form. The scheduled date is April 14th (Rain date: April 21st).

- Spring Trout opening is coming shortly! Be advised that stocked Trout waters are closed at the moment, which means no fishing on the Wissahickon, Lake Luxembourg (maybe?), or Pennypack Creek. The opening day for those places is Saturday - March 30th. I'll be at the Pennypack (at Bustleton), if anyone wants to meet for some Trouting! Don't forget your licenses with your Trout stamps! The Game Warden will be there.

- I've uploaded the 2013 Statistical Chart up to now: Schuylkill River (01/10, 01/11, 01/14, 02/03, 02/17, 02/24, 03/02, 03/03, 03/07, 03/10), Wissahickon Creek (01/13), Haddon Lake (01/20), Audubon Lake (01/20, 02/02), Upper Cooper River (01/21, 02/02), Manayunk Canal (02/10, 03/07), Meadow Lake (02/28), Concourse Lake (03/11), and Centennial Lake (03/11).
- I've created a new "2013 Fish Species" photo album on the Facebook Page. The link is here. For now, I have caught 9 different Species of fish for 2013: Brown Bullhead, Channel Catfish, Common Carp, Yellow Perch, Black Crappie, Golden Shiner, Pumpkinseed, Bluegill, and the Eastern Silvery Minnow. This is to show that there are plenty of different types of fish around Philadelphia and West NJ! My goal for this year is to definitely beat the number of Species that I've caught last year!
- I've gotten new PBs for 2013 (since the last update on the Statistical Chart) for: Black Crappie, Bluegill (9 inches! Got it on Concourse Lake in West Philly), Brown Bullhead (a nice 9 incher from Centennial Lake in West Philly), Common Carp, Channel Catfish (9.55lbs on a piece of cut Shad), Eastern Silvery Minnow, Golden Shiner, and Yellow Perch.
Now, for the report...
As you guys should already be aware of, I'm much more of a "Species" than a "Size" type of angler. In other words, I truly like to explore different bodies of water for different types of fish. Even when I'm not exploring, I'm always coming back to my usual spots with hopes of getting new types of fish.
The Upper Cooper River (location 1 on the map) is a perfect spot for different Species of fish! It's basically the end of the Cooper River, and more like a Creek at this point. It's the junction of many different bodies of water (Driscoll, Wallworth, etc), and small fishes just love to hang around there! And we know it, don't we? If there are baitfish, there will be game fish lurking around! 
I went to the Upper Cooper River with Erik K. on January 21st, hoping to catch some new Species of fish! It was still cold (around 32F), so the weather wasn't really helping much.  Erik wanted to do his usual Carping, taking in consideration that they bite fairly well during cold weather. He chummed his spot, set his three rods with corn, and began the Philosophy time.
I went straight to my usual spot - "The Bridge," which connects Driscoll to the Upper Cooper River. I set up one of my rods with nightcrawlers, and I was using my signature "chicken-dropper" rig (personalized version). After casting it into the Creek, I started setting up my second rod for a Crappie Rig. In the middle of the setting up process, my first rod was already showing signs of bites! I set up the hook quickly, and the fish was on! Small, but a fish. Unfortunately, it got off just when it hit the surface of the water. Therefore, all I was able to see was a fuzzy picture of a long, light-colored fish. 
I was surprised at the beginning, mainly because I didn't expect a "long, light-colored fish" to come up. I was expecting a Bluegill, maybe a Pumpkinseed or a Black Crappie; however, that fish didn't resemble any of those. I called Erik right away, and said that "perhaps a small Largemouth Bass hit my nightcrawler" (they tend to be colorless in the muddy Upper Cooper River)...
After a little while, I got another bite and landed the mysterious fish. For my surprise, that fish turned out to be a Golden Shiner! A beautiful fish, indeed, and the first Golden Shiner of the year! Since they travel in schools, I landed quite a couple of them at my spot. In-between, I landed some Yellow Perch, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, and Black Crappies.
The rest of the day was fabulous. It was quite cold around 3 p.m.; however, we endured it! Erik's patience paid off at the end - he finished the day with a small Common Carp. As for me, I finished the day with a new PB for Crappie - 9 inches (caught on a piece of suspended nightcrawler), as well as many other Species of fish!
Pictures are below. There are a couple extra interesting pictures as well. Enjoy:  
A little Yellow Perch caught on a nightcrawler. 6.1 inches

The Pumpkinseed in the Upper Cooper River are really pretty! The clarity of the water didn't affect their natural colors at all. The shades of blue on their faces is truly amazing.

