Finally, the waters have receded

Published 8:15 am Saturday, March 16, 2019

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 12th through the 14th on Blackwater below Franklin. The water was still high the first day at 1.99 on the USGS gauge at Franklin and 47 degrees. By the third day the water level was getting close to normal, but the current was still very strong. So strong, in fact, I had a terrible time getting the boat back on the trailer. Air temps ranged from 32 to 65 which is just about as good as one could ask for in my book.

The fishing on this trip was pretty darn good. I caught nine striped bass, and though only one was keeper size, I still had a ball catching those hard-fighting fish. All were caught jigging the blade bait. I tried for shad, but did not even have a strike. I talked to a friend of mine who also did not catch any shad but had caught a nice mess of speckle.

I hate to say it but it looks like the eagle nest at the Pretlow farm is again abandoned this year. There was nobody home last year either, but I had hoped another pair would move in. I will keep checking on it, but I did not see any new building materials added to the nest. That’s a pretty good way to tell if the nest is being used if you can’t see the birds. They always SPRUCE up the nest each year with some new sticks and limbs and you can see the color difference when they add that new material. Haa Haa, spruce, see what I did with that?

I was pleased to see that the City of Franklin was installing another segment of fencing behind the Public Works building. Don’t know if the purpose is to keep people out or trash in, but regardless it will really help with the occasional errant trash escapee. That’s the good news.

The bad news on the river was that the trash was as bad as I have seen it in a long time. All that month-long rain we had must have really scoured the Southside Franklin storm water ditches spotless ’cause the river was a mess. I just can’t believe how some of the stuff that gets out there … gets out there. I mean c’mon, a fire extinguisher? Tires on rims? Anyway, I picked up ’till I did not have any more room in the boat for bags of trash. Sadly, even with all that I picked up, I didn’t make a dent in what was out there. Where the water was high, it deposited piles of trash on the shore and that stuff will just sit there until the next high water comes along and moves it further downriver.

Maybe this next Clean Rivers Days event people with more able bodies than mine and kayaks will go in that part of the Blackwater and clean it up? You know like a whole armada; wouldn’t that be something? Yeah, that would be amazing for real.

Anyway, I was bustin’ my tail getting all that crap up, my back hurting and wishing I was fishing instead and thought, why am doing this? You ain’t doing any good really, you have done this 18-years now and it ain’t gotten any better. It’s hard on my old body and the wear and tear on the boat and equipment is terrible. And I’m the one that has to pay for this hurting old body and pay for the wear and tear on the old boat. Why not just let all that garbage make its way to North Carolina and then I could fish more?

Mmmmm, maybe I should think about that next time on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

To contact Jeff about river issues, email him at