Big Blues Bash on the Nottoway

Published 7:24 pm Thursday, September 19, 2019

Say, ‘Ahhhhh!’ After switching hook sizes, the RiverGuard caught this 23-pound catfish on the Nottoway River. — Submitted Jeff Turner

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 16th through the 18th on the Nottoway below Delaware. The water was green, stagnant 82 degrees and the dissolved oxygen was at 5.02 ppm. Air temps ranged from 60 to 82 degrees. It also rained on me for 10 minutes on the second day, but that won’t too bad even in the fairly high wind that was blowing pretty good.

Trash on this patrol was light. However, I did remove four derelict limb lines from near the boat ramp area at Hercules. That same person keeps illegally setting these on the same limbs over and over and over and over I keep taking them down. I’ll catch that person one day. I also removed three catfish noodle devices found in the river near Checkerboard corner and have turned that information over to DGIF. I get tired of hearing the same old excuse: “Well, I just missed one or two noodles when we were leaving.” Dude, that’s a lame excuse. I never lose any when I fish them. If I put 10 out, I know 10 must come back in, easy as that.

Big Blues Bash on the Nottoway sounds like a cool outdoor concert event at the Bronco Club, huh? Well, that didn’t happen, However, I was jammin’ the blues all over the river; blue catfish, that is. No, seriously, I did really well with the catfish this trip. I caught several from 6 pounds up to 23 on the rod and reel. It was really fun watching that gallon milk jug on the end of my line go dancing across the water (sounds like a Neil Young song).

Yeah, anyway, I think I figured out why I have been in a slump the past year. I had switched to a giant 10/0 hook last year and while I was catching some fish, I was not catching any really big cats, which is what I’m after. Big hook/big bait, big fish mentality, right? Well, on this trip I decided to go back to what now looks like a tiny hook, but a 4/0 hook really is not that small. Anyway, I put the 4/0 back on the rig this trip and BAM! Started catching big fish again. Coincidence? Maybe, but after 15 or so trips and no monster fish, then switch to a smaller hook and BAM! Big fish again. Well, I’m taking that as not being a coincidence.

Catfish have really, really awesome senses, I am wondering if there was something about all that metal from the giant hook attached to the bait that made the fish leery of the big hook rig. Don’t really matter, I’m staying with the smaller hook size. Those 4/0 hooks have brought in cats as big as 32 pounds for me, so there you go.

As far as other fishing goes, I tried topwater for bass several times and caught only a couple really small fish. Oh, and that 23-pounder I caught this trip was extremely poor. At 38 inches long that fish should have weighed near 30 pounds. Blues really don’t like hot water temps and this fish really showed it. The fish was all head and its mouth was big enough to easily fit the Miller beer can that Moonpie was drinking into it.

My oh my, it’s already mid-September. I awoke the second morning and it was darn chilly out there. Hallelujah. I also noticed the tell-tale sign on the river that fall is near; yes, the annual leaf migration. I usually hate to see that cause it makes fishing topwater difficult. However, I am over summer and sooo ready for the splendid colors of fall to finally once again paint the two beautiful rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

To contact Jeff about river issues email him at