Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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Spirit of Moonpie, Whispering Bear and I spent June the 14th through the 16th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was clear, getting stagnant and 75 degrees. Air temps ranged from 60 to 87 degrees. Trash was pretty light, and I saw no man-made water quality issues. We did remove several lures and attached lines from the trees. I guess some people have more money than sense. Leaving that stuff in the trees is deadly for wildlife.

No, “catfish skunk” is not a new species of stinky catfish. It just means we were skunked both nights. The first night I could kinda understand it as the water did not cooperate and run good. The second night everything was right. The water ran out good, but no catfish. Both nights we had really spectacular hits on the big rig, both times taking the jug completely underwater, but never got a hookup. The first big hit I don’t even know what could have done that. Whatever it was cut braided 300-pound test surveyors nylon line… 15 inches up string of the hook and sinker. I test that rig before each night, and there was nothing wrong with it when we launched it that evening. I have never seen anything like that. I mean I reckon a gar could do that, but why 15 inches above the bait? Anyway, this is getting crazy. I don’t think I have ever seen the nighttime catfishing this bad in a very long time… if ever. Need a good river flushing, I reckon.

We traveled downriver into the Chowan on this trip. I wanted to go see the new facility at Gatlington Beach. On the way there I was stunned to see a place near Gatlington where people have been enjoying the river… and not cleaning up. Beer cans and all kinds of trash were littering the area. It was truly a mess. Is that private property? On the other hand the new ramp and facility at Gatlington was very nice… except for the couch that must have come out of a pontoon boat up in the parking lot??? Man, that place sure has changed. We used to go there in the 1960s when there was a little cabin there. I was like 3 or 4, and the folks would ski all day long, and we would swim at the little beach that was there. Now you cannot swim there according to the rules posted at the place. 

That’s a shame, and it’s because people have abused that place, having big boat parties there in the past. I sure miss those old times on the river when people had sense enough not to mess up such a good thing we had on the three rivers we call the Blackwater, Nottoway and Chowan.

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.