The Functioning Fishaholics

Jun 102011

While I haven’t gotten around to posting the fishing mayham that was last weekend’s outing with my mom, I will tell you we caught a lot of fish.  I’ll also tell you there was a downside to our method…  GRUBS.

Butterworms - grubs

Butter Worms - Straight From Hell

Last weekend I experienced “Butter Worms” for the first time and these things are nasty!  If you could imagine a wax worm that was pink and looked like a wiggling naked fat guy you’d have an accurate description of what these foul grubs are like.

While I won’t be standing in line to use these disgusting Butterworm creatures ever again, they did give me a great idea –  What if I could take the form of these nasty rancid grubs and translate it into a fly pattern.  Instead of having to touch one of these evil wiggling bags of puss every time a Bluegill bites I could build a strong durable fly that would last for many fish.

My experiment involved three distinct types of grub.  Butter Worms pictured above, Wax Worms, and Japanese Beetle larva/grubs.


Wax Worms

Japese beetle grub

Japanese beetle grub

I was especially interested in mimicking the Japanese Beetle grub since this variety is fairly popular in the area and digging a small patch of grass usually reveals one or two.

The Flies:

Bunch of grub flies in a box

Just us Grubs here!

Japanese Beetle Grub:

For the Japanese Beetle Grub fly pattern I tried two variations.

Variation one:

  • Size 10 Wet fly hook
  • Orange, tan, pale yellow, pale morn. dun dubbing
  • Black thread (White would have been better but this is what I had on hand)
  • Gold wire

I tied in the gold wire ribbing at the bend of the hook and then made a thick layer of a mix of the dubbing colors for the body.  I wrapped the wire up around the dubbing to create segments for the grubs body.  I tied the wire down at the eye of the hook and used some orange dubbing to dub in a puff of orange for the head of the grub.

Japanese beetle grub fly pattern 1

Japanese beetle grub fly pattern 1

This one is kind of a hairy mess.  Pretty sure the fish won’t mind.

Variation two:

  • Size 10 Wet fly hook
  • Tan, pale yellow, pale morn. dun dubbing
  • Black thread (White would have been better but this is what I had on hand)
  • Two orange seed beads
  • Clear tubing

This one I started by putting two orange seed beads on the head.  The beads I had on hand were pretty small so I doubled up.  I would suggest finding bigger orange beads so you can use one and get a better look.  After adding the beads I tied in the stretch tubing at the bend of the hook.  I then dubbed a nice fat body and layered the tubing over top of the dubbing.  I tried to cover the dubbing as best as possible but some slipped through and I cut it off afterwards.  I then tied off the fly behind the orange beads.  At this point I wasn’t really digging the fuzzy look so I layered on a few thick coats of clear nail polish.  Yes folks poor man’s epoxy.  Like I said these are experimental and I’m by NO means anywhere near a professional fly tier.

Japanese Beetle Larve grub fly pattern

Japanese Beetle grub fly 2

Butter Worms:

These are the grubs that got the wheels turning in my head.  In the picture at the start of this post you can see that they have multiple colors in their body.


  • Size 10 Wet fly hook
  • fl. chart, rusty brown/red, Sulphur orange, pale yellow dubbing
  • Black thread (Another color would have been better but this is what I had on hand)

This fly is almost a copy of the first Japanese beetle grub fly pattern.  For the Butter worm pattern I first mixed up a bunch of bright colors of dubbing.  When mixed together they still retain some of their original color and give a speckled appearance.  I dubbed a fat body onto the hook and this time I tried to wrap it a little tight to avoid some of the poof I experienced in the Japanese Beetle fly.  I placed a few wraps over the dubbing to break up the body a bit.  I then gave the grub a big black head with the thread.  I finished off the thread with some clear nail polish to give it a shiny grub head look.  I like the head I made on this one but next time I’m going to try to segment the body a bit better.

