The state of VA, VDGIF (Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries) has established several lakes in VA for watersheds and also for trophy fishing, and I live within 6 miles of these lakes.  When you fish these lakes you can use a motor no bigger than 10 horsepower to get around on these lakes with and most of them you can not use gasoline engines at all, you can only use electric motors or paddles.  These lakes are great and they do carry some several fish each year that go over 10 pounds, and for a largemouth bass in VA, that is very good.  In these lakes you are allowed to keep 5 bass under 15 inches or 4 bass under 15 inches and one bass over 22 inches.  Well, a bass 22 inches or longer is going to be in the 8 pound range, depending on the time of the year.  If it happens to be in the spring and the fish is full of roe, then an 8 pound bass will go over 10 or 11 pounds.

  I was fishing one of these lakes, not far from home and had caught several bass in the 8 pound range, give or take, over several days or maybe a couple of weeks time.  I was getting ready to go to Briery Creek Reservoir, again. Well, when they made this impoundment, they just built an earthen dam and let the water back up.  There are more trees in the lake than water, I think.  There are only certain places you can go, because the brush is too thick, and there are stumps that have been broken off and are just below the water level and you spend as much time keeping the boat from getting hung up on the stumps as you do fishing.    Actually, as far as a bass fishing impoundment goes, this is a dream lake.

Well, as I said this is a dream lake and I had been talking with the state fish biologist, who had been keeping check on this lake for several years.  The state record for largemouth bass in VA is 17 pounds and 4 ounces.  The biologist had told us that he had shocked up and weighed a new state record in this impoundment, Briery Creek Reservoir.  Several of us knew this and we were fishing for this fish, to get in the record book.  The biologist would not tell anyone in what area of the lake this fish was checked, and the lake is about 845 acres of water, so it is not a little place, especially when you have to use electric motors to get around and there are so many trees you have to navigate.

  Ok, now that I have spent that much time telling you about the lake, let me take a little more time and tell you something about bass.  There are actually three kinds of bass, the largemouth, or big mouth bass, which is the largest of the bass family.  Secondly comes the smallmouth bass,  which is the second largest of the bass family and the fightingest, if that can be a word, of the bass family.  These bass are often called the bronze-back or the brown bass as they have more of a brown color and tiger stripes on them. If you want to put it this way, they are the meanest of the bass family.  Thirdly comes the Kentucky bass, which is the smallest of the bass family, or the family of the Black Bass.  When fishing tournaments, these are the only bass that are legal to keep and weigh.  Well, I think I have given a few lessons here along with some useless information, of which my head is full of.  I will try to get back to my story.

  AS I said earlier, I was preparing to go fishing at Briery Creek Reservoir, when my wife Sharon asked if I cared if she went with me.  I have always told her that there are two seats in my truck and two seats in my boat, and unless I was going on a specific trip with others for a tournament or something, she always had a seat, and this was just a fishing trip, to go fishing.  We had been fishing for a while about a half mile below the ramp and as usual, we had caught several fish, but nothing very big, just routine fish.  We had heard several break as they were after the bait fish to eat.  I had just caught a bass about 5 pounds, and my wife had just caught one bigger than mine, which she usually does. I usually catch the most but she gets the bigger ones. 

We were both re-tying our lines, from the stretch of the fish we had just caught and were just sitting there in the boat floating in the water while we were re-tying our lines, when all of a sudden between us and the bank, there was a very loud splash in the water as if someone had thrown a cinderblock in the water and it hit flat on the water, with a loud noise and a large splash.  This kind of startled both of us and at the same time, my wife raised up and said, "that is the one I want on my hook."  She started getting nervous and her voice was quivering some as she was really in a hurry to get her line back in the water, to go after that big one. 

I told her not to get in any hurry, because she did not want that big one on her hook, because it was a big brown one and I did not think she could handle it.  She said, oh yes I can handle it, if it will just bite my hook, and she started casting in the direction the splash came from, which was back in this little cove.  I, meanwhile, was fishing in another direction, letting her have that area all to herself.  She cast and cast in that area, to no avail.  This splashing keep up and she just knew she was going to catch her a big fish.  I had already seen the noisemaker and was waiting for her to see what was making all the ruckus and noise.  I moved the boat around some to give her a better opportunity to cast in the area she wanted to cast into, knowing what was going on. 

As I maneuvered the boat to get in a better position for her, and just as she cast again, there was this loud noise and splash again, and as she looked, I told her, that that was one big brown one she did not want on her hook, because I did not believe she could handle that one. I pointed out across the water and she looked at where I was pointing and lo and behold she laughed very big and sat down and made the statement, "no, that is one I do not want on my hook."  There swimming in the water, splashing and trying to run us away from it's house was a big, brown, about 30 pound beaver, protecting it's home.  

This is still a big laugh to this day, every time we hear a splash on the water, no matter what it is, we will both say, there is that big brown one you want, and she always wants to see what has made that noise.  The score is the beaver about 10 and Sharon 0.

Written by Jerry Watson
April 2008
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