Published 12:40 pm Monday, December 11, 2023

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent December the 7th through the 9th on the Nottoway below Delaware. I’m up to 99 days now on my quest to make 100 camping days on the river for the year, almost there! The water was clear, nasty, stagnant and 44 degrees. Air temps ranged from 32 to 68 degrees. It was truly cold that first day. I only picked up one piece of trash and saw no other water quality issues other than we need significant rain, which we are getting as of this writing.

I fished both fishing days for smallmouth exclusively… again. I even had JRC come and join me on the second day, but once again, no smallmouth. I only caught a nice Red Eye and a chain pickerel, and JRC caught a chain pickerel. Jigging is boring fishing hhhaaaaa! I don’t know how much longer I can stick with the smallmouth quest. I was also stunned on night No. 2 to see a large boat out on the river at night. I figured they were striper fishing. I later learned they were catfishing and didn’t do any good. They came past my camp several times, and I was impressed that the captain was very careful not to slam my boat against the shore with his wake. All I know is they were some hardcore folks to be out on a boat in that cold!

I had a pretty cool … and scary hawk experience the first two days. On the way to camp the first day, a hawk lit out of a tree and flew beside the boat all the way to base camp. Then it landed in a tree nearby and just sat there watching me for quite some time. The second day, JRC and I were fishing about a mile from there, and all of a sudden this same hawk (had to be) came flying up the river dead at us. JRC saw it first and yelled, and when I looked up, it looked like I was getting ready to have a visitation on my head. The hawk streaked by overhead like only 10 feet above me! I don’t know what that was all about; maybe it was trying to tell me that I should go back to camp because I’m the sorriest smallmouth fisherman 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.