Riverkeeper report: Shad to be had
Published 11:45 am Saturday, March 19, 2016
Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 15th through the 17th on the Nottoway in the Delaware area launching from Hercules Landing. The water was muddy, a little high and 50 degrees. Air temps ranged from 47 to 82. A bad thunderstorm nearly blasted me Wednesday night. Lightning was flashing around overhead and I was sure I was going to get wet, but thank the good Lord that did not happen.
Trash on this trip was bad, but that is because of all the recent very high water. I found right much Styrofoam that has made its way downriver. I thought it was going to take longer to get here, but that nearly 18 ft of water we had I guess accelerated its progress. I also found this weird thing (see pic) that looks like the top to some kind of container.
Moonpie thought it looked like a device we used to pull behind the boat and ride on that we called the pizza pan. A hard unforgiving devilish device I bought at the hardware store in Hunterdale a hundred years ago. If you know what it is, please let me know by either online or in The Tidewater News comment section or e-mail me.
The fishing on this trip was good. I did not catch any stripers, but other folks I talked to were catching plenty on cut-shad fished on the bottom. LOTS of catfish being caught also using cut shad. I caught a couple a nice largemouth casting for stripers, many white perch and on the last day about 50 shad.
I was catching so many I got to do some experimenting. I was catching them on a custom hot orange spoon I painted, so I tried the pink twisty tail, nothing, tried hot green, nothing, hot yellow, nothing. I even tried a little spinner, nothing. The only other thing that they would bite was a gold spoon.
The way you make the fluorescent orange spoon is take a silver spoon, spray paint it white first, then spray the orange. As usual during this time of year, there are a lot of people on the river. I see a lot of dangerous and irresponsible stuff going on. People riding in deck seats on the front of boats, people standing up in the front of boats flying down the river and boaters not minding their wake. On the second day I met head on a guy I know that I usually see up around Courtland.
We were right about at the train trestle when we passed each other. His boat is powered by a little 9.9 Hp motor that will not plane the boat. I was idling along and the wake from his boat washed over the front of mine. Now I know this guy has had that boat forever, you would think by now he knows how big of a wake he throws running bow up like he does. And then there is the crush of people at the boat ramp.
Folks, when a person is trying to load a boat and you are in your boat riding past a ramp, please go to NO WAKE. Your wake really makes it hard to load a boat and could cause damage to his rig. AND please, when you get your boat on the trailer, pull up and off of the ramp.
Don’t stop and secure your stuff on the ramp while others are waiting to launch, that’s what the parking lot is for. With all the folks on the river right now, a little common sense and courtesy can go a long way in helping everybody enjoy a good day on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.
JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.