Bouncing for Blackfish on Blackwater River

Published 8:25 am Saturday, December 28, 2013

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 18th through the 20th on the Blackwater above Burdette. The water was up 7.59 on the USGS gauge near Burdette, 40 degrees and clear. Air temps ranged from 27 to 58 degrees. I saw no water quality issues, and I only picked up a small amount of trash.

Jeff Turner’s father, Bobby Turner, with a 9 pound and 29 inch-long Blackfish. -- JEFF TURNER | TIDEWATER NEWS

Jeff Turner’s father, Bobby Turner, with a 9 pound and 29 inch-long Blackfish. — JEFF TURNER | TIDEWATER NEWS

However, I did not travel far the entire three days because I just got the motor back from the shop and was leery of going too far downriver because the water was flying. I did not want to get way downriver and not be able to get back to base camp. It was a great trip except for the constant whine of logging going on all around me. At least it got peaceful at night.

I was hoping I would find the Raccoon Perch on this trip, but not a one was to be had. I did get into the blackfish, so I called my dad to meet me on the second day. They were slow to get going when we first arrived, but before long we were catching them pretty steady. We were catching them bouncing the blade bait off the bottom and then ripping up in two foot runs. We did catch several, however, that hit the lure on the drop. I guess we caught 25 and one monster he caught was 9 pounds and 29 inches long (See picture). Just shy a pound and an inch from being a Virginia citation darnit!

Regardless, we had a ball as that species really puts up a spirited fight sometimes stripping yards of line off the reel and doing some impressive alligator-like rolls across the top of the water. Shame they are no good to eat, or at least I have not experienced culinary nirvana from their flesh. I also caught about 10 catfish. I found them suspended over 26 foot of water about halfway down. I caught many just by snagging. There must have been hundreds down there if the sonar was to be believed. Most were like a pound but I did catch one that was maybe three.

I had a pretty good scare the first day going down the river. I was cruising along at a pretty good clip and hit a log. For some reason the boat turned left on me and I went into a big tree top. Luckily it was not solid and all I did was fill the boat up with limbs. It was like I had no steering after the strike and I don’t understand that as I do not think the motor raises upon striking a underwater object. I had no steering and the boat did not slow down as fast as normal even though I had gone to neutral. I can’t figure it out. Any ideas?

Anyway, I was not hurt, and it did not tear up anything other than Moonpies’ nerves, so all was fine after I got all the sticks out of the boat. Base camp on this trip is a new place. One side is the river the other side is a beaver pond. So I was really only vulnerable from two directions.

On the second night I heard a sound that woke me up. I tried recording it but got nothing. It kinda sounded like a dog with a heartworm cough, but I never heard a dog cough continually for 15 minutes. All I know was it was weird, and I was happy it was going away from us. I hate not being able to identify a noise but don’t know if I really want it close enough at camp to eyeball the source of the noise.

It was really pretty out there this trip as the moon was full. The big moon really looked cool after climbing up in the crisp nighttime sky. It was shining across the beaver pond through the cypress trees and was really cool looking, especially the second night when there was a bit of a fog around it.

Really nice anyway until the coyotes started howling, and that’s when Moonpie and I decided it was time to hit the sack on one of the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.