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Snakes in the water in close proximity make for some very unnerving encounters. Especially when you think about how low to the water you are in a kayak. Me and a fishing buddy were fishing Jordan lake in NC. last summer. The water was very low because of a drought a lot of the smaller coves were almost inaccessable. I paddled into the mouth of one small cove which when the water level was normal was probably about 50 ft. wide. Then it was about 6 ft. wide and about 6-12 in. in depth. As I paddled into the mouth of the cove I had my fishing rod laying across my lap and trailing the hook and worm. The rod pulled back and I thought I had snagged a stump but it was a good size bass. By this time my buddy paddled to one side and casted between a stump and the shore which wasn't but maybe 2 ft. I wondered what he was doing I thought his cast went wrong but he pulled a nice sized bluegill out of there. I watched out of the corner of my eye and he casted on the other side of the stump and got snagged on the stump. He was reeling in which pulled the boat close to the stump. He reached around the stump to get unhooked and the next thing I know he is paddling away from the stump as fast as he could. He then told me there was a copperhead in the stump. I wanted to see and sure enough you could see him in there, I thought about poking him with my fishing rod but better thought and good sense told me to leave him be so I listened. We fished on to other parts without trouble thank God for good sense. Watch out fishing around partially submerged structures. Have fun catch fish and be careful.


  • you should
    read my post in the anaconda thread.
  • yep, it's not uncommon to come across
    -- Last Updated: Jan-16-10 8:55 AM EST --

    ..... a viper perched on a stump , branch or rock along the waters edge .

    Vipers are the ones to be careful about in our area . Copperheads hang around water often .

    If it bites you , you won't die (chances of that are slim to none) , but there will likely be pain and complications arise , which is a good reason to give then some space .

    Our regular water snakes (non-venemous) which are curious as heck about your presence , are thick in this area ... they won't bother (as in bite) you at all unless you insist on crowding them and do things too aggrevate them . You can stand right in the water with them all around you , even tangling around you trying to craw in your pockets and cloths , and they won't bite you unless you freak out trying to man handle them away making them feel threatened ... creepy , but not to worry . As said they are very curious creatures , but do not mistake that curiousity for them trying to come and bite you , that's not what they are doing .

  • Anaconda
    Hey Leighrobin, Where can I find that Anaconda thread I didn't see it. I don't think I would even want to be in the water with that thing. It would be bad to see my boat in his belly of course he probably wouldn't have to worry about drowning for a while but it would be a rough bathroom break. I hear that pythons in the Florida everglades are getting quite plentiful.
  • its in paddlers place
    called anaconda captured in central florida. it's a new thread
  • Ugh
    I abandoned a fishing trip one bright Saturday morning because of brown water snakes (what we called water moccasins back home in Central PA, but not the same poisonous snake called water moccasins here in Virginia - we called those cottonmouth back home). Anyway, these brown water snakes were waking up in their bit of woods as the sun rose and began warming things up. A new subdivision had been built where they used to hunt, so they all went across the stream to the other side to hunt in the woods where they were a lot less likely to be chopped to bits by a shovel wielding suburbanite.

    I'm not into chopping randomly encountered snakes into bits with a shovel, but I sure don't like stepping on them in the water (which happened accidentally) or having them hitting my line to leader joint (which happened) or having them strike at my streamer fly (which also happened). I was particularly concerned about one trying to swim down my waders - which were close to the water surface as the channel from which I was casting was more than waist deep. So, I got the heck out of there and calmed my nerves with the thought of early morning beers (which I chose not to consume in reality because that's just a little too hard-core for me).

    I do not like snakes.

    - Big D
  • that last water snake i picked up ......
    ...... pissed on me .

    I said to leighrobin about 5 mins. later , "what's that awful smell , can you smell that" ... she said why's your shirt sleve all wet , that smells terrible ??

    I was being the gentleman and moving the snake from the only good place for her to sit on shore and clean the knee deep mud (she tangled with) from her boots .
  • thanks honey!
  • i was swimming
    at some lake in south carolina in my late teens. every time i stepped on the bottom i asked my friends, "why are there so many hoses on the bottom?" no one knew. can't remember the name of the lake but some weeks passed and they were dredging that lake looking for a girl who had gone missing. news reports said it was the largest concentration of water moccasins ever recorded at the time. i have a guardian angel for sure!
  • Yes you have.
    It also proves the point that snakes are always to be respected but only dangerous when threatened or cornered. Still, that would have me COMPLETELY freaked out.

