Labor Day Weekend at Kerr Lake

Kerr Lake is the chain of Lake Kerr and Gaston, which are located on the Virginia and North Carolina border.  Virginians refer to Kerr Lake as Bugg’s Island and if you are local to North Carolina, it’s Kerr Lake.  The Lake is 50,000 acres and has 850 miles of shoreline.


Michelle and I were guests of Dan and Patti Betz, who have a seasonal waterfront home, located in Henderson, North Carolina.  There is nothing like fishing, when all you have to do is wake up, walk to the dock, hop in the boat and begin to ply the waters!  Fishing at dawn and dusk become favorites!


We have visited Dan and Patti on several occasions, and this year is the most hydrilla (submerged aquatic vegetation) that we have ever seen.  Both a blessing and curse, the SAV is good for fisheries, but bad for boating and swimming.


Dan and I fished from dawn till 11:00 am each morning and caught several fish, including large-mouth bass, chain  pickerel,  yellow perch and blue catfish.  Dan’s Ranger Bass Boat is perfect for Kerr Lake, as we explored various points, coves, rocky shorelines, SAV beds and blow-downs.


This blue heron watched as we all fished.  We also listened and watched as a pileated woodpecker hammered away at a dead snag in search of insects.  We also observed a mature bald eagle feed on a fresh fish on the shoreline, and diving osprey.


It does not get any better than this!  On the first afternoon and evening, we went to Clarksville and had a fantastic dinner at an Inn and then went to the town’s local car show to observe many antique cars and trucks.

In the evening we went “noodling” for catfish.  Taking out the pontoon boat, we baited and set-out nine floating noodles (jug fishing) in a cove and just waited to have them taken by the catfish.  While waiting between retrieval bouts, we listened to good music and drank ice cold beer and margarita’s.  When it was time to inspect the noodles, we would spot light the noodle, motor over and capture it with a hook, pull it up and inspect.  Through the course of two hours, we caught only one well-sized blue catfish.  It’s quite exciting when a noodle is a “runner,” as the catfish has set the hook and is on the run.  Dan, why was our hook named Laura?


Casting into the gut (thalweg) of a cove, Dan yanked out this lively pickerel.


He also caught some nice large-mouth bass.


Using a green pumpkin Senko (soft plastic worm), I cast into the corner of a calm water site near the Nutbush Bridge.  On the fall, a monster-sized fish slammed the bait and took off, and the second I realized the movement to the side, I set the hook.  It was on!  The fish was dead weight and powerful.  I had to play this fish, but not loose tension.  Dan immediately picked up the camera to get a few photo shots from the hip, but then made the determination that it was a better idea to get the net.


Wow, a solid six-pound large-mouth bass.  The bass was 24-inches long, and this female had every appearance that she was a great spawn-er earlier in the season.  It’s always edifying to catch a large-mouth in excess of five-pounds, which is uncommon.  I’ve only caught five or six large-mouth in the five to eight-pound size class.  Ask any fisherman, and they will all confide that it’s a “Good Day” when you land a bass five-pounds or greater.  Thank you net man Dan for helping me land this lunker!


It was now time to show off the fish to the ladies and then place basszilla back into the water.


Michelle snapped a few photos for posterity, more like proof.


Great weekend, great fishing, great friends.


Overlooking the water, we feasted on a brunch of brats and shrimp on the grill.  Looking down on the patio, we observed a mature and native Carolina Mantid (Stagmomantis carolina), who was obviously looking for an insect lunch, but was probably drawn in by the smoky smell of surf and turf on the grill.

Thank you Dan a Patti for a great weekend!  Oh and yes, Kudzu in flower does have a somewhat grape smell (if you’ve been drinking, and someone suggests grape as the smell to smell for).