Riverkeeper report: Just call me Batman

Published 10:10 am Sunday, July 2, 2017

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 28th through the 30th on the Nottoway below Delaware. Air temps ranged from 62 to 88 degrees and the water was 80 degrees. Trash on this trip was not bad until Thursday. Wednesday there were no boats to speak of in the river and no trash. Thursday there were a bunch of bass boats in the river and suddenly a bunch of trash.

I almost caught one boat toss out a 5-hour energy boost bottle and a honey bun wrapper, but I just was not fast enough. Looked like a tournament was going on and it was not our local bass club either. That’s the thing with litterbugs, you got to see’em to bust ‘em and they’re not likely to throw the trash out in front of me.

I found more abandoned untagged illegal limb lines up close to Hercules again. I swear I just can’t get over how many of these things I keep finding and how many people are ignorant to the regulations. At least this time I found them before the fish that were on them died from starvation. I’ll catch them eventually; I’m making it my mission this summer.

Fishing on this trip was pretty darn good, I caught plenty of bream casting. I also caught a few nice bass, one weighing four pounds on topwater. That was really fun especially since it was caught on a lure I made. I also caught a few catfish at night, but no monsters.

I had a pretty crazy experience out there the first night. ‘Twas nearly midnight when I saw my gallon milk jug cat rig I have tied to my line jump like it had a hit. That had happened twice already that night and each time it did my bait got taken. So I started reeling the jug in to check the bait. I had nearly reeled in the 50 feet of line when suddenly I could reel no more. Something was on the line at the rod tip keeping me from reeling further. So I pulled the rod in and started to remove what I thought was a rotten piece of wood, and just before I grabbed it Moonpie screamed “STOP!” I froze and looked at her like WHAT? Moonpie said “Better have a close look at that before ye lays a hand on it.”

Perplexed, I turned on my headlamp on my hat and stuck my face up close enough to scrutinize what it was. I freaked out, starring back at me was a brown bat face, with fangs! Evidently (and we have seen this before), the bat had hit my line, and this time somehow the line had wrapped around its neck killing it, or maybe it drowned.

I was not looking forward to untangling it off my line either, and when I turned around to get my camera and turned back around it was gone. The first thing I thought was OMG! It was not dead and now has crawled off somewhere in the boat and will exact bat revenge on me tonight in my sleep, or worse it was on my head or something.

Luckily, it had fell off in the water, and when I looked over the side of the boat it was headed downriver. I love that there are bats out on the river at night to help cut down on the bugs at night. But please, no more bats on the end of my rod on either of the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

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