RiverGuard cooks hand for lunch

Published 9:28 am Saturday, February 2, 2019

This is a 2.1 pound citation Raccoon Perch the RiverGuard caught recently on the Nottoway River below the Bronco Club.
— Jeff Turner

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 27th through the 29th on the Nottoway below the Bronco Club. The water was fast, 39 degrees and 1.70 on the Riverdale USGS gauge. Air temps ranged from 28 to 50 degrees. Trash was not too bad, I only picked up about a 5-gallon bucket full.

This was a pretty interesting trip as far as weirdo stuff happening. First off, when I got to Round Gut I could not get the boat off of the trailer. I tried and tried ’till Moonpie and I ’bout had heart attacks. I even pulled the whole rig back out of the water to see if I had left a strap on or something. NOPE. So I backed the rig back in again and slammed on the brakes. Evidently that did it, because finally it slid off the trailer rollers.

Later that day I finally figured it out. Because the water was so high that day, there was no incline when I backed the boat down. This place is just a dirt launch spot anyway. So by being so flat, my rollers and the bottom of the boat never took a dip in the river. The boat was FROZEN to the trailer, people! It was only after I slammed on the brakes that the boat came unstuck from those 40 rollers on the trailer. If I had dunked the whole rig first it would have melted the ice that had the boat stuck to the trailer. I do not believe that has ever happened to me before.

The second crazy thing that happened is when I tried to heat my pre-cooked hamburger with a propane torch. Some of you might have seen my Facebook video of me on the river a couple weeks ago warming up my burger with a torch. Well, I tried it again on day two of this trip with nearly disastrous results.

I did exactly like I had done the previous two warmings and fired up the torch and started warming up my hamburger on a piece of tinfoil. I thought I smelled a little gas when I started, but I knew I had screwed the torch onto the propane bottle tightly. I never take chances with that with any propane device.

That burger was starting to smell real good and Moonpie was doing the Moonpie “I’m Hongry Four-Step” dance when all of a sudden the torch made a whoosh sound and flames engulfed my hand and lower arm. I thought the thing was going to explode so I immediately tossed it into the river. YEP, in the RIVER! I sat there for a few seconds making sure I was not burned, and was not because I had chunked that bomb really fast. Then I looked and noticed the torch had not sunk, but was upside down floating and bubbling. So I put the trolling motor on high to get to it before it sank. Much to my horror when I picked it up out of the water it appeared to still be burning, but was not out of control like when I had tossed it, so I managed to get the valve turned off.

In retrospect, I do not think the thing could burn underwater, so I might have just been freaking out and seen water being blown out of the nozzle by the gas and it just sounded like it was still lit … plus I was still scared of it. Didn’t matter the thing went into the trash bag immediately.

After I got home I did some research and it appears that an unregulated nozzle like I was using is not supposed to be held inverted like I was holding the torch to warm the burger. I have already ordered a regulated torch head.

I am truly glad I did not cook my hand as Moonpie would have tried to eat it I am sure!

The fishing on this trip was crazy good. I caught 14 stripers and several large Raccoon Perch. Only three of the stripers met the 18-inch requirement to posses. It’s amazing how many 16-inch stripers there are in the river. No, seriously, this year is the best striper run I have seen in several years. I caught all the fish jigging vertically with a blade bait in both quarter ounce and one-half ounce sizes. It was really fun catching all those stripers even though it was really cold sitting on that 39-degree water.

So if you can stand the cold or catch a day like coming up this weekend when temps make it to the 60s, get out there on one of the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater and catch a striper or raccoon perch. They’s mighty good eatin’.

To contact Jeff about river issues email him at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.