Butter worm fly pattern

Butter Worm Grub Fly

Wax Worms:

These grubs are very popular for live bait fishing.  In these three pattern variations I also tried to capture the look of meal worms which look pretty much the same but have a harder darker body.

Variation one:

  • Size 10 Wet fly hook
  • pale yellow and tan dubbing
  • Black thread (Another color would have been better but this is what I had on hand)
  • Brown rubber bugskin strips

The first Waxworm fly pattern I tried to make ended up being a disaster but I ran with it and the final result has a few merritts.  I started out by tying the rubber bugskin in at the bend of the hook.  I then dubbed a body leaving some room at the eye of the hook for a head.  Once the dubbed body was formed I attempted to wrap the bugskin around the body to form segments.  I then wrapped a head near the eye of the hook with my thread and finished the fly.  At this point the bugskin tore and exploded off of the fly.  Frustrated I slapped on some clear nail polish and called it Waxworm pattern experiment one.

Wax worm grub fly pattern 1

Wax Worm 1

Variation two:

This fly pattern uses the same materials as above.  The only difference with this one is that I placed two coats of clear nail polish on the bugskin before I tied the head.  Even with this “glue” some of the bugskin tried to tear away again.  I slopped some nail polish on it and held it down and it seemed to dry perfectly.  I think this was my favorite tie of the night.  Next time I may make the head smaller.

Wax worm mealie worm fly pattern 2

Wax/mealie worm fly

Variation three:

For this Waxworm fly pattern I used the same materials as the above two flies but this time I secured the bugskin with an additional layer of clear stretch tubing.  Like I said, we are experimenting with grub fly patterns here.  This one also got a coat of clear nail polish to make it a little tougher.  If I tie this one again I’m going to try to add a little more thickness to the body.

wax worm fly patterns 3

Waxworm Pattern 3

So there you have it.  Six experimental grub fly patterns.  Waxworms, Butterworms and Japanese Beetle grubs.  Tying grubs isn’t that hard, easily accomplished by a beginning fly tier.

Collection of six grub fly patterns

Six different Grub flies

While I won’t give away any future posts, I will tell you that I tested these patterns tonight and they catch fish.


So what do you think?  Have you ever tried tying grub flies?  Do you have a better pattern?  Let us know in the comments below!



Jun 042011

Ladies and gentlemen, not even a month has gone by since we posted our last Functioning Fishaholics record Crappie.  If you missed the post Springtime Crappie in PA feel free to check it out.  In that post I bragged about how I caught an 11″ crappie on one of my newly designed, custom Functioning Fishaholics inline spinners.

It is with much honor (and a little sadness that I didn’t catch it) that I present you with the newest addition to our fish count hall of fame:

huge Crappie caught in pa 13"

Jeff's 13" Crappie

This 13″ Crappie was caught by Jeff on a Rapala Original Floater.  The fish was caught in the lake we like to refer to as our “secret spot”.

Jeff's 13" Crappie is a new Functioning Fishaholics record

Holy Crappie!

You can tell from the look on his face, this amazing beast of a fish was a shock for Jeff.  In a little less than one month we have beaten our record Crappie by 2″!  The fishing in Southeastern PA is heating up!

If you haven’t picked up a 2011 PA fishing license you may want to.  I think this fishing season is going to be one to remember!

Check out our 2011 fish count for all of the Functioning Fishaholics record fish as well as a detailed account of the numbers of fish we have landed this year in Southeastern PA.

You can find your very own 2011 PA fishing license on the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission website.


Have you hooked a lunker lately?  Tell us about your giant Crappie or monster Bigmouth Bass in the comments below!

May 252011

What can be better than a day of fishing with dad?  How bout a Father’s day derby?  How about a ton of prizes?  How bout a huge lake?

You are going to want to read this.

7.05lbBass.jpg – “7.05 lb smallmouth caught on Lake Champlain- A lunker by any definition!”

7.05lbBass.jpg – “7.05 lb largemouth caught on Lake Champlain- A lunker by any definition!”

