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.