Riverkeeper Report: The uplifting perks of Riverkeeping

Published 11:51 am Saturday, September 7, 2013

The divers attempting to lift “Logzilla.” -- SUBMITTED/JEFF TURNER

The divers attempting to lift “Logzilla.” — SUBMITTED/JEFF TURNER

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 30th through the 1st on the Nottoway in the Delaware area.

The water was clear 76 degrees and low. Dissolved oxygen levels were a healthy 6 parts per million. Air temps ranged from 69 to 90 degrees.

I picked up only two pieces of trash the whole trip and saw no other water quality issues.

The fishing was pretty good the first day. I caught 6 bass up to 3 pounds all on topwater. Most were very small however.

The second day I failed to put a single decent size fish in the boat, and I fished REALLY hard. It was one of the crappiest fishing days I have experienced in a long time. And no, the crappie were not biting either. I also caught not a single catfish either night. I really did not even have any good hits. I think a couple of gar nosed the bait around a little but that was bout it.

Oh, well it was pretty out there and the weather was about perfect, a little hot but not too bad.

Coolest critter I saw was a giant bald eagle right about in the Checkerboard Corner part of the river. I tried to chase it down and get a picture but it disappeared on me.

I had a couple of extraordinary experiences coming in on Sunday. One was I ran into the river loggers up near the narrows. They were trying to lift a logzilla size cypress log from the river bottom. The tree was so massive their pontoon boat’s pontoons were out of the water in the back! They tried all kinds of tricks but the stubborn log that had been on the bottom for the past 157 or so years just would not yield.

A little history is in order here. Near where the RR crosses the Nottoway at Delaware, in 1856 Edward Hedley built a sawmill and though burned by Federal Troops in the closing days of the Civil War, was back in business soon after that.

Paul D. Camp was one of the mill’s log suppliers and it is possible that is where this awesome specimen came from. So anyway, the log would not budge. We were all sitting there trying to figure out what to try next and came up with a plan to run the front of the Riverkeeper pontoon boat under the front of their pontoon boat in hopes that the extra buoyancy would break the log free.

Amazingly that worked and in short order the 30 ft long 36-inch diameter behemoth was securely tied alongside their boat.

It was really cool and I felt like I had conquered an army or something, and I didn’t even do much! It was a very uplifting experience. Well once again I saw some sights on the river I have never seen before.

That’s what is so great about the river, it’s a continuous learning experience.

So I was watching this guy cut grass on a place beside the river. Now get this, he was using a push mower, texting and had a shotgun strapped to his back! He would stop pushing when he was texting so at least he was not in danger of running into a tree or anything. I thought it was pretty cool.

Hey, talk to your girlfriend, get the chores done and kill supper all at the same time, that’s talent!

The other thing, never seen before on the river for real, I was cruising back in to go home, busted around this curve and low and behold, two bathing beauties were in the river, and one flashed me! Wow I thought, I guess that’s just one of those perks I get for being Riverkeeper on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.