May Fishing Sessions: 05/07 - Flathead Fishing on the Non-Tidal Schuylkill River (Philadelphia, PA)

Hello, Blog Readers! 

Today I'm bringing you my fishing report for May 7th:

--- May 7th, 2015 ---

Location: Schuylkill River (@Kelly Drive)
Time: 3:00-10:30 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 1 Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris)
-- 1 Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
-- 1 Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)
-- 6 Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)


Below are the highlights for this fishing session:

The video is about twenty-seven minutes long. A long introduction is given until 5:15. Then, the "bait collecting" portion of the video goes until 9:30. Finally, I give a brief introduction on my setup for Flathead Catfish and the rest is just fishing. Heh. The video also portrays short clips of my friends Bryant R. and Ronald J. "Shogun" catching some Flathead Catfish. Don't forget to watch it in HD (1080p50)! If you enjoy watching my videos, please support my YouTube Channel by liking and subscribing to it. :)


The goal for the day was to take my friend Bryant R. for some Flathead fishing, since he had never caught one before. I started my day by collecting some bait at Kelly Drive; then, I moved over to the Girard Avenue Bridge for the Catfish.


I used three rods for this fishing session. The first setup consisted of a Cortland Endurance 9' noodle rod with a Shimano Symetre 4000FL and 12lbs Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon line. The second setup was a heavy action Daiwa Samurai rod + reel with 20lbs Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon line. The third set up was a Daiwa Samurai medium action rod with a Shimano Sedona 2500FD and also 12lbs Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon line. 

For bait catching, I used only the first setup. I tied on a size #6 Eagle Claw hook with nightcrawlers. For the Flathead Catfish, all setups were rigged with an egg sinker, a medium sized Eagle Claw golden snap-swivel, and a snelled 7/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook. The weight of the egg sinkers varied between 2-3 oz. For bait, cut Bluegill was used for the entire fishing session.


Before meeting my friend Bryant R. at the Girard Avenue Bridge on Kelly Drive, I decided to go a little bit after the Boathouse Row for some Sunfish. Since I didn't have an aerator with me, I pretty much stuffed my small bucked with six Bluegill for cut-bait. I was quite thrilled while bait fishing, actually -- after all, I even landed and released a nice Pumpkinseed! I also saw a couple small Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides) swimming around the Sunfish.

It took me about fifteen minutes to catch those Sunfish. Believe it or not, spawning Sunfish on the non-tidal Schuylkill River are not as easy to catch as people often believe! Maybe due to catch-and-release, the Sunfish around that area are spooked pretty easily. Interestingly enough, that area is a prime spot for fly-fishing! Not many anglers have attempted to fly-fish in that stretch of the River; however, the success ratio would be quite high.

Anyways...after catching all the necessary bait, I walked over to the east side of the Girard Avenue Bridge. I setup my three rods there around 5:00 p.m. -- two with cut bait and one with a live Bluegill.

The rest is pretty much in the video! I ended the day with one Flathead Catfish at 9lbs. My friend Bryant R. ended up catching his first Flathead ever, which was awesome! Congratulations, Bryant! His fish was a little bit shy of 9lbs also. Both fish were caught on cut Bluegill. The live one didn't have a hit the whole night! :(


A gorgeous Pumpkinseed from the non-tidal Schuylkill River! They are just wonderful, aren't they? Such lively colors! That's why I never keep Pumpkinseed as bait. Since they are rarer than Bluegill, I prefer to put them back. Remember folks: gotta harvest selectively.

My traditional Flathead Catfish fishing spot at Kelly Drive. The Girard Avenue bridge is in the background. On the other side of the bridge, there's the Philadelphia Zoo! As a side note, that Zoo was the first Zoo ever in the United States of America. I bet you didn't know that, did you? Heh.

My one and only Flathead Catfish of the day. 9lbs even. It was caught on a piece of Bluegill.

Same fish, another angle. :)

My friend Bryant R.'s fish. Just a little bit shy of 9lbs! His first one ever. Boy, he was happy about it! Hah. Congrats, Bryant! 

A nice shot of Bryant with his first ever Flathead. The fish was safely release, by the way.

And, to end the night, a Channel Catfish! I was so excited when the fish bit...until it turned out to be a Channel. A nice 4lber, though! 

Best of luck for all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo S. 


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