Stripers pole dancing

Published 6:47 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2020

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The Moonpie Critter Patrol also witnessed a mink swimming across Simms Gut in the Nottoway. — Submitted RiverGuard

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 29th through the 31st on the Nottoway Below the Bronco Club. The water was muddy, fast and 41 degrees. Air temps ranged from 28 to 50 degrees. Trash was very light and I saw no water quality issues.

The Moonpie Critter Patrol was bustling on this trip. We saw a bald eagle at Mill Creek that acted like it was nesting somewhere nearby. And I say that because it did not fly far away, it just kept on hanging around. We looked and looked though, but could not find a new nest anywhere. The beavers on that part of the river are flourishing that’s for sure. I have never seen so many beaver hotels so close together. One hut was seven feet tall! We also witnessed a mink swimming across Simms Gut, which is always cool. That’s a critter we never saw when I was a boy on the rivers. Now there seems to be right many.

Whewww, I ’bout had the scare of my life upon getting to the camp site. I went to get my truck keys out of my pocket to secure them and they won’t there. I thought, OMG! I have locked them in the truck. Then I thought, maybe I had lost them on the ground at Round Gut where I launched from. That morning after launching I moved two large pieces of concrete into that giant hole on the dirt ramp. To do that I had to get on my hands and knees and roll each one 100 feet to that hole, end over end over and over. It took a while to do it, but I got it done. I figured I might as well do it since nobody else will help fix the problems there. In the past year I have dumped quickcrete and lots of brick and cinderblock in that hole but for some reason it’s gone when I come back the next time.

ANYWAY, I figured maybe my keys fell out my pocket while I was crawling around up there. Mad as hell, I got ready to ride all the way back up to Round Gut and I decided to check one more place. My Arctic Cat bib’s side-leg zippers are right beside the zippered side pocket. Sure enough, I unzipped the leg zippers and reached waaay down in there and right on top of my boots were the keys. Needless to say I was elated. I had mistakenly unzipped my leg zipper thinking it was the pocket …won’t make that mistake again!

The fishing on this trip was pretty good. I caught four stripers measuring up to 22 inches. All but one was at or beyond the required 18 inches. All were caught jigging the blade bait. I released all of them. I also caught a giant speckle that was 12 inches long and weighed a pound and a half. I also snagged a gar that weighed 6 pounds, caught a largemouth bass and what I think was a mudgapper, never seen one that light-colored though … oh, and a mussel!

So even though this was a very cold trip, I was very grateful to have some pole-dancing striper action on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

To contact Jeff about river issues, email him at