4th Catfish Tourney on the Banks (To be held on October 27th, 2013)

Hello, Blog Readers!

Since I started doing the "Catfish Tourney on the Banks" competitions, I've met many interesting anglers and friends. That's a great thing, seriously. I'm very happy to see that the word is spreading and more and more people are participating. I sincerely love to see people fishing out there, not to mention that part of the money from each event is always going for a good cause.

Therefore, since college is not as bad yet and I still have some left over time on weekends, I'll be holding a 4th Catfish Tourney on the Banks! Hopefully we will have enough participants to make it happen.

The 4th Catfish Tourney on the Banks will be held on the
Schuylkill Banks (between Locust and Walnut) on October 27th, 2013. Rain date for it will be November 3rd, 2013. I expect the weather to still be reasonable (45-65's F); however, don't forget to dress accordingly! During Fall, it's always chilly in the mornings. =)

This will also be the last Catfish competition for this year; therefore, your last chance to claim a nice trophy home! The first set of trophies were given on the 2nd competition (Blue), and the second set on the 3rd one (Red). Eventually, the third set will be unique as well (not only in color!).

For information regarding previous competitions, you may click on the links below:

About parking: since the 1st Catfish Tourney on the Banks, a lot of people have been asking me about "parking" around the Center City area. Therefore, here's a link for parking spots that are close to the Schuylkill Banks. As you guys can see, there are plenty of parking spots close to the competition site, not to mention that it's FREE parking on Sundays! I would particularly recommend parking on top of the Walnut and Chestnut bridges.

Now, let's go for the rules and additional information regarding the 4th Catfish Tourney on the Banks. Interested Readers and Future Participants -- please read it carefully, since there have been changes since the last set of rules!

1. The Event and the Rules (they may be subjected to changes at any given time).

A. The Event:

- The fourth official Catfish Tourney on the Banks will happen between the
Locust and Chestnut Bridges on the Schuylkill Banks. This will be the last tourney for the year of 2013. The official date for it is October 27th, 2013 (Sunday). In case of rain or weather issues, the "Rain Date" is set to be a week after -- November 3rd, 2013. Registered participants will be contacted through e-mail/phone one day prior to the event in case of bad weather and/or cancellation. Also, make sure to check your e-mail on the day of the competition, before leaving your house.

- Contestants may enter the competition individually or as a "team" of 2. In the second case, the team will be treated as a single unit; therefore, the team is subjected to all the other rules as one unit (i.e. 2 rods per team; same lb bag per team; etc). The entry fee for the competition is $20 for single individuals (one person), and $30 dollars for a team (2 individuals) -- cash only. The fee will be collected before the beginning of the competition; during the check-in under the Walnut Street Bridge. Notice that this friendly tourney is profit-free. For more details, see the prize section (section 3).

- 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. Here's a link for parking spots that are close to the Schuylkill Banks. Note that parking is free on Sundays!

- The minimum number of participants for this competition will be 15 individuals/teams. If there are not enough participants a day prior to the competition, all registered competitors will be contacted about its cancellation -- either via e-mail or/and phone. Notice that a higher number of participants results in a  higher amount for the cash prize (see prize section; section 3). Therefore, invite your buddies to come. =)

- Instead of the traditional format of 6 a.m.-3 p.m. (9 hours), the 3rd Catfish Tourney on the Banks will start at 8 a.m. sharp and end at 4 p.m. (8 hours). Therefore, it's highly recommended for people to show up 1 hour or half an hour prior to the beginning of the event for setting up a good spot on the banks! Late participants will not be disqualified; however, they will clearly have a disadvantage in terms of time and location. Therefore, plan your schedule carefully.

- Prizes will be awarded half an hour after the end of the competition, in situ. The winners -- 1st, 2nd, 3rd place, and "Big Fish" -- will immediately walk out of the event with their prizes: cash and trophies. Once again: 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 given moment. There's a restroom and drinking fountain between Locust and Walnut on the Schuylkill Banks, and there is a Rite Aid on 23rd and Walnut in case anyone needs additional water or food. There's also a breakfast place on 24th and Locust (I personally like it a lot). If there are small emergencies, participants may leave and come back, as far as they come back within the range of the competition (8-4p.m.).

- Kids (15 and below) are highly encouraged to participate in a team. According to the PA Fish and Boat Commission laws, they are not required to have a fishing license in order to fish. Note that the parent/adult is responsible for his/her child's safety in situ -- there is a liability waiver in the e-mail registration form: section 2 (this document will be sent via e-mail once you contact me).

B. The General Fishing Rules:

Important Note: All fishing participants will abide by all PA Boat and Commission regulations and safety guidelines. That includes a valid fishing license for anyone 16 or above!

- A PA fishing license is required for anyone older than the age of 15 (as the law states), and it must be shown at the check in -- before the competition -- and placed on an outer garment during the entire period of the tourney (8-4 p.m.). Participation without a license will not be permitted. The license can be purchased online or in certain local stores (i.e. Dicks Sporting goods, Walmart, Bait Shops --
Brinkmans bait and Tackle, Bob's bait and Tackle; Sportsmaster; etc). 

- Fishing spots will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis; therefore, no rights 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, the spots were already divided in sections, so the anglers can stay at least 10 feet apart from each other. Chances are that there will be available spots for everyone.

- 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 rods per person/team" and "2 hook per rod" rule, with the purpose of preserving space for all participants. Anyone disrespecting this rule will be given an initial warning and a penalty of 5lbs on the total poundage of the bag. A second time will result in disqualification.

