Forecast OFF again!

Published 9:37 am Friday, August 22, 2014

The remains of a Great Blue Heron that was killed by a reckless fisherperson leaving their fishing line dangling from a tree. -- SUBMITTED

The remains of a Great Blue Heron that was killed by a reckless fisherperson leaving their fishing line dangling from a tree. — SUBMITTED

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 14th through the 16th on the Nottoway below Hercules. The water was clear and clean the first two days. Trash was very light and I only picked up a couple of bottles and a worm cup, which I’m pretty sure, I know which boat that came out of.

I saw no other water quality issues. Sadly, I did find the remains of a Great Blue Heron that was killed as a result of some careless wretched fisherperson leaving their fishing line in a tree. The heron got tangled (see photo) in it and most likely died a slow torturous death.

The fishing on this trip was not all that great. In two days of hard fishing I only caught 10 largemouth with the biggest only being 2 pounds. All were caught on topwater. Even the fishing at night was bad, and I did not catch a single fish either night using cut shad or bream. I even used a piece of pork chop fat much to Moonpie’s chagrin, as after not catching anything on that she made it clear the pork chop fat would have been waaay better utilized in her belly.

Once again I tried 38 feet of deep water, mid-depth and shallow. I even tried suspended over deep, but caught nary a fish.

Now we are going to talk about the rules of navigation and courtesy to other boaters on the water. And yes, I have been guilty of breaking some of these rules in my lifetime. It seems not many boaters understand that in inland Virginia waters there are laws regarding the operator’s responsibility of the wake created by his or her boat. That law reads: Operators shall reduce speed to avoid endangering persons or property by the effect of the motorboat’s wake when approaching or passing vessels under way, lying to, at anchor, or made fast to the shore; or when approaching or passing piers, docks or boathouses; or when approaching or passing persons in the water or using water skies or surfboards.

Furthermore, the law states that there is the 50-feet rule where you cannot operate any motorboat at greater than no wake speed when within 50 feet or less of the above described circumstances. No wake is defined as: The slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway.

So I also know this, if you’re 50 feet or more away, go ahead and stay on plane, which throws a pretty small wake that will dissipate by the time it hits me.

The message is any damage incurred by an operator ignoring these rules is liable for that damage to person or property. So when I’m tied up to the pilings under Monroe Bridge to spend the night because of thunderstorms and the idiot comes through there 30 feet from me running 50 mph and slams my boat against the pilings that is breaking the law. That is just stupid and reckless.

Or when I’m tied up to shore camping and the wake from an idiot driver 45 feet out slams my boat against the shore and puts water in the boat over the transom, that’s an infraction there also and ignorant.

At the boat landing when people are trying to load/unload their boat, even if there is not a no-wake zone designated by buoys, it is a no-wake zone to 50 feet out.

I also had a guy pass me running I guess 40 mph on my starboard side (legal) this trip 12 feet away from my boat. Not legal. He was so close I caught motor spray and the wake nearly tore off my canopy from its upright supports.

So my message here is learn the rules of the road, because on the Blackwater and Nottoway I’m going to be calling in ALL serious instances of reckless boating from now on.

Okay, moving on since I’m on a tirade. Dang ! We put a man on the moon in 1969, but still can’t get an accurate two-day forecast. I swear, when I went to bed Wednesday night, the forecast for Thursday through the weekend was dry, not even a chance of rain. So I decided to go to the river for four days. Low and behold though by Thursday night they had changed the forecast to 30 percent EVERY day for the rest of my trip. And I got to tell you, Friday night where we were at near Monroe Bridge, it was 100 percent rain.

It rained so hard water was coming through the bridge! I have parked under there many a time but never seen that before. We got drowned. It rained so hard I could not even hear my radio. After that we decided to ax the four-day thing.

We still made do the best we could that night and were actually laughing about how 30 percent chance of storms out here really means 100 percent certain your gonna get your tail wet on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.