The 30th annual LCI Father’s Day Derby presented by Yamaha is the premier lake-wide fishing event on beautiful Lake Champlain, the nation’s 6th largest freshwater lake. With over $750,000 up for grabs in cash and prizes, including the $300,000 Mystery Fish, three Starcraft boats rigged with Yamaha outboards, and $3000 guaranteed to each of the first-place finishers in the seven species categories, this is the one derby you can’t afford to miss! And with a basic registration fee of only $40, it is incredibly affordable! This  year’s event kicks off June 18 at midnight and continues through 4pm on June 20.

RecordLakeChamplainTrout.jpg – “LCI Angler Dana LaDuke went home with over $64,000 in cash & prizes for this 16.77 lb record Lake Trout!”

RecordLakeChamplainTrout.jpg – “LCI Angler Dana LaDuke went home with over $64,000 in cash & prizes for this 16.77 lb record Lake Trout!”

This family friendly event was named a Top 10 Summer Event from the Vermont Department of Tourism. It allows for fishing from boat or shore, both in the New York and Vermont sides of the lake. Our 12 weigh stations make it easy to weigh in your catch and host nightly raffles for great prizes such as GPS units from Lowrance, Gas Grills from Gander Mountain, gift certificates from Traxstech, Able, and Big Jon, as well as over $12,000 worth of lures from Sebile, Eppinger, Challenger, Mooselook, Lhur Jensen, Grizz Baits, and more!

Don’t take our word for it. Here is what some LCI Anglers have to say about the Father’s Day Derby presented by Yamaha:

“Thank you for your time and the effort that your staff has put in to create a tournament for everyone. I fish these derbies because I love to fish, and what better than to have a chance at getting paid to do what you love to do.”

— James Meacham & family, LCI Anglers


“It’s a privilege to fish the LCI Derby. Lake Champlain has some of the best fishing in the northeast in a beautiful setting. It’s great to see all the families out fishing having a great time.”

— Randy Gagne, LCI Angler


And one of our favorites:

“Like I always say, you can keep Christmas, I’ll take Derby weekend!”

— Keith Darby, LCI Angler


Check out these links for more information:


Are you planning to attend the LCI derby on Father’s day?  Let us know in the comments below!



May 232011

It may revolutionize the market for braided fishing line…

Sufix 832 advanced superline with gore performance fibers

Sufix 832 Advanced Superline

It’s not often that you can get excited about a piece of string.  Heck most casual anglers can even “get er’ done” with the same ol’ mono line for years!  At the end of the day as long as the fishing line brings in the fish, doesn’t tangle a lot, and stays out of the way, you could almost forget it’s there.  Could doing these simple things and doing them well be the key to making great fishing line?

I think Sufix may have answered that question with their new 832 Advanced Superline.

How was it tested?

I wanted to be a little different with how I reviewed this spool of Sufix 832 Advanced Superline.  Braid is traditionally something I think of using on a baitcasting reel.  Most fishermen don’t like using braid on a spinning reel because it tends to spin on the spool when under pressure from a fish.  I decided I wanted to try to overcome this issue and test this line on equipment that it would not normally be used on.  After a little research I discovered that by placing a small amount of Teflon tape around the spool you can get enough bite to get the line to stay put.

What did I like?

Strength: Even though this is 20lb braid you wouldn’t know it from looking at it.  The packaging says it’s equal to the thickness of 6lb mono and I’d have to agree.  I tied a 8lb leader of fluorocarbon to the end of this line  and fished a frog through lilly pads.  All day.  When I say “through the lily pads” I mean when the line wrapped around the lily pads I could pull right through them.  This braid is amazingly strong and after beating the heck out of it I noticed no damage to the line.  At one point I wrapped around a group of six thick stemmed lily pads.  I pulled my canoe across the lake and pulled the lily pads out of the ground.  I have no doubt that if tied directly to the lure I’d be bending hooks well before this braided line ever broke.

