‘Caaatfish are jumpin’’
Published 9:36 am Friday, December 5, 2014
Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 28th through the 30th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was high, fast and 44 degrees. Air temps ranged from 28 to 63 degrees.
Trash was as bad as I have seen it in a long time. Once again most of the trash was from the Franklin stormwater ditches and downriver. In other words, when I traveled upriver I picked up only a couple of bottles. I collected three more basketballs this trip along with all the other trash.
I guess in the 14 years I have been doing this I have collected around 100 basketballs coming from the ditch. It just makes me wonder, are the balls purposely being thrown in the ditch or are those that shoot ball at the recreation center upstream just that bad a shots? Of course I’m sure not all are coming from there, but I bet they spend a lot of money buying replacement balls! If the rec center would put their name on the balls with an indelible pen, I would know that the balls are theirs and I could return them. Save a little money maybe?
We also found a tractor trailer tire and rim. How that got into the Franklin stormwater ditch, I just can’t imagine. It was waay too heavy to get it in the boat, so I had the bright idea I would tow it to shore near the mill, roll it up on shore and ask them to help me out and get the tire. So I towed it across the river and used the boat to push it up on shore. Got out of the boat and I could not even stand the darn thing up. I did not want to screw my back up again, so I decided to stake it into place and called the mill. I don’t know how much one of these things weighs, but it’s more than Moonpie and I can manage.
The fishing on this trip was much improved. I was 50 percent the first night on limb-lines, so Moonpie and I were singing the Doobie Brothers song “Black Water” that night, even though Moonpie can’t sing in key for nothin’!
We had one blue cat that went 20.3 pounds. That’s ‘bout as big a catfish as I can clean. When they get that big, I can hardly maneuver them around to do the job safely. I noticed this fish looked really fat, so when I cleaned it, I checked its stomach contents (yea, I know, gross), and was freaked out to see a approximately 1-pound shell cracker in its belly. I went ahead and cleaned that too and ate it later. Noooo, not really, but that got to ya I bet!
This was a very nice trip, a little cold the first day, but it is the end of November. The leaves have done peaked and the colors are fading to that winter time dull gray look. We saw a bunch of deer and a bald eagle close to the Pretlow Nest site.
So it was a wonderful more relaxed trip than the previous two (except for the terrible trash issue), no motor problems, no stuck boat and if the only thing I can find wrong with the whole trip (except for the trash. Did I mention the terrible trash?) is Moonpie singing out of key, well then all is good on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.
JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at email@example.com.