Riverkeeper Report: Poor fishing day on the Nottoway

Published 9:29 am Friday, June 3, 2011

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 25th through the 26th on the Nottoway below Courtland.

A 4-foot long brown snake slithers on a downed tree along the Nottoway River. -- Jeff Turner | Tidewater News

The water was clear and 4.3 on the U.S. Geological Gauge in Sebrell. Air temps ranged from 70 to 93 and it was muggy!

Trash was pretty light except for the sandbar I camped on. Some idiots had been there and left beer cans, tinfoil, candles and bullet casings all over the beach.

The fishing on this trip was pretty bad. I caught four largemouth to two pounds. All were poor and had warm water sores on them.

I also caught four bowfin. Both species were caught on an AC Shiner. I could not catch a red throat, and that’s a shame as years ago, it was real good red throat fishing there.

I was in the itty-bitty riverkeeper boat on this trip trying out a new outboard. It was not running right, and with only a paddle for backup, I cut the trip short of our usual three-day stay.

After one particularly long session of trying to start the motor, Moonpie said “I bet we could have gone a mile or two if all those rope pulls you made trying to start that outboard had been paddle strokes.”

“Yea,” I replied. “And just think how much further still we could have gone if all that hot air comin’ outta your face could have been directed into a sail.”

Even with all the shoulder pain from the motor issue, it was still very nice out there. We saw two pair of ospreys doing their thing and heard lots of wild turkeys gobbling in the swamp.

On these upper river summer trips in the small boat, I take very little gear so the boat will be light enough to get over trees and sandbars. So we did not even have a lantern, and on the only night we camped, we were treated to a fantastic lightning bug show out over a very dark river.

Surprisingly the skeeters nor the deer flies were bad on this trip. We did, however, see one of the largest brown water snakes I have seen in a long time. This snake was only about 4 feet long, but was big around as a quart jar. It let me get about 2 feet away and then abruptly turned and jumped in the river right beside the boat.

I heard a big gulp from the back of the boat and looked at Moonpie, who had turned a whiter shade of pale! It’s been a couple years since I have been able to do this kind of camping due to injuries, and this two-day trip put a hurtin’ on me.

But let me get my equipment right, and I’m telling ya,’ I fully intend to bring ya’ll more stories this summer from the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.