August 14 2014 River Patrol

20 Aug
August 20, 2014

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 14th through the 16th on the Nottoway below Hercules. The water was clear and clean the first two days. Trash was very light and I only picked up a couple of bottles and a worm cup, which I’m pretty sure, I know which boat that came out of. I saw no other water quality issues. Sadly I did find the remains of a great Blue Heron that was killed as a result of some careless wretched fisherperson leaving their fishing line in a tree. The Heron got tangled (see photo) in it and most likely died a slow torturous death. The fishing on this trip was not all that great. In two days of hard fishing I only caught 10 largemouth with the biggest only being 2 pounds. All were caught on topwater. Even the fishing at night was bad and did not catch a single fish either night using cut shad or bream. I even used a piece of pork chop fat much to Moonpie’s chagrin as after not catching anything on that she made it clear the pork chop fat would have been waay better utilized in her belly. Once again I tried 38 ft of deep water, mid depth and shallow. I even tried suspended over deep but caught nary a fish. Now we are going to talk about the rules of navigation and courtesy to other boaters on the water. And yes, I have been guilty of breaking some of these rules in my lifetime. It seems not many boaters understand that in inland Va. waters there are laws regarding the operator’s responsibility of the wake created by his/her boat. That law reads: Operators shall reduce speed to avoid endangering persons or property by the effect of the motorboats wake when approaching or passing vessels under way, lying to, at anchor, or made fast to the shore; or when approaching or passing piers, docks or boathouses; or when approaching or passing persons in the water or using water skies or surfboards. Furthermore the law states that there is the 50ft rule where you cannot operate any motorboat at greater than no wake speed when within 50 ft or less of the above described circumstances. No wake is defined as : The slowest possible speed required to maintain steerage and headway. So I also know this, if your 50ft or more away, go ahead and stay on plane, which throws a pretty small wake that will dissipate by the time it hits me. The message is any damage incurred by an operator ignoring these rules is liable for that damage to person or property. So when I’m tied up to the pilings under Monroe Bridge to spend the night because of thunderstorms and the idiot comes through there 30 ft from me running 50 mph and slams my boat against the pilings that is breaking the law. That is just stupid and reckless. Or when I’m tied up to shore camping and the wake from idiot driver 45 ft out slams my boat against the shore and puts water in the boat over the transom, infraction there also and ignorant. At the boat landing when people are trying to load/unload their boat, even if there is not a no wake zone designated by buoy’s, it is a no wake zone to 50 ft out. I also had a guy pass me running I guess 40 mph on my starboard side (legal) this trip 12 ft away from my boat. Not legal. He was so close I caught motor spray and the wake nearly tore off my canopy from its upright supports. So my message here is learn the rules of the road, because on the Blackwater and Nottoway I’m going to be calling in ALL serious instances of reckless boating from now on. Okay, moving on since I’m on a tirade. Dang ! We put a man on the moon in 1969, but still can’t get an accurate 2-day forecast. I swear, when I went to bed Wednesday night, the forecast for Thursday through the weekend was dry, not even a chance of rain. So I decided to go to the river for 4 days. Low and behold though by Thursday night they had changed the forecast to 30% EVERY day for the rest of my trip. And I got to tell you, Friday night where we were at near Monroe Bridge, it was 100% rain. It rained so hard water was coming through the bridge! I have parked under there a many a time but never seen that before. We got drowned. It rained so hard I could not even hear my radio. After that we decided to axe the 4-day thing. We still made do the best we could that night and were actually laughing about how 30% chance of storms out here really means 100% certain your gonna get your tail wet on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

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