Riverkeeper report: Kate Moss transplanted

Published 9:11 am Friday, July 31, 2015

According to Riverkeeper Jeff Turner, Spanish moss seems to be on the move northward up the Blackwater River. -- SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

According to Riverkeeper Jeff Turner, Spanish moss seems to be on the move northward up the Blackwater River. — SUBMITTED | JEFF TURNER

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 24th through the 26th on the Blackwater below, then above Franklin. Air temps ranged from 61 degrees that first night to 88 degrees. The water was 79 degrees and getting nasty.

There was actually a noticeable tide on this trip. We have had such great flow all summer from all the rain and that has pretty much negated any tide. That extra flow has been great for the fish. Usually by this time of year the water is stagnant and nasty. Trash on this trip was pretty bad; I picked up a whole bag full, most of it from the Franklin storm water canal. I can always tell that because there are always several basketballs and assorted toys mixed in with the copious amounts of Styrofoam food containers and cups.

The fishing on this trip was not too bad. I caught a few bass casting topwater, all were small, but I had a heck of a time catching any bream casting for them. I also caught a monster 4.11-pound chain pickerel. It was not really that long but it was over 12 inches in girth, it was FAT! That fish will qualify for a citation award. The really great fishing news though is the fact that I actually caught two catfish on rod and reel this trip, a 5 and 15-pounder.

The wild thing is how I caught them. I’ve told y’all about how I can’t seem to catch any on rod and reel in the pontoon boat, but in the fall and spring I catch all I want on limb lines. So I took a gallon milk jug and tied to my rod with 6 feet of drop line, sorta simulating a limb line. Then I just let the current take the jug away from the boat. So that was pretty cool watching the jug take off using that system. The fish hooks its self, so there is not even any hurry to get it in ‘cause it can’t go anywhere.

That is a good thing ‘cause that 15-pounder hit at the last minute on the second night at 2 a.m. in the morning. Moonpie and I had just shoved a hamburger roll into our mouths as a nighty-night snack when the jug started dancing. I thought Moonpie was going to choke on that bun cause she had shoved the whole thing in that huge mouth of hers. All she could do was wave and point and make weird noises. I just sat there and kinda calmly finished mine, then got up and wrestled the fish into the boat.

So, time will tell if this is a really good way to fish for catfish or not.

Now for the headline story. So for some time I have wanted to get me some Spanish moss from the river and put it on my little cypress tree I have in my yard. It’s really strange, but for years there was only one tree on the lower Nottoway that had any Spanish moss on it. Now, it seems to be on the move Northward up the river. Spanish moss is an epiphyte, not a parasite. It absorbs its nutrients (especially calcium) and water from the air and rainfall. It takes nothing from its host tree and does not eat into the tree to anchor itself. So anyway, I got me a clump of the stuff and brought it home and placed it on a dead tree in my yard for the time being.

I named it Kate, get it? Kate Moss, ha ha. If it takes I will introduce her to my cypress tree Robert, which I also got from the river. Then if Kate Moss takes to Robert Plant I can say I successfully hooked up a couple of celebrities thanks to the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.