Texture: This has to be the smoothest braid I’ve ever tried.  Sufix 832 Advanced Superline is made of eight braided fibers that are wrapped 32 times per inch.  One of the eight fibers is made from Gore performance fiber.  What does that mean?  It means there is a special fiber in the braid that makes the line smooth and almost slippery.

Sufix 832 superline box

Here's the box

I was actually asked about the line by another random fisherman one day while fishing from shore.  No lie.  I told him I was using Sufix 832 Superline and he actually reached out, touched my line, and said, “wow that feels just like silk.”  If I wasn’t planning on reviewing this line he may have gotten his hand slapped but I decided to be a sport!

I really can’t say enough about the texture of this line.  Other braids I’ve used in the past tended to knot up pretty quickly and the knots did not budge.  I have another brand right now on a baitcaster and when I get wind knots, loops, or tangles I will usually cut the line before I try to untie the knot.  The few tangled loops I’ve had with Sufix 832 Advanced Superline tended to pull themselves out fairly easily due to the smoothness of the line.  Less time untangling line means more time fishing!

What didn’t I like?

With all of the praise above it’s hard to imagine a category where this line didn’t shine.  For the sake of objectivity and a fair and balanced review I would be remiss if I didn’t share the one thing that I hated about the Sufix 832 Advanced Superline.

Sufix 832 Advance superline spool

No round peg for this one!

Ok file this one under petty:  I REALLY didn’t like the hole in the center of the spool of line.  Call me old fashioned, but I like to spool my line to my reel by jabbing a pen through the middle and holding it with my feet.  Having sharp edges rather than a smooth inside hole made the spool bounce around a lot when I was trying to put the line on my reel.  Again, this is a petty point but I like to pay attention to details.

My final verdict:

If you have $19.95 to spend on braided line, head on over to and buy it.  I like Sufix 832 Advanced Superline.  I will buy it in the future.  Lately I’ve lost my patience with Fluorocarbon as a main line since it seems to ALWAYS tangle for me.  Mono is still great but anymore I just feel like it is way too thick for the strength you get out of it.  Sufix 832 Advanced Superline is going to become my go-to line.  I can feel it.  I may even be tempted to buy 6lb test Sufix next year and run it with no leader for small stream fishing.

For more science and details on the braid head on over to the Sufix website.


The Sufix 832 Advanced Superline reviewed in this article was provided by the amazing folks over at the Outdoor Blogger Network for purposes of this review.  Please do me a favor and help me repay them for the hookup by visiting their site.  The Outdoor Blogger Network is a great resource for anyone interested in outdoor activities.

If you read this review and think you might want to purchase some Sufix Superline please click one of the links in this article.   Thanks in advance for your click.  Each purchase you make through my Amazon links puts a penny or two into my pocket and helps me keep this amazing fishing resource going.


Have you tried Sufix 832 Advanced Superline yet?  If so let us know in the comments below!

May 222011

I did some fly fishing on the East Branch of the  Perkiomen Creek this afternoon.

Smallmouth on the fly

Although the weather report was calling for rain, the afternoon remained dry, somewhat warm, and even sunny at times.

East Branch Smallmouth Bass

The fishing was good

I decided to try my luck on a new section of the creek that I hadn’t fully explored before.  I tied on a black wooly bugger and began to work my way downstream.  My first (almost) fish of the day was a NICE rainbow trout.  I had the trout about halfway in, I could see he was a beaut but with one little wiggle he sent my fly flying back towards my face.  DENIED.

I continued to work my way downstream and ended up working a few pools around a bridge.  The two Smallmouth Bass you see above were two of the four I caught by the bridge.

The third Smallmouth Bass I caught on the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek

PA fishing license well used

This was my third Smallmouth Bass I caught on the wooly bugger.  Although these fish weren’t very big they were hitting my fly on almost every cast and I was having a great time.  I’m usually quite happy as long as I’m catching fish and making good use of my PA fishing license!

