The continual continuity

Published 7:30 am Friday, May 1, 2015

Work on the new Route 35 bridge into Courtland, as seen from the boat of the Riverkeeper.

Work on the new Route 35 bridge into Courtland, as seen from the boat of the Riverkeeper.

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 21st through the 22nd on the Nottoway in the Courtland area. Then we had to pull out because of weather.

We went back for three more days further downriver. So this is a double whammy trip and now I’ll continue with leg one. The water was high at nearly 12 feet on the USGS gauge in Sebrell and 67 degrees. Air temps ranged from 40 to 73. Main mission again on this trip was to pick up more Styrofoam. We collected another four bags from the main logjam upriver. Thanks to Sgt. Griffith and crew from Southampton County Sheriff’s Office for picking up those heavy bags from me. I have now collected 10 and I think they have collected like nearly 70.

And we still have a lot to pick up.

While we were out there on that part of the river we got to visit the eagles’ nest. We saw the momma eagle (or daddy) at the nest and are anxious to see how many babies there will be this year. I hope they don’t choke on any Styrofoam!

We did fish a little but caught no shad, no stripers and in fact were completely SKUNKED!

On the second leg of the trip we put in at the Hercules ramp. The water was still very high and fast and had dropped to 63 degrees. Air temps ranged from 41 to 65. I saw no Styro on this part of the river. We did pick up an unusual amount of trash for the Nottoway, collecting a whole bag. The high water I’m sure was washing a lot of that out of the swamp.

Fishing was better. We caught a bunch of small white perch casting waay back in the swamps. I hung what I think was a big striper, but I never turned it. It just stripped the line, and when it got close to getting hung up in a tree, I applied too much brake and the tiny No. 1 white tail Mepps popped out. I also lost about a 3- or 4-pound largemouth that jumped, did a flip and spit the same lure out. Yes, I checked the hooks on that lure more than once because they are not the only fish I lost. In fact every fish that was of any size, I lost.

Moonpie was being her normal smarty-pants self and had to “bravo” me each time. She finally said, “Dude, like do you just not want to keep any fish, or are you just that out of touch with your inner fisherman?”

“Keep on,” I shot back, “and I’m gonna get in touch with your skinny backside.” “WHATEVERRR,” she replied, “I’m a gonna take a nap now, don’t disturb me anymore with your ineptness.”

Anyway, I enjoyed feeling the fish tugging on my line and enjoyed the nice weather on the river. I was pleasantly surprised when we first got out there to see that the river was not littered with unattended catfish limb lines.

So it does seem that folks know the new law that requires that all lines not being fished must be removed. But then on the second day we met a boat just about dark that was taking in limb lines they had set earlier that day. The lines had no tags with name, address and phone number attached, as is required by law and no running lights on their boat. The next day coming in we found two lines they had missed. Both had fish on them and both had winded the line up till the fish were half in and half out of the water. We let both fish go and cut the lines. Certainly, if we had not found these those fish, they would have rotted swinging in the air.

It still amazes me some people go out and set these lines without knowing the law. I guess it’s just part of the continual continuity of ignorance we will always see on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

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