A nice Black Crappie caught on a piece of suspending nightcrawler. 9 Inches.

A mean Bluegill caught on my usual spot - "The Bridge." They are tough warriors, and they fight very well on ultralight equipment. Any angler that focuses on Sunnies know that big Sunnies fight really well! "4lb ultralight set up" for them is golden!

Erik K. with his small Common Carp caught on corn. The bite was so light that there were almost no signs of it...

Golden Shiners can be fun to catch because they travel in schools. Therefore, they also feed in schools. In other words: after catching one, an angler will very likely catch another one (or maybe 2 at a time!).

This is by far the biggest Golden Shiner I've caught caught in 2013. They are awesome bait for other Species of fish (i.e. Flatheads), since they have a similar "smell" as the Gizzard Shad.

A beautiful Bluegill. I've noticed through my fishing sessions that big female Bluegills tend to be "purplish" or "pinkish." One or another, they are super pretty.

Another victim caught on a suspending nightcrawler. Placing a suspended piece of nightcrawler in a current is a perfect presentation for Black Crappie because the current makes the bait "drift." 

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A weird creature of the woods - the Muscovy Duck. When Erik K. saw it, his reaction was the best: "What is that? A breed of Duck, Rooster, Goose?" Hehe.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" An Asian kid trying to domesticate a Muscovy Duck. If was interesting! The duck approached us at the beginning; however, it didn't want to make friends (I guess). Haha.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A Christmas tree after holiday season.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" Another nice tree after holiday season. This is enough proof to show that training oneself saves time (it takes time to tie another rig), money (it takes money to buy new equipment), the environment (save the trees from human destruction!), etc.

"Things that you don't see when you stay at home:" A log attached to an electrical wire. "?!?!?!" Yes, I know...I thought exactly the same thing when I saw it.

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.

Official: Catfish Tournament on the Schuylkill Banks.

Hello, Dear Readers.
So, the permit for the first Catfish Tourney on the Schuylkill Banks finally arrived:

The set date for the competition is May 26th (Rain/Weather Date: June 2nd), which is a Sunday. The weather has been a little bit fuzzy, but it will normalize by then. Hopefully, water temperatures will be around 60-80 in May, meaning that the Tournament will be productive and fun for everyone!
Although this is a friendly Tourney, I want to make it as professional as possible. This means that I want to provide the fun while also giving the unique excitement of a competition, "in situ." Therefore, I ask everyone to read and follow the set of rules below if he/she wishes to participate in it. I believe that a good collaboration among anglers will certainly result in good experiences for everyone (especially kids, if there are any present). Now...let's go over the final rules of our little friendly tourney:
1. The Event and the Rules (they may be subjected to changes at any given time).
Please, read every one of these very carefully:
A. The Event:

- The first official Catfish Tourney on the Banks will happen between the Locust and Chestnut Bridges on the Schuylkill Banks. The official date for it is April 14th - 2013, which is a Sunday. In case of rain or weather issues, the Rain Date is set to be one week after - April 21st, 2013. Registered participants will be contacted through e-mail/phone 1 day prior to the event in case of bad weather. The original plan is to hold a monthly Catfish Tourney on the Schuylkill Banks from April to September - 6 in total.

- The entry fee for the competition is 20 dollars - cash only. Kids are excluded from this fee; however, they will be counted as one party, together with their parents (see next section for more details on kids).
- Public Transportation is available (Amtrak - Regional Rails, and Septa) through the 30th street-station, and it's highly recommended. The distance between the site of the competition and the station is a 10 minutes walk. For cars, there's parking along the Walnut and Chestnut bridges, as well as parking around 26th and Locust and below. In other words, parking should not be difficult to find.
- The minimum number of participants for each competition to happen is 10 (ten). If there are not enough participants (which is unlikely to happen), they will be contacted 2 days prior to the competition about its cancellation, and the next competition will be schedule then. Notice that higher the number of participants, higher the amount of the prize (see prize section; section 3). Therefore, invite your buddies to come. =) 

- Instead of the traditional format of 6 a.m.-3 p.m., the Catfish Tourney on the Banks will start at 9 a.m. sharp, and end at 3 p.m. (lasting 6 hours instead of 9 hours, which is already some extreme fishing for certain anglers!). Therefore, it's highly recommended for people to show up 1 hour or half an hour prior to the beginning of the event for choosing a good spot, setting up, etc.