- For weight-in: there will be a fixed weight in station at the Walnut Street Bridge! 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 successfully landing the fish. After properly unhooking a fish, the participant should walk towards the Walnut Street Bridge. I'll eventually be on "lookout" as well. If not, wait a minute or so and I'll eventually be there to properly measure and record your fish. Take in consideration that even the smallest Catfish may contribute greatly for your fishing bag! Therefore, make sure you bring ALL your Catfish catches.

- There will be a penalty for mishandling fish. Every fish should be perfectly caught and released. In case the fish swallows the hook, the line should be cut. In case a fish is heavily injured and dies, there will be a severe penalty of 5lbs per incident. Catfish are tough fish; therefore, there shouldn't be any incidents! Follow the guidelines for safely practicing CPR - "Catch, Photo Release."
- A net is highly recommended for landing big fish (drop net or 8-feet long net). A Balzer fishing net is highly recommended. Believe me -- you do not want to take your chances by pulling a big fish by the line. High tide on October 27th will be at 8:30 a.m., and low tide at 3 p.m.. Again, a drop net or 8-feet long net is highly recommended.
- Only Catfish will be counted as part of the tourney. That includes: Channel, White, Flathead, and Bullhead. There are no Blue Catfish in the Schuylkill River. Each participant can (and should) weight-in as many Catfish as possible from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The five biggest ones (in terms of lbs) will determine the final bag/result for given participant.

2. Registration

In order to register, send an e-mail to "
sheng12182527@gmail.com" with the subject "4th Catfish Tourney on the Banks" or something similar. Also, write in the e-mail if you are registering yourself as solo ($20) or team ($30). 

After receiving the e-mail, I'll e-mail the person back with a formal Microsoft Word registration file (.docx) and liability waiver, requesting additional information and a "digital signature." Once the person fills up the registration file and e-mail it back to me, the same will be officially registered in the tourney. In case you are registering as a team, just make sure that you include BOTH NAMES in a single file.

On site registration will be available on Sunday, October 27th, from 7:00-8:00 a.m. I'll be under the Walnut Street Bridge with printed registration forms. However, I would prefer everyone to sign in in advance, since the event will not happen if there are less than 15 participants, a day prior to the event!

3. Results and Prizes

The prizes will be distributed for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, as well as the "Big Fish" (biggest Catfish of the day -- lbs).
Note that the Catfish Tourney on the Banks is a non-profit competition. In other words, Extreme Philly Fishing is absolutely making no money out of these events. 20% of the total cash amount will be donated to the SRDC non-profit organization, which  focuses on maintaining a clean environment and trail from Grey's Ferry up to the Fairmount Dam. Read more about it here.
In other words, $4-$6 dollars of your registration fee will go directly to a local level non-profit organization, and it will be focused on the well-being of the community. The remaining amount will be put together for the remaining cash prizes.

Summarizing, the prizes will be distributed as it follows (in cash, at the end of the event):

- 20% of all proceeds gathered in the tourney will go to the Schuylkill River Development Corporation non-profit organization. Therefore, as mentioned above, 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% of remaining cash + 1st place Trophy
2nd place: 30% of remaining cash + 2nd place Trophy
3rd place: 20% of remaining cash + 3rd place Trophy
Big Catfish: 10% of remaining cash + Big Fish Trophy

Therefore, the minimum prize amount (based on 15 participants) for the 2nd Catfish Tourney on the Banks will be:

15 participants (not considering teams) = $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

Note: if, for example, the first place is accounted for the biggest Catfish of the day, that person will be taking $96+24, and he/she will be receiving both trophies.

If the number of participants are actually 20 instead of 15, with 8 teams: 8*30 + 12*20= $480. The same calculation is performed. Therefore, the higher the number of participants/teams, the higher the amount of money distributed.

I'll request a formal e-mail from the non-profit organization after the donation is in, so every participant can receive a gesture of gratitude.
4. Additional Information
Here's a list of "advices" for every participant in the competition. If this is the first competition of your life, you should take in consideration the sentences below:
- Bring different types of bait: I would suggest 2-3 different types of bait for the competition. If they are not biting on one of them, switch! Trying different approaches is always a good idea. For bait choices, I would recommend: chicken liver, soap, nightcrawlers, bagels, bread dough, hot dogs, etc.
- Try different types of rigs: the idea that Catfish "always bite on the bottom" is a myth! Catfish will eat suspended baits! Therefore, if your rig on the bottom is not working properly, why not try to leave your bait a couple inches suspended from the bottom? Skuke Catfish can also be caught on a float.
- Never keep slack line: unless you are fishing for the giants, slack line is never a good idea. You are basically giving the smaller fish enough time to chew on your bait and leave. The big ones can swallow the hook. And the worst thing? You don't usually notice the bite if your line is slack! Therefore, use 1-2oz weights on the Banks and keep a straight line. 
- Try different distances: Somehow, most anglers believe that casting out there brings in bigger fish! On the Banks, I've caught many 5-7lbers along the walls -- simply dropping my line straight down! Soap is a killer bait for this technique, since American Eels ignore it. If you use chicken liver or cutbait, soon you will get a snag. Why? Because the American Eels dragged your hook to their holes!
- Avoid snags: there are very few snags from Locust to Chestnut. The snag area is really around the bridges, since a lot of people tend to throw trash in those areas. The Schuylkill River does have a nice population of American Eels, and those little fellas can easily drag your hooks into their holes, resulting in a nasty snag. Therefore, be attentive to fish bites and use bigger hooks for the Catfish. Leaving your rod unattended will certainly result in a bad snag.
I'll see all participants next month. For those who are planning to participate -- best of luck for you guys!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S.