Riverkeeper Report: Working to keep trash out of the Blackwater River

Published 9:21 am Friday, April 20, 2012

A Northern water snake curls up on a limb. -- Jeff Turner | Tidewater News

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 10th through the 12th on the Blackwater below Franklin.

The water was high that first day, fast, clear and 60 degrees. Air temps ranged from 37 to 68 degrees, and the wind never ceased.

I picked up a lot of trash on this trip along with a bucket and a metal gas can. I can’t figure why all this stuff was in the river, as we have not had a big rain in some time.

I also found where a large piece of plastic pipe had gone over the edge at the old city dump. It was perched so it might have rolled into the river eventually.

I called the city, and they were kind enough to retrieve it before it made its way to the river. It was like 16 inches by 8 feet long so that would have been hard for me to get.

I saw no other water quality issues.

The fishing on this trip was fair. I caught no white perch or shad, but did get into the big bream and red throats waaaay upriver. They were killing a No. 1 white tail Mepps.

I also caught a couple bass and hung one that jumped and spit the Mepps back at me that would have gone three pounds.

This was a rough trip as far as strange things happening. At the campsite because of the wind, there were two trees constantly rubbing together that made the strangest bobcat/human baby hybrid crying sound.

I would wake up at night from this eerie noise and get quite a scare and then have to endure the high-pitched whine until I fell back asleep.

The next crazy thing was I switched to a different rod and reel combo that I’d put together from another strange event I’ll tell you about in a minute. I tied on my lure and cast. The lure went flying away through the woods like I had not tied a good knot.

I got the lure back with six inches of line attached and figured I had a bad place on my line. I retied and cast again. The same thing happened twice more.

I checked the line and there was nothing wrong with it. But every time this happened, there was six inches of line attached to the lure.

I finally figured that’s how much line I have hanging down when I cast, so I looked at the rod tip and the glass guide was chipped. I put a piece of line through it and pulled, and it cut that braided line like butter. Then it hit me how that happened.

On the way to the river it was so windy that one of my large gear bags that held my sleeping bag, pad, pillow and clothing — about 20 pounds — blew out of the boat taking that rod and reel with it. Luckily a good friend of mine was behind me and retrieved the wayward equipment out of the road for me that day.

Thank you Bodda. That disaster destroyed the reel, but I thought the rod was okay and put another reel on it when I got to the river.

Now of course I know the rod was damaged also. So yea, this trip had some serious trials and tribulations, and as always I had to deal with Moonpie also. It’s okay though ‘cause no matter what’s thrown my way, stowed away (Moonpie), or blown away, I still love being on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.