Rock bass caught on a wooly bugger

Rockbass on the East Branch Perkiomen Creek

This Rockbass came from the shadows and obliterated my wooly bugger.  There are a lot of Rockbass in the East Branch Perkiomen Creek and for their size they are pretty hearty fighters.

The next Smallmouth Bass I caught was a first for me.  I’ve caught a lot of strange looking fish in my lifetime, some with bite marks, missing fins, etc. but this was just weird.

Smallmouth Bass with only one eye

Yarr I be a pirate fish!

In case you missed it, the pirate fish above only has one eye.  Yep that’s right, the wooly bugger flies I tie are so good that even half blind fish can find em!

Bluegill on a foam beetle

Later in the evening I decided to swap my fly to a foam beetle to see if I could get any topwater action.  I landed a couple of bluegills.

Pregnant bluegill


There were some yellow/white mayflies flying around randomly so I decided to switch to the closest thing I had in my limited fly box.  The fly I used has a red body and judging from the pregnant Bluegill I caught red thread must be a trigger for mommy Bluegills with food cravings.

All in all I had a great time.  As a novice fly fisherman I can see my skills improving with each trip I make.  Although my casts are still far from perfect, I was able to maintain some nice control today.  I learned more about  looking for subtle cues to bites in the current.  Most of the fish I caught were small to medium sized but I still got some great practice learning how to fight stronger fish on my fly rod.  It amazes me how different fishing with a fiberglass fly pole is compared to my usual spinning rod.  The extra length and softness of the fly rod give life and challenge to landing even a small bluegill.

I love fly fishing and today was a heck of a day for my 2011 PA fishing license!

Fish Count:

  • 3 Bluegill
  • 1 Rockbass
  • 4 Smallmouth

You can check out the complete 2011 stats for the Functioning Fishaholics on the Fishcount page


Were you or a friend able to go fly fishing this weekend?  Have you ever caught a pirate fish?  Let us know in the comments below!



May 182011

Rain, rain, go away, come again another day…  Will it ever stop raining in South Eastern Pennsylvania?  Seems like there has been 40 days and 40 nights of off and on rain.

My hands arms and legs have been shaking uncontrollably lately.  It starts with  a small twitch and pretty soon my whole body starts shaking.  A single thought, an idea of something outdoors, a hook, a rod, a reel.  Addiction.  My name is Matt and I am a Functioning Fishaholic.

Today while the National Weather Service was busy declaring a tornado warning for central Montgomery County, I sat at work listening to the rain and wind howl overhead, wishin’ for some fishin’.

Now before I continue I’d like to say that none of the weather in PA can hold a candle to the floods that are taking place on the Mississippi river.  The midwest is going through some tuff times and my heart goes out to everyone. Hopefully the water subsides soon so you can get back to normal life (and fishing) again.

deer on a porch - Mississippi floods

At least the hunting's good...

Not a month has gone by this year where I haven’t braved the elements to wet a line.  In January and February it was fishing through Ice.  March and April involved spring showers and trout power (bait).

So why does the May rain have me off my game?  It doesn’t.  Today while I was driving home through a brief pause in the weather I noticed that even though it rained all day, the Perkiomen Creek was only a little bit high.

Those that live near the Perkiomen Creek know that it likes to overflow its banks at the slightest sign of rain.  The Perkie is a wild, easily flooding creek that often overflows its banks and consumes everything in its path.

Today however, the water was only a little high.  I decided to make a go of it and attempt an hour or so of fishing.  With the water a little high and slightly stained I knew the fishing wasn’t going to be easy but then again nothing worth doing is ever easy.

I pulled my telescoping spinning rod combo from the trunk and decided to do a quick run through the lures I keep in my fishing vest.  After a few different spinners I decided to give one of my deer hair jigs a try.

Rockbass caught on the Perkiomen Creek


This chunky Rockbass decided to slam my jig on the very first cast.  I was surprised at the size as most of the Rockbass in the Perkiomen Creek and surrounding area are usually much shorter.  From the looks of it this Rockbass was also pregnant.  I decided to get the fish back into the water quickly before any eggs popped out.

