Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 9th through the 11th on the Nottoway below the Bronco Club. The water was clear and 49 degrees. Air temps ranged from 34 to 70 degrees. It was just gorgeous out there except for the trash. I don’t usually have much problem on that part of the river but this time I picked up about a half a bag. The fishing on this trip was great, for catfish that is. I could hardly scrounge up enough bait to set lines. I could not catch a bream (and that’s bad) so I started bass fishing and finally caught about a two pounder. That was big enough so I could use the guts and belly for bait. Now I don’t know if bass is the ticket or not, but I might have to start using bass as my primary bait. That first night I caught 10 catfish on the nine limb-lines I had set. Now I know you think I screwed that up, how could I catch 10 fish on nine lines? Well the next morning I was gathering up the fish off the jug-lines and I took 9 off. On the way back to camp I saw a jug dancing again that I had already took a catfish off of and went to investigate. Darn if I didn’t catch another catfish on that jug and it didn’t even have any bait on it! I guess the hook smelled enough like fish that it did the trick. Moonpie suggested that from now on maybe we should pack a bottle of fish oil with us to coat the hooks with in case we have problems catching bait again. I imagine you could soak cotton or something like that in fish oil and put it on a hook and catch a catfish. Good idea Moonpie! I only caught three the next night using catfish belly, but one of those went 16 pounds. Maybe blue cat’s just aren’t very cannibalistic.
Now I’m going to go on something that I came up against on this trip. Don’t know who they were and not all were guilty. The river was right busy this weekend, might have been a bass tournament I guess. I have been noticing this trend over the last few years, but this weekend I have never seen so many fishermen that were so unfriendly. Now around here us folks wave when we pass and often stop and talk about what’s biting etc. Not these guys, I talked to a couple and it just seemed like I was bothering them. I waved at a dozen boats that were fishing as I rode by and all I got back was the stink eye. Maybe they were a bass club from Slovenia or somewhere that just do not know what a good old neighborly wave is all about. They might have been having a tournament but really? Is it so intense, so critical to turn that crank every second that you can’t be friendly? I tournament fished back in the 70’s, and yep we fished hard and fast also, but we didn’t act like snobs. I hope tournament fishing does not end up molding a whole new generation of unfriendly snobby anglers intolerant of those not participating in their match. Maybe this was just a case of out of towners having an unproductive day. In any case, the river is a great place to go and have fun, and whether your fishing from a homemade wooden boat or a shiny fiberglass bass boat, be friendly and take two seconds to wave a “hello” on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.