Riverkeeper Report: Fair weather doesn’t make for great fishing

Published 8:54 am Friday, February 10, 2012

Moss grows along the Blackwater River. -- Jeff Turner | Tidewater News

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 30th through the 1st on the Blackwater River below Franklin.

The water was clear and 47 degrees. Air temps ranged from 43 to 70 degrees.

Yes, it was pretty nice weather right up until it started raining on me Wednesday night.

My friends at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told me that it would not rain until after midnight Wednesday, so I decided I would stay the second night since it was so pretty on the river that day.

At 4:30 that afternoon, I checked with them again, and they were sticking with the “after midnight” song and dance. At 7:30, it started raining.

I just sat there as long as I could, as my fire grew smaller and smaller succumbing to the rain and Moonpie’s tears. At 8:30, I had to retreat into the tent.

It was a long night. Trash on this trip was not too bad; I only picked up a live-well full. I put the trash in that because I could not catch any fish to put in there.

Actually I did catch three largemouth, two of which were nice two-pounders. All were caught with a Smithwick Rogue.

I also fished for yellow perch, speckle, stripers and blackfish, and did not have a hit. So pretty weather does not make good fishing.

On the first day, I went downriver to the Cherry Grove eagles’ nest to see what was going on. I did not see anybody around not even in the nest, which according to my records they should be laying right now.

The nest did look like it had new material added to it though. Hopefully next time I go down that way, I’ll see a white head poking out of the top.

As nice as the weather was (most of it) on this trip, I had a really lot of crazy things happen to me. Most were just those bothersome little things that compounded together and start really getting to me.

So, on the second day of these things happening, I broke a fishing rod. Now remember, on my last trip I had one snatched away from me by a bully fish and was lost overboard. So breaking the rod ‘bout got my dander up, but right after breaking the rod, I caught a fish.

One of the nice two-pound bass I told you about. Well, my whole demeanor instantly changed and I was happy. Moonpie said “see, even when things seem like they are ganging up on you, there is always salvation right around the corner.”

I was about to agree with her as I was looking down at my salvation fish when suddenly the lure popped out of its mouth. The rod fell out of my lap and the five-inch long lure with three sets of treble hooks somehow hit me right in the back of the head.

I felt the blood, not from the lure, but in my face boiling up. I turned to look at Moonpie, who had by now shut up and was hiding under the seat. I sat there for a minute to see if I felt blood running down my neck, and when I did not, I began accessing the damage.

Thank goodness for my ponytail that Freezing Deer had braided for me before I left, and I had that folded up under my hat. That’s what stopped those nine hooks from going into my scalp.

And even though I lost some hair cutting the lure out, at least I did not have to go to the hospital. So the lesson here is when things seem bad, relax, be happy, don’t get frustrated and make sure your hair is tucked under your hat when you’re on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

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.