The bugs were out full force on the Perkiomen creek tonight. It looked like at least two different types of aquatic insects were active.  Lots of small baitfish were eating bugs off of the surface and I also saw a few HUGE fish jumps (most likely carp).

Sometimes one fish is enough (to stop the shakes).  Today wasn’t an epic fishing trip but at least mother nature decided to give me one hour of non-flooded fishing!

Have you or someone you love been troubled by rain or floods lately?  Is it screwing up your fishing?  Let us know in the comments below!


May 082011

I made an after work stop to the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek last Tuesday.  It was a warm and fairly sunny May evening.  Sparse clouds were rolling through and other than a few light raindrops, the weather was perfect.

Picture of a pool on the East Branch Perkiomen Creek

East Branch Perkiomen Creek

I started this trip with my spinning rod and one of the inline spinners I had recently made.  And the fun began…

Picture of a Rock Bass caught on east branch of perkiomen creek

Rock Bass Bite was on

The Rock Bass bite was on FIRE!  Almost every cast I was pulling out a 6-8″ Rock bass.

Rock Bass picture on the east branch of the perkiomen creek 5-2-2011

They were lovin' the inline spinner

Seven Rock Bass in a row were landed on my gold bladed inline spinner.  I was catching them by slowly dragging the lure through the rocks in the shallows.  The bite was super aggressive and cast after cast they were hammering my bait.  I was beginning to think my method of fishing was unfair.  Each cast resulted in a powerful strike with almost every other cast landing a fish.  Being a sporting sportsman, I decided to fetch my fly rod from the car.  I figured that if these fish were this active I’d add a little challenge.

Bluegill caught on the fly at the East Branch of the Perkiomen creek

Bluegill on the fly

What’s this?!  Oh yes the obligatory bluegill.  To have a true fishing trip you need at least one bluegill, it’s a law of nature.  This fish was the first one I caught on the fly at the East Branch of the Perkiomen Creek.  He was just a little guy but with my fledgling fly fishing skills each fish I catch on the fly is meaningful.

One more Rock Bass

One more Rock Bass

Here’s the last fish I caught that evening.  Another Rock Bass, this time on the fly.

All in all I had a great after work fishing trip on the Perkie.  There is something wonderful and rebellious about fishing in your “work clothes”.  Our society forces us to wear specific clothing to be professional.  Whether it’s a pair of khakis or a uniform, professionals gotta play dress-up.  This is how we are judged by our peers and corporate overlords at work.

The water judges us by our actions, not by what we wear.  On the water being professional centers around what you do.  Things like, not littering, not crowding another fisherman, not overplaying fish, define our professionalism.    You don’t have to wear the latest Simms gear to be respected by the water.  You just have to show up with an anglers heart and a rod in hand.

May 042011

I ran into the organizers of the Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby on Twitter @phillybassderby the other day.  It seems our City of Brotherly Love is hosting a Striped Bass fishing throwdown of EPIC proportions.  The spirit of this derby is very impressive;  So many times you see fishing derby’s for marked fish or for full stringers of keepers.  This derby is fish friendly and centered around the idea of CPR (catch, photograph, release).  The Philly Striped Bass Derby also brings the love of fishing into the heart of the city and helps share the sport with an urban audience.

If you’d like to skip some reading and go sign up click here, otherwise without any further delay I present you with some great details from the organizers of the Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby!

Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby logoFirst Annual Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby Brings Together Anglers, Forgotten Rivers, and a Migratory Fish for One Month Contest Focusing on Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers

The Derby, which expects to draw between 100 and 200 participants, is a catch and release fishing tournament for shore anglers.  No boats here! Anglers will be walking the shorelines of Penn Treaty Park, Bartram’s Gardens, and Hog Island, looking for the best place to set up a rod and catch the big one.  Other anglers have “secret spots” hidden amongst the rivers’ piers, factories, and rail yards.  With gas prices at $4 a gallon, why drive all the way to the NJ shore or pump money into a boat when there is fantastic fishing right here on the banks of Philly’s rivers? It’s also better for the environment!  The Derby includes one month of fishing, two community fishing days and a clean-up day

Picture of people fishing for striped bass in phillyThe contest is awarding over $1,000 in cash and prizes for the longest striped bass caught. As the Derby is catch and release, participants must submit a photograph or video of their fish next to a special Derby supplied measuring tape.

