Where’s the fish?

Published 3:43 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent December the 10th through the 12th on the Blackwater above Joyner’s Bridge. The water was 4.08 on the Burdette Gauge, clear and 48 degrees. Air temps ranged from 32 to 52 degrees. It was pretty darn cold the last day with that wind. 

The fishing on this trip was poor. I saw three boats the second day, and everybody was asking, “Where’s the fish?” Unfortunately, I was not able to tell them. A friend of mine who lives on that part of the river was even skunked, so I know it was bad! I ended up catching two small bass, a big chain pickerel, a catfish and a speckle. I tried for raccoon perch and bowfin but had nary a hit. The fish I did catch I caught on a fat crank bait. Don’t know why the fishing was so poor. Water temps were nice for this time of year, water level was great, don’t know!

Whewwww, it was exciting out there on the first day. I ain’t never seen so many deer hounds swimming the river. Moonpie just looked on in disbelief. I looked in the back of the boat one time, and she was just shaking her head. “What?!” I asked. She said, “I just can’t believe anybody would jump in 48-degree water to chase a deer.” “Right,” I replied, “well, 20 years ago you’d be wanting to do the same thing, so shut up.” All I got back was a guttural sound that smelled really bad. We watched one deer run down along the shore about an hour ahead of the dogs. When they finally got there, half swam across the river, and the other half turned and went back the wrong way. About another hour later I found the deer holed up under a root ball right on the shore of the river. She was so tired, she just sat there staring back at me. I was just sitting there looking at it and taking pictures when all of a sudden it jumped up and tried to get up the bank. It was jumping and jumping straight up. Finally, it got traction and took off. It’s like the deer was so tired it couldn’t see me or something. Pretty weird.

Well the trash was pretty bad. I expected as much since I had not been there in several months. But what really was bad — it appeared someone dumped a bunch of house Styrofoam insulation off of the bridge recently and into the river. How does someone do that and not be seen? That is a busy road. I picked up a garbage bag full of the green crap.

Looks like winter might be here finally. Don’t know how much more I will be able to go if it gets much colder than this trip. I turned 63 on this trip out there, and the circulation in my old bones just ain’t as good as it used to be. This was the 12th birthday I have celebrated when I was on the river camping — 1988/29, 1992/33, 1995/36, 1998/39, 2000/41, 2003/44, 2006/47, 2011/52, 2014/55, 2015/56, 2020/61 and 2022/63. Wow! I oh so hope I get to do that again on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

Jeff Turner is the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard. To contact him about river issues, send him an email at blknotkpr@earthlink.net. He can also be followed on the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard Facebook page. Just type in “Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard” in the search field on Facebook.