Riverkeeper Report: Surprising fishing success on Nottoway this week

Published 9:20 am Friday, June 10, 2011

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 6th through the 7th on the Nottoway below Cypress Bridge.

The water was clear and low at 3.46 on the U.S. Geological Survey Gauge at Sebrell. At this level, I could not go but about a mile up or down river using either electric or gas power.

Trash on this trip was light, and I only picked up a bucketful. I figured the fishing would be off because of the condition the river was in, but I was wrong.

I caught seven largemouth and a few nice size bream. One of the bass weighed almost 5 pounds. I caught the bass on an AC Shiner, and the big one, on a Chuck Woolery Minnow Motolure. Yes, Chuck Woolery from the “Love Connection” game show.

It’s a pretty cool lure his company makes. When you cast the lure, a leader is pulled out of the bait, and that powers the action. The lure I was using will sit in one place and flap its tail on the water. When it stops, you just work the lure like a regular top-water bait, and the leader will pull out starting the internal motor again.

Anyway, it worked, and if you Google Motolure, you can learn more about it. By the way, I do not work for Chuck or am in anyway a spokesperson for Motolures.

I only spent one night again this trip and I was glad. It was one of the more “disturbing” nights I have experienced on the river in a long time.

Evidently, because it is so dry, the deer are hanging around the river in droves. All night long they voiced their displeasure of my intrusion on their sandbar. They bleated and blew and stomped all through the night and somehow figured out how to time that to when I was just about to drift off asleep.

Then the coyotes started to hollerin’ and barkin.’ That was actually pretty cool sounding for a while, but when they started working with the deer in a concerted effort to deprive me from even a wink of sleep, it soon got wearisome.

I actually managed to get some of the coyotes recorded that night.

Then there was the fish thing. Don’t know what that was all about, but I woke up hearing what sounded like a killer whale chasing seals on shore. Pretty sure that’s not what it was, but something big was chasing fish around in the shallow water, and it sounded like I heard fish flapping around on shore.

I was so tired I didn’t even bother to get up and look. I figured if that really happened the next day I would find evidence of it by either fish lying around on shore, or Moonpie would have serious fish breath.

The next morning I found neither, but did find Moonpie up already and strangely she was drinking a cup of coffee.

“What are you doing up so early?” I asked.

“Well, actually this is like my eight cup and I have been up since before daybreak,” she said. “I know we come out here to enjoy nature and the wildlife and stuff, but don’t they ever go to bed around here? I have heard of the old lions, tigers and bears quote about camping before. However I guess the new terror quote around here is going to be “coyotes, deer and fish, oh my! Out here on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.”

JEFF TURNER is riverkeeper for the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, an environmentally conscious organization that focuses on keeping local waterways healthy. BNRP’s parent organization is The Waterkeeper Alliance. Contact Turner at his website, www.blackwaternottoway.com.