Shad bite light

Published 9:54 pm Monday, April 17, 2023

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent April the 10th through the 12th on the Nottoway below Hercules. The water was muddy, high, fast and 58 degrees. Air temps ranged from 34 to 77 degrees. It was very pleasant… except for the wind the first day. Tell you about that later.

The trash on this part of the Nottoway is usually non-existent. However, on this trip, picked up about a half a bag. Most of it was older trash flushed out of the swamps from the high water. I did pick up a safety coat that was upriver from the boat ramp. That thing must have weighed 60 pounds with all that water in it. I had to stab that thing with the filet knife like 20 times to get the water out of it. I felt like the scene from “Psycho” out there with a 9-inch filet knife going on that jacket, hhaaaa. 

The fishing on this trip was disappointing. I was really hoping to get one more fun shad trip in, but it was not to be. I caught three, and that was it. Just goes to show you how different it is from year to year. I had some entries in my fishing logbook that showed one year still catching lots of shad for the same date. Oh well, I did catch right many white perch jigging the small blade bait, but that really was not all that fun. I threw all those back, as I don’t even like eating them. I fished for stripers but did not have even a hit. The same was true with the bass and chain pickerel. I did catch a gar that was about 8 pounds, but that fish didn’t even fight that hard. I guess the pollen makes them feel sluggish also!

So, yea, the wind. I saw something that is really hard to believe, but I saw it happen… Moonpie saw it also. We were fishing right there in the Narrows, and the wind suddenly roared out of the North. Musta been one of those straight-line things I hear the weather people talking about. Anyway, we heard this awful crashing and a splintering sound and looked up and here comes a whole tree flying through the air. If that wasn’t enough to get yee ear lobes wagglin’, that flying tree slammed into another tree and stuck right in it like a ninja throwing one of them star-shaped pizza cutters. Moonpie and I stared at each other for a second until I got my ear lobes calmed down, and we lit outta there like Fireball Express. That tree is still there for anyone who wants to go look at it, AND I got a picture of it I’m posting with this edition of the RiverGuard Report. So look through the pics to see this marvel of the Mystical Native Narrows Narrative.

Well it won’t be long before the river expels all these anadromous fish species and things get back to normal. It’s fun to catch the shad etc., but I look forward to the regular species lineup and less boat traffic that will soon prevail once again on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

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