Bass bedding

Published 4:03 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent April the 23rd through the 25th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was normal, clear and 68 degrees. Air temps ranged from 45 to 65 degrees. It was perfect weather.

After all the heavy rain we had the night before, I was figuring the trash would be awful. Usually when it rains that hard after a long spell of no heavy rain, the Franklin ditches get flushed out and I have a mess to clean up out there. I was most happy to find that I was wrong this time. It would seem those awesome people that came out for Clean Rivers Month made a difference. It would sure seem that way. Regardless, I am very thankful to those that got in the ditches and others who worked to keep our community and waterways cleaner. I saw no water quality issues while I was out there.

The fishing on this trip was AMAZING! The white perch were still in the river, and I was catching them even though I was fishing for chain pickerel. In fact, they were actually a nuisance. I did catch a bunch of chains, one even was a citation monster weighing in at 4.5 pounds. I also caught some really big bream while fishing for the chains. Catching bream on a 5-inch Rogue stick bait is kinda odd, but I kept some of them to release to the grease, hhaaaa. 

On the last day, at the last hour, I figured out the bass. At 7 p.m. I figured out the bass were in pre-spawn or spawn. They were up in really shallow water on the east side of the river. East side because that gets the longer duration of sun during the day, which is what is needed to hatch their eggs. I started seeing the water being disturbed back behind the lily pads. I was also hearing a lot of splashing, etc. back in those areas. What that was is bass running off other fish out of their beds. I would take the stick bait and cast it to where I would see this action, then just let the lure aggravate the spawning bass into striking the lure. What you want to do is try to impart as much action into that lure without making the lure leave the nest. I caught a 5 pounder, a 4-10, a 3 and then several smaller right on down the line. That was a fun hour of fishing until I had to run back to base camp for night maneuvers.

It sure is a blast when the fishing is that good on the river. There were a lot of people on the water that Sunday. I hope they all had as much fun as I did 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 He can also be followed on the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard Facebook page. Just type in “Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard” in the search field on Facebook.