RIVERGUARD REPORT: No smallmouth for you

Published 4:13 pm Monday, November 27, 2023

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent November the 18th through the 20th on the Nottoway below Delaware. I’m up to 96 days now on my quest to make 100 camping days on the river! The water was clear, nasty, stagnant and 53 degrees. Air temps ranged from 32 to 63 degrees, which was warm enough to bring out two cottonmouths from a stump that’s in my campsite. I picked up only three or four pieces of trash and saw no other water quality issues.

I fished both fishing days for smallmouth exclusively. I never caught one but did catch plenty of other species. I caught several largemouth on a jig and on the blade bait. I also caught two really nice chain pickerel on a swimming plastic lure. I tried casting deep diving crankbaits but caught nary a fish on those. I tried fishing on the bottom, fishing suspended, fishing drop offs into the channel, swimming mid depth, swimming along the bottom… but no luck. I might try again next time out as I really would like to catch a few purposely. However, as it stands it was “No smallmouth for me.”

Besides the two unwelcomed pit vipers in my camp, I had a pretty strange new experience this trip. Just before retiring for the evening, I heard something in the dry swamp over around my tent. I could hear the leaves rustling, but never could see what it was. I could tell it was not big, so I was not too worried, though I did opt to keep my camp light on timer for two hours so I could get in the tent with some light still shining… just in case. I heard nothing else from the nocturnal visitor that night. The next day I was packing up to leave. I went to toss my bucket of… water into the dry swamp, and when I did, I saw something move a couple feet, then just hunker down. So, I took a few steps toward it, and lo and behold it moved again, and sitting right there was a woodcock. I have never seen one while on the river before. I started thinking about snipe hunting when I was a Boy Scout and got a good chuckle about that. I’m not sure if that’s what I heard the night before, but I believe it was. I guess next time I hear that at night, I’ll grab a bag and go try to chase it down 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 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.