Moonpie and I spent the 25th through the 27th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was clear low and 37 degrees. Air temps ranged from 22 to 50 degrees and it snowed on me…again.
Trash was pretty bad this trip and I picked up a full bag. Most of it looked like ditch trash but I’m not sure what event flushed it out. There is a big beaver dam in the Franklin stormwater canal that I guess could be pilling up with the litter then when even a little rain comes washes the pent up trash over the dam. The only other water quality issue I noticed was an abnormal amount of saw dust on the surface of the river from the mill. The fishing on this trip was great for blackfish as I caught about thirty up to 7 pounds. All were caught on the blade bait. I caught one raccoon perch and it was full of roe but that was it. They have not done well in the last few years and I do not know why. I will have to see what our VDGIF fisheries biologist has to say about that. Despite the extreme cold we saw a lot of wildlife on this trip. Because the river was so low the Great Blue Herons were lined up along the shore and I guess we saw 50 that first day. We also saw wild turkey and were entertained by an otter that showed us his fishing skills by catching a big shellcracker practically from under the boat and then proceeded to eat it right in front of us. The trip ended up being a good one even though it was so cold and we nearly had a tragic start. After launching the boat I decided I would put Moonpie in her coat because it was 25 degrees that morning and we had a long ride to the campsite. So after doing that I directed her to get into the boat. For whatever reason instead of crawling across the camping gear like normal she took the path of least resistance, which was around the gunwale of the boat. She was doing fine until she started using the pier to push against as she walked the precarious edge of the boat. I saw it coming and tried to stop her but Moonpie is deaf as a doornail from old age. In one sickening scene the boat pushed out from the pier and though she tried gallantly too hold on she just did not have the agility. Into the 37-degree water she went. Stunned at the cold she then made the mistake of not immediately turning around to come to shore but swam out behind the boat over deep water and into current. As the coat began to fill up with water and the frigid water began to numb her old bones she got lower and lower in the water. I had started into the boat and was going to try to net her or something when she finally and in just the nick of time touched the ramp with her feet. Five more feet and she would have surely drowned. Unbelievably after I got the coat off her she was not entirely sopping wet but still wet enough she went into a terrible fit of shaking. So I put her under my coat for the ride to the campsite, which made us now both wet. That night practically sitting in the fire Moonpie said, “ You know I hate that straight jacket of a coat anyway, I can hardly walk in it must less swim in it. If you really cared anything for me you would put me under your coat all time so I’m nice an snuggly.” I thought about that for a moment and replied, “ well what I was thinking is maybe I’ll get one of those little doggie cages and just put you in that and then maybe we can keep the Moonpie out of trouble on the two rivers we call Blackwater and Nottoway.
I can’t print what Moonpie did next but it involved turning around backwards and showing me something truly disgusting!