The goal of the Derby is threefold. First, it will bring together diverse members of the angling community and introduce new people to urban fishing.  From PBR drinking hipsters, Center City power players, to grizzled fishing veterans and local families and children, the Derby will bring Philly’s diverse populace together. Second, the event is meant to draw attention to the role that clean urban waters have for supporting migratory fish. Striped Bass need clean rivers to reproduce.  The Delaware Rivershed is under threat from a variety of pollution sources, including the potential damage caused by the hydrofracking of the Marcellus Shale. Finally, the derby highlights the importance of catch and release and stewardship of the river and its fish.

Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis): Caught in Atl...

Image via Wikipedia

The Derby is being organized by a trio of friends: Len Albright, Jason Strohl, and Oliver Cooney.  They live in different neighborhoods, West Philly, South Philly, and Fishtown, but were drawn together by their mutual love for fishing.  Avid anglers of the NJ shore, they were surprised when they first learned about the migration of striped bass into the local rivers each Spring.  Albright states, “I was walking on the river trail behind the art museum and saw a guy catch a humungous striped bass, and was like wow, there are striped bass in the Schuylkill?”  Albright later learned that there is a special fish ladder in place at the Fairmount Waterworks, which allows migratory fish, including striped bass, herring, and shad, to make their way around the waterfall and upstream so they can spawn each Spring.   He started reading about the migration patterns of the striped bass, and meeting other local anglers.  Strohl adds, “The Delaware and Schuylkill host a variety of migratory fish each Spring. These rivers have a long history of fishing festivals focused on these fish.  The festivals stopped when the rivers were so polluted that the fish couldn’t  survive. But as the rivers are getting cleaner, and people are advocating for them more, the fish are returning and so are the festivals.” For example, Lambertville, NJ hosts an annual Shadfest, not to mention the Shadfest in Fishtown.

Illustration of a group of striped bass

Image via Wikipedia

The month-long contest format allows people time to explore the rivers, get to know other anglers, and to catch “Derby Fever”.  Derbies like ours occur in other places along the Atlantic coast as the stripers “pass by” on their migration route.  Rather than doing a one day fishing contest, the month long Derby allows us to appreciate this fish for the full time that they are living in our local waters! Although the fishing is typically better in April, the Derby is taking place in May to reduce the fishing pressure on the stripers before the spawn.

Delair Bridge, across the Delaware River from ...

Image via Wikipedia

The goal of the first annual Philadelphia Striped Bass Derby is to draw attention to these migratory fish that spend two months of the year in the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.  Albright states, “Many people know that the rivers are here, but they don’t have a way to connect with it, to make it personal.  Fishing along the river with friends and family, and realizing the connection between the rivers and the Oceans, gives people a way to make and hold this personal connection.  The more people feel personally connected to the rivers, the more they want to take care of them and protect them. That’s our real goal. We want to encourage people to make personal connections to our local rivers and to use those connections to become advocates and stewards of the rivers.

Derby Details

There is a $25 to register which includes:

  • Entry in the Philadelphia Striped Bass Fishing Derby
  • Philly Striped Bass Derby T-shirt
  • Official Philly Striped Bass Derby measuring tape for measuring your catch
  • Button
  • 20% of each entry fee to the Philly Striped Bass Derby is being donated to the Delaware Riverkeeper organization

Wow!  with perks like that registering for this contest is a prize in itself!

If you are interested in entering the fishing derby head on over to and sign up TODAY.  The Philly Striped Bass Derby site contains all of the contest info, registration details, leaderboard, and more!