- Prizes will be awarded half an hour after the end of the competition, in situ. Therefore, everyone that won (1st, 2nd, 3rd place, and biggest Catfish) will walk out of the event with the prize in their pockets, which will be distributed as cash. Notice that this friendly tourney is profit-free. For more details, see the prize section; section 3.
- Since this is a friendly competition, participants are free to leave the site at any moment. There's a restroom between Locust and Walnut on the Schuylkill Banks, and there is a Rite Aid on 23rd and Walnut, in case anyone needs water or food. If there are small emergencies, participants may leave and come back, as far as they come back within the range of the competition (9-3p.m.)
- Kids (16 and below) are highly encouraged to participate, and they don't require any fee to enter the competition. Also, they are not required to have a fishing license in order to fish. One child per participant is the ideal case (note that the parent is responsible for his/her child's safety in situ). The kid will be counted as part of its parent's "team," and the result of both will be summed as one.
B. The General Fishing Rules:
- A PA fishing license is required for anyone older than the age of 16 (as the law says), and it must be shown to one of the judges (there will 2 in total) before the beginning of the competition. Participation without a license will not be permitted. The license can be purchased online, or in-person at certain stores. 
- Fishing spots will be taken on a FCFS basis (first-come, first-served); therefore, no right to complain if one comes late: you are being advised, and you should time yourself for the event. Also, for more comfort and better fishing, anglers should stay 6 meters apart from each other (about 20 feet). Chances are that there will be available spots for everyone (plenty of spots!); however, I'm writing these out just in case.     
- 2 fishing rods per Participant (kid or no kid), 2 fishing hook per rod. Although the PA law states that it's legal to fish 3 rods per session and 3 hooks per rod, the competition will work on the 2 rod per person and 2 hook per rod rule, with the purpose of preserving space for other participants to set their equipments. Anyone disrespecting this rule will be disqualified.
- For weight-in: there will be 2 weight-in posts (my friend and I) in total - one between Locust and Walnut, and the other one between Walnut and Chestnut. Instead of the traditional weight-in system, which happens at the end of the competition, the weight-in for this specific competition will happen just after catching the fish. After successfully landing a fish, the participant should go to a weigh-in post to have his/her fish recorded in terms of weight and length.

-There will be a penalty for mishandling fish. Every fish should be perfectly caught and released. In cases where the fish is heavily injured as consequence of the angler's actions, and dies, there will be a severe penalty of 5lbs per incident. Therefore, follow the guidelines for safely practicing CPR. Note: a net is highly recommended for landing big fish (drop net or long net), and it will not be provided by the staff. A Balzer fishing net, which can scoop fish up at the Schuylkill even in the lowest tide, will be available for "renting" at a cost of 1lb per fish. In other words, the measured fish scooped with the lent net will be counted 1lb less in the record chart. 
- Only Catfish (Channel, White, Flathead, Bullhead) will be counted as part of the tourney. Each participant can weight-in as many Catfish as possible, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The five biggest ones (lbs) will be used to determined the final result for certain participant.  
2. Registration
In order to register, send an e-mail to "sheng12182527@gmail.com" with the subject "Catfish Tourney on the Banks." Please, include your name in it.
After receiving the e-mail, I'll e-mail the person back with a formal registration chart, requesting some additional information. Once the person fills up the registration chart and e-mail it back to me, the same will be officially registered in the tourney of certain month.
3. Results and Prizes
The prizes will be distributed for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. There's also a small prize for the "Biggest Catfish."

The prizes will be distributed as it follows (in cash): 

- 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. Therefore, the "Catfish Tourney on the Banks." is a profit-free event.

After subtracting 20% from the final amount of cash gathered, the prizes will be distributed as it follows:

1st place: 40%
2nd place: 30%
3rd place: 20%
Big Catfish: 10%

Example: Since the minimum number of participants must be 10, the total amount of money will be 10*20= $200.

20% of 200 will go to a non-profit organization: $40

The remaining $160 will be distributed as it follows:

1st place: 40% --> $64
2nd place: 30% --> $48
3rd place: 20% --> $32
Big Catfish: 10% --> $16
Note: if, for example, the first place is accounted for the biggest Catfish of the day, that person will be taking $64+16.

If the number of participants are actually 20 instead of 10: 20*20= $400. The same calculation is performed. Therefore, the higher the number of participants, the higher the amount of money distributed.
The non-profit organization will very likely be 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. 
Alrighty! I'll see all participants next month,
Best of luck for All of us,
Long Days and Pleasant Nights,
Leo S.