Fowl eating bass on the Nottoway

Published 1:23 pm Saturday, September 27, 2014

A bird that was spotted on the Blackwater River. Riverkeeper Jeff Turner was not able to identify it and was hoping someone could. -- SUBMITTED | Teressa Beale

A bird that was spotted on the Blackwater River. Riverkeeper Jeff Turner was not able to identify it and was hoping someone could. — SUBMITTED | Teressa Beale

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 17th through the 19th on the Nottoway below Hercules. The water was 71 degrees, high and fast at 6 foot on the USGS gauge at Sebrell. Air temps ranged from 76 to 58 degrees.

The trip started out with an Eco-Cruise for the Franklin Chamber of Commerce and since I had already done all the work to get that big boat in the river, I decided to just stay.

I thought the fishing was going to be great after the recent high water, but boy was I wrong. I only caught like 5 bass with the biggest weighing about a pound. I could not catch a bream for catfish bait, so I had to use a jack I caught. Chain Pickerel is great catfish bait, but once again, no catfish at night.

I did have one monster hit about 12:30 a.m. the second night. I had bout nodded off when the drag went to singing and the rod bent double. I grabbed the rod out of the holder and could tell it was a big fish, but then it was gone quick as that. The leader to the hook was broke or cut, I could not tell. Didn’t matter either, the fish was gone!

Anyway, it was great weather and the river was pretty except for all the trash. It was odd to see that much trash on the lower river, but I think most of it was old trash washed out of the swamp from the recent high water. I did pick up one Styrofoam dinner box that came out of somebody’s boat as it still had food in it. There was only one boat on the river that day except for me, so I’m guessing it was from that black and gray bass boat.

I saw some crazy stuff on the river this trip. One was a bird we saw when the Chamber was on the boat. I do not know what it was, maybe somebody will see this picture and can tell me. Also the first night I was motoring to a new location (where there were no catfish), when all of a sudden we hit something. I looked out the back of the boat and saw something launch out from under the boat dead aimed away from the stern 4 foot long and 3 foot in the air. Since it was dark I could not really tell, but it looked like a huge gar.

Then the next day we had just motored past Monroe Bridge when we saw something swimming out from the shore about a foot underwater. I was thinking, ‘Hey, maybe it’s that wounded gar I hit last night.’

It was about 4 foot long, but as I got closer it just disappeared. However it left a bunch of leaves floating up. Never seen anything like that. I hung around for a while but never did see it again. Moonpie thinks we have a family of baby Loch Ness Monster type creatures in the river, but I told her I thought it was most likely something a little more rationally explained than that.

We did see some things we could identify. We saw a bald eagle twice while we were out there and the Chamber folks got to see that also, so that was pretty cool. Since the fishing was so bad on the second day, I ventured all the way to Dockside on a mission.

At Heritage Day a woman had come up to the Riverkeeper info table and told me she lived at Dockside and had a problem. She went on to tell me that all her baby ducks this year were eaten by this giant largemouth bass. She said like 4 or 5 had been taken by the duckling loving bass and that they could not get rid of the creature. She wanted to know if I could do something about it. So I got to dockside that day and found the location, which looked like duck beach.

I casted around the docks and piers, but did not have a nibble. So all you bass fishermen that want to try your luck at helping this nice lady out; go to Dockside and cast around the pier that is to the left of the north canal. If you catch the fish, either eat it (it might taste like duck) or relocate it and be a hero on one of the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at