Have you signed up for the Derby yet?  Let us know in the comments below.  Also if you have pictures of your Striped Bass from the Derby let us know and we’ll give you a post (and props) on the site!


May 032011

Last Saturday was the first day of real fishing this year.  If you’ve been following along you know that so far in 2011 the Functioning Fishaholics haven’t caught many fish.  A few stocked Trout, a nice Smallmouth Bass, and a Bluegill here or there but no serious fishing action.  This past Saturday was the beginning of a new chapter in the fishing story of 2011.  Lots of fish and even four different species caught in one day.

black crappie caught in montgomery county pa

Good fishin'

Jeff and I hit the water around 5:45am just as the sun was rising over our favorite secret spot.  While we were expecting a warm spring day we were greeted with a cool chill that would persist for most of the morning.  The water was unseasonably warm in this small lake and to our surprise a number of fish were awake and biting.

The Crappie bite was on

Lots o' fish

Jeff (as usual) started his normal routine of bringing in Largemouth Bass after Largemouth Bass with his Rapala Original Floater working the bait topwater.  The lily pads are starting to emerge and working the edges with the Rapala seemed to be the ticket for Largemouth bass in South Eastern Pennsylvania.

Picture of Jeff's first largemouth bass

A bunch of Bass for Jeff

While Jeff was working the Rapala I attempted to throw a bunch of my handmade custom lures.  I started with the Party Popper I made over the winter.  It worked like a tank bumping its way through the pads and popping a wall of water the size of a dinner plate.  While the Popper was an impressive prototype it was only able to get a small amount of interest from the Bass.

Jeff's big largemouth of the day

Jeff's biggest of the day

Jeff on the other hand kept having luck with the Original Floater.  The Largemouth Bass above was his largest of the day.  She must have just dropped her eggs as her belly was almost as thin as paper.

I think I’m going to write a letter to Rapala to see if they will sponsor this guy.  According to legend Jeff keeps 16 spare copies of the same Rapala Original Floater in his underwear drawer just in case he ever gets a snag.

Functioning Fishaholics record crappie

Nice Crappie, all day

My luck on Saturday was Crappie…  As in the fish.  The shot above is one of the many 10″ Crappie I caught during our five hour trip.

Image of a really dark Crappie

This Crappie was DARK!

I caught all of my Crappie using one of my brand new home/hand made inline spinners.  The spinner I made had a big golden Colorado blade and some orange/pink beads.  I should have a post up on the site soon about all of the new tackle I’ve been making lately so keep your eyes peeled!

The highlights of the day included a new Functioning Fishaholics Crappie record by yours truly.  This Crappie was 11 inches and you can read more about it here:  Springtime Crappie In PA

We also landed a few Pickerel that day.

Pickerel caught on an inline spinner

My Pickerel

This was one of the Pickerel we caught.  I found him by carefully threading my inline spinner through some lily pads near the shoreline.  The fight was fairly short but I could tell that this fish had plenty of strength!

All in all the day was full of great fish.  Officially the count was as follows:

10 Largemouth Bass
10 Crappie
1 Bluegill
3 Pickerel

So there you have it, two Functioning Fishaholics, one canoe, five hours of fishing, twenty-four fish, four species of fish, and one heck of a good time!

Check out our gallery over on Facebook for more pictures of this trip!


How’s the fishing in your neck of the woods?  Are the warm water species starting to bite?  Let us know in the comments below!

Apr 302011

We hit up one of the Functioning Fishaholics secret fishing spots today and the Crappie bite was on fire!

While there will be a full fishing report soon, here is a pic of the new Functioning Fishaholics record Crappie.

Here is the new Functioning Fishaholics 11" record crappie

Look at that mouth!

11″ Crappie caught on one of my newly designed spinners.  This spinner caught more (and larger) Crappie from our secret spot than anything else.  I can’t wait to get back out on that spot and try this spinner again!

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