The Riverkeeper rides again

Published 11:29 am Friday, May 23, 2014

A log jam near the City of Norfolk’s pump station. -- JEFF TURNER | TIDEWATER NEWS

A log jam near the City of Norfolk’s pump station. — JEFF TURNER | TIDEWATER NEWS

Finally after like eight weeks of broken rib issues, Spirit of Moonpie and I finally returned to the river.

The 19th through the 21st we stayed on the Blackwater below the steel bridge. The water was 6.50 on the USGS gauge and 63 degrees. Air temps ranged from 49 to 82 degrees. Skeeters were right bad at camp. The honeysuckle is in bloom right now and the river smells sooo good. I wish I could bottle that smell up and take it home with me. That in itself is a good reason to go out on the river right now.

The river looked pretty good upriver, but once I got about halfway between the boat landing and Burdette I ran into some limb lines that were not marked with name, address etc. I reported those and by the time I left they were removed by somebody. Downriver from there, below the city of Norfolk’s pump station there is a log jam. There is so much trash in that its unbelievable. I got all I could, which yielded a 50-pound bag full.

Part of that trash was from some yellow-bellied, low-life scumbag un-American fool that had evidently emptied out their freezer and had nowhere else to dump it but in the river. There were dozens of vacuum-sealed bags of food hung up in this jam. I just wish there had been a name on that stuff. Somebody has opened a small hole up in the jam and I tried to make it bigger by getting through it and trying to pull some logs, but without a chainsaw it was useless. I almost could not get back through that hole either, which would have been really bad.

Moonpie suggested I hire a bunch of beavers to clear the jam, but I told her I just did not think they would go for that. Now is the time somebody with great chainsaw skills should go and open that jam up. A few select cuts would allow a good chunk of that jam to turn loose and would open the river back up again. If we do not do it, nobody will. I have tried in vain to get the USACE to clear it and they will not.

The fishing on this trip was fantastic. Right off the bat I caught one that weighed 180 pounds…me! Yep, got hung up in a tree and snatched right toward me which I know better than to do. If I had not blocked the large lure with my hand it would have impaled me in the face and this lure is way too big for normal face piercing items.

One of the hooks buried up to the bend in the hook in the heel of my right hand. I had to use a pair of pliers and snatch it out ‘cause pulling it slowly does not work. Deep puncture wounds are hard to get clean, so I hope I do not have problems from this.

But, yes, I did catch a lot of largemouth; 13 I believe with two weighing 4 pounds, a three and then smaller fish. All were caught on a Bagley Tail Spin topwater lure. I believe the fish are spawning as they for the most part were caught waay up in the swamps in really shallow water. I released all the fish.

So for the most part it was a good return trip to the river. There is always going to be idiots out there who will do harm to our rivers and mess it up for the rest of us. I pray every night that the good Lord lets me catch them so I can in some small way help things to be better on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.