Stripers stripping line

Published 10:13 am Monday, January 21, 2019

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 15th through the 17th on the Nottoway below the Bronco Club. The water was muddy, high, fast and 38 degrees. Air temps ranged from 28 to 50 degrees. It was a very cold trip.

Trash was not too bad, especially since I had not been on the Nottoway since August. I picked up about 6 pounds worth. A lot of it was in Round Gut where a resident’s backyard butts up to the swamp has their own private land fill. That garbage gets floated out whenever the water comes up. It truly is a terrible mess.

The fishing on this trip was pretty darn good. I caught some frozen bream, and by that I mean they were so cold they were pink-looking — not kidding. I also caught a couple of bass and raccoon perch. What was really fun and frustrating was I caught seven striped bass. The frustrating part is that five of the seven were under 18 inches so I was not able to keep them.

I still think VDGIF has that regulation all screwed up. Those smaller fish are the better ones to eat, but they will not let us keep those juvenile fish. Instead, they want us to keep the larger fish, which if female, carry the larger loads of eggs? That just does not compute to me. If the state wants to impose limits on what we catch so as to help the species recover, would it not make more sense to release the larger fish that carry the most eggs?

Anyway, I don’t make the rules. I guess the powers that do have some scientific data supporting the regulation. ANYWAY, I still had a ball catching all those anadromous fish. Even a small striper will strip line on that first run and that is one sweet sound!

Now for the sad part of this report. It’s nothing unusual these days for me to be on the river and hear the sound of logging. That sound scares me when I’m on the river. Not because I hate logging, because I in fact do not. Logging is a part of this areas’ history and certainly a needed industry.

What scares me though when I hear it on the river is because I’m afraid I will find what I don’t like about logging and that is when they are clear-cutting a cypress swamp. Unfortunately, that is just what I found on this trip. A big piece of swamp between Monroe and Delaware roads looks like it has been nuked. I’m guessing about 300 acres.

Now I don’t really mind swamp logging either as long as Best Management Practices (BMP’s) are being used and select cutting done. However, this was not the case at this location. Just about everything was cut, and in a couple places logged right to the river. I mean trees standing in water cut with no buffer whatsoever. And for the rest of the riverside logging, the buffer that was left is like 20 feet. These ARE NOT BMP’s being implemented.

What truly is sad is that some of these old cypress trees like one I witnessed being moved around are like 300-year-old hollow trees that are useless for lumber. That tree will more than likely be ground up and end up on somebody’s damn flower bed used as mulch. Now that truly is just sad to me. That’s why I hate hearing the sound of logging when I’m on the river. Logging in the swamps near the river is going to happen and will always have a negative impact on that riverine environment, it can’t help but not.

There are known methods to lessen the negative environmental impact of logging along the river with BMP’s and that should be law instead of suggestion on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

To contact Jeff about river issues, email him at