Fishing for Meowfish on the Schuylkill River (01/18/17, Philadelphia, PA)

What's up, fellow avid anglers?

Here is my fishing report for January 18th, 2017. The statistical fishing chart was updated as well.

Time: 11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Fishes caught:

-- 6 Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus)
-- 1 American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)


Below are the highlights for this fishing session:

My 6th outing of 2017! Don't forget to watch it in HD quality (1080p60)! If you enjoy watching my videos, please support my YouTube Channel by subscribing to it. More likes and more subscribes = more time to make videos! :)

Summary & Photos:

Taking the mild Winter weather in consideration, I finally decided to hit the tidal Schuylkill River in Center City, Philadelphia, PA, for some traditional Channel Catfish -- a.k.a. the "Meowfish." Heh.

The Schuylkill Banks -- one of my favorite Winter Catfishing spots in Philadelphia.

Before I give you folks the summary for this fishing session, here is a fun "fishing story" for you guys. It is actually a legit and authentic fish story; however, I have absolutely no physical proof to back it up:

"It is February of 2014. The trees are bare and the land is white. It is the harsh Winter time. Air temperatures below 32F, air temperatures close to 35F. I soak three rods with pieces of cut American Eel on the Schuylkill Banks, in hopes of catching the average 3-5lbs Winter Channel Catfish! 

At 12:30 p.m., after landing 5-6 fish in the range of 3-5lbs, I get a very light bite on my medium-heavy rod. I pick it up. I feel it. Nothing. I return the rod to its initial position. Soon after, another light bite. Same process -- nothing! Third time, yet another very very light bite: the line barely goes slack. This time, I decide to pick up the rod and keep it in my hands. After feeling a small tug, I set up the hook and immediately feel weight on the other side of my line. 

Fish on

It takes me about five minutes to land the fish, and every second of the fight I feel immense resistance down there. After seeing the fish surface, I immediately realize that the beast down there is my new PB (Personal Best) Channel Catfish! is an ancient one! 

I land it with my net. I measure it on my digital scale: 12.25lbs. I yell. I jump. It is definitely the biggest Channel Catfish that I have ever landed from the River! It may not be a trophy Channel Catfish within the United States of America, but it is a trophy fish for me. My hands get numb from handling the fish, so I can only lethargically reach my Sony camera within my pants' pocket. 

For my luck, I see a young beautiful lady walking through the trail. So, I ask her to take a few shots for me! She sees my trophy catch and says 'That is a big one!' She gets the camera and take a few shots -- horizontal and vertical. She returns the camera; she smiles; and then she leaves. I get to see my PB Catfish one more time, before finally putting the beast back where it belongs -- in the deep waters of the Schuylkill River.

I sit on a rock and look around. Numb as I am, I still can't believe it! So, I reach for my camera and turn it on. I go through the photos one more time, admiring the fish in awe. And that is when it happens...with numb fingers and one small mistake, all photos of the day get deleted from the camera!!! Agony fills me up, because at that moment, I realize that the beast that I so longed to catch will always remain a memory and a memory alone."

Very sad story, right? But that was to show you readers, ultimately, that Winter fishing on the Schuylkill Banks is usually very productive for the bigger Channel Catfish...which is precisely why I went down there again today.

The conditions for the day were prime, folks! We had a warm rain just the day before, elevating the water temperatures of the Schuylkill River to 40F. The current of the River also went up by a few hundred cfs (cubic feet per second). I arrived at the River around 11:30 a.m. -- 1 hour prior to dead low tide.

I soaked two rods with chunks of American Conger (Conger oceanicus) -- one with a slip-sinker setup, and the other one with a high-low rig. With my third rod, I used a high-low rig with small size 8 mustad hooks, tipped with small pieces of rotten nightcrawlers -- a.k.a. my Zombiecrawlers.

An American Conger Eel that I caught in the Absecon Inlet, back in Fall of 2016

Not too surprisingly, I started to get bites non-stop! As soon as I cast my first line in the water, I got 2-3 small taps on the Eel chunk while setting my second rod. After casting my second rod in the water, I got bites on both rods while setting up my third rod! 

In my first thirty minutes of fishing, I ended up landing my first two Channel Catfish of the day: one on a piece of cut Eel and the other on a piece of zombiecrawler:

Fish #109. A Channel Catfish

The action stayed hot until 12:30 p.m.: when low tide dropped in. After so, I still had a few bites here and there; however, things were just not the same! Thankfully, around 3:20 p.m., I landed a solid Meowfish to boost my mood (3.61lbs). It was a funny bite too, since the fish came up on my ultra-light setup:

Fish #112. My biggest Channel Catfish of the day, measuring 3.61lbs on the digital scale. Don't let this photo fool you, reader -- it was a chunky guy :)

The rest of the day was super boring. I did get a few more Catfish bites; however, no hook-ups. On a side note...I ended up landing my first American Eel of 2017, which was also the last fish of the day. The small lost Eel hit my zombiecrawler just moments before I packed up:

Fish #113. My first American Eel of the year!
In the end, I didn't really encounter my beloved 12lber Catfish from the River. Hehe. But it was a nice day on the water regardless!

Best of luck to all of us,

Long Days and Pleasant Nights!

Tight lines!


Leo S. a.k.a. Extreme Philly Fishing


Buddy Miles

January 27, 2017 at 5:32 PM
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Great post Leo!

David The Gamer

January 27, 2017 at 5:35 PM
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What rig did you use to catch the cats?

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