November 27th Through The 29th Nottoway Trip

30 Nov
November 30, 2010

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 27th through the 29th on the Nottoway below Courtland. The water was clear, 50 degrees and 4.3 ft on the U.S. Geological Survey gauge. Air temps ranged from a very cold 20 degrees to 60. Trash was light, which again surprised me, as I had not been on that part of the river in at least a year. I picked up about a half a bag. The fishing was pretty good. I started off catching largemouth on crank bait and caught three in about 20 minutes. By then though I was at the deep curve right behind the Church in Courtland and I wanted to see if I could catch a blackfish. So I started jigging and caught a couple of those but noticed I was having a lot of small hits and hanging fish for just a second, then they would get off. So I changed from a ½ oz. Silver Buddy to a ¼ oz. and that was the ticket. I started catching everything. I caught a bunch of really big redeye’s, two shellcrackers one which weighed 2 pounds, hung a nice jack and caught several speckle. Catching the redeye’s was kinda aggravating because I would get hung up sometimes 3 or 4 times in five minutes. But that was where the fish were and I was just glad I had a good lure retriever with me; and no I don’t mean Moonpie. A lure retriever is a weight with little chains attached to it on a heavy line that you attach to your hung -up line. You attach the device and drop it down to your snag and hopefully get your lure back. I did not loose a single lure the whole trip. It is a great investment since it pays for itself after retrieving only three lures. It’s also pretty easy to make one out of just fishing weights. On the last day we were breaking camp when the sound of deerhounds on the chase came singing through the woods. Suddenly a doe jumped out of the woods and onto the sand bar we were camped on. The deer seemed in no big hurry and only 30 ft away moved by a frozen in place Moonpie and myself. It sauntered down the sandbar into the water and swam to the small island right across the river still only 30 yards from us. It finally found a small place to get out of the water but realized there was no exit from there as that side of the Island (part of the river known as the Devil’s Elbow) is just an impenetrable wall of vines. The doe looked around and I guess feeling the warm sun after that cold swim decided to take a break since the dogs were still a long way off and with that plopped down. I was still sitting there perfectly still freaking out that the deer was looking right at us but was not the least bit scared. It was a great moment, the deer and myself, basking in the warm early morning sun, such a rare peaceful wildlife moment. And then it was gone. Moonpie jumped up and wanted to go see the deer closer I guess. Well the deer freaked out, jumped up and with no where to go except the water again, did a standing 6 ft vertical leap right into all those vines. Moonpie was hollerin’ “hey pretty deer where ya going”? Which just freaked the deer out worse (the talking thing I guess) and it got all tangled up in those vines and then fell backwards into the river. Terrified for sure now, it’s eyes big as saucers the deer then tore off in another direction right into a wall of logs that was flood debris. She fell and stumbled her way through that and hit the water on the other side of the island and quickly swam the 30 ft stream, clambered up the bank and was gone. I don’t know how she did not break a leg, or her neck but it was moving like nothing was wrong with her. I was still sitting there on my milk crate, mouth open at what had just taken place. Moonpie came back to where I was sitting and said, “ What in the world was all that about? How rude! All I was doing was just tryin’ to make and meet some new friends while we’re out here on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

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