Blackwater Independence

Published 12:45 pm Thursday, July 8, 2021

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Whispering Bear, Spirit of Moonpie and I spent July 3-5 on the Blackwater above Franklin. The water was dirty, low and had good flow. Air temps ranged from 62 to 90 degrees. Skeeters were light, and that truly surprised me … Not complaining either. I was so pleased that I saw no derelict limb lines, and trash was practically nonexistent. In all my years living on the rivers, this was only my fifth time being on the river on Independence Day. Freezing Deer and I used to go to Edenton to see the fireworks show, but after nearly dying in the sound from monster waves during the 2007 trip, we never went back.

The fishing on this trip was outstanding once again. We caught so many bass I lost count. None were over two pounds. I lost one that maybe was three pounds. Plenty of Jack were also caught. All those fish were caught on either a topwater lure or a Rogue. We did pretty good with the catfish the first night, catching four blues to 10 pounds. The second night we were skunked. I’m going to blame that on all the fireworks that were going off all over the place… Look, I have to blame the skunk on something right? Still, the monster cats are eluding me.

It was nice getting Whispering Bear upriver from Franklin. That part of the river is so different than from downriver of Franklin. It’s almost like being on two different rivers — most notably the lack of trash compared to downriver from the city. Plus, there is just so much cool stuff to try out my new camera on up there. 

This new Lumix DC-FZ 1000M2 has a 4K Pre Burst mode. That allows me to capture things like the most difficult river shot called “The Flying Turtle.” Upon pressing the shutter on a potential flying turtle shot, the camera starts taking pictures one second before I actually pushed the shutter and stops when I release it. The flying turtle shot can only happen if a turtle is high enough on a log over the river to allow for big air. If you don’t think it’s hard to do, try it! 

Luckily, on this first time out on the river with it, I captured the elusive Gamera with this camera on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard. To contact him about river issues, email him at