    - Big D
  • Options
    If you think snakes are bad
    you definitely don't want to be paddling some of the alligator-infested places I paddle.
  • It ain;t just snakes
    I happened to remember a trip when my buddy and I were fishing a deep water cove in asheboro NC.. My buddy casted a short cast toward shore and it landed in an overhanging bush at the shore line. He was trying to grt unsnagged and he told me to come over here quick (when he says that I'm a little slow to move especially since the snake "n" stump before). Anyway when I finally got there he showed me a large bigger than fist sized wasp nest. They weren't aggrevated yet so he cut the line and decided we might go back latter for his lure. We have never gone back yet. If we had aggrevated them there would have been a pretty good sized cloud of bees around us. I suspect they would have been hard to get away from too without going swimming. Having the good sense God gave you is a good thing. For those that are a little to curious best of luck with that. Have fun fish hard and swim very little.
  • Correct.
    My first time to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I was completely stoked about the nature preserves. I wanted to do something to help give back for the soul restoring power of the local environment that has been preserved through so much effort. So I contacted the Park Service to see if there were any volunteer activities I could participate in that week. They said, "Sure. Can you handle a canoe?" "I can," says I. "Great. We need help with a wildlife tagging effort. Are you free Wednesday morning at 8:00?" "I am," says I, "What kind of wildlife are you tagging?" Thinking perhaps it was leatherback turtles or possibly (and wouldn't this be cool) porpoises. "Alligators" says the Ranger. "You know, I'm thinking Wednesday morning just filled up," says I.

    Seeking out, finding, and then harrassing alligators from a canoe before releasing them back to the wild did NOT sound like a terribly sane to spend a day of vacation. Were it now, I'd do it though. Because now I am thoroughly armed for the encounter through watching hundreds of episodes of Croc Hunter.

    - Big D
  • there has just got to be a better boat
    ...... to go lookin for and messin with Aligators from !!
  • Snakes in the water
    I had a fellow tell me he was fishing in a creek close to the coast in Virginia. He said he was fishing close to a sunken ship and as he approached several snakes swam toward his boat. one got close so he took a swat at it with the paddle it seemed to discourage it and the others. But he bid them fair well with a hasty retreat. Has anybody ever had them try to get in the boat with you if so how did you get rid of them and why do they seem to be attracted to a kayak. I wonder if maybe one of them handheld airhorns would work. Any other ideas.
  • most fresh water snakes
    especially the big dark ones are curious/territorial. i learned young not to thrash at or threaten them. this makes them aggressive. usually if i am wading and encounter snakes in the water i freeze. they will swim toward me to check me out. i tap my rod tip as far away from me as i can get it. this usually diverts the snake in that direction. i hold still until it finds the shore and exits. i have never encountered more than one snake at a time on the surface. i have heard stories of massive amounts of snakes on the water. i do NOT like snakes. it takes a lot of control for me to not freak out. i would not like it if one got on me. i have not encountered snakes in the water for some years now, but we don't wade that much any more.
  • My brother and I had a sphincter
    tightening encounter with a Rattlesnake in California several years ago.

    We were fishing a stretch of the San Joaquin River in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. We had to negotiate a granite cliff face for about 20 yards to bet to an enticing pool up river from where we were... As we had our flyrods strapped to our backs, and were climbing along, my brother almost set his foot right down on a 2' rattlesnake basking on an outcropping near the waters edge. I grabbed him just in time, and his foot, less than 1 foot away from the rattlesnake was stopped cold... He SLOWLY pulled it back, and we found another route up river...

    The trip was worth it though, that pool have some nice 18+ inch fish in it...

  • "snake-o-phobia"
    I used to have a shoot first ask no questions and shoot again when it came to snakes. I have since calmed down a lot where snakes are concerned. I now have a cautious curiosity about them now. I still put a lot of distance between me and a poisonus snake but I have realised there usefulness. I work in a barn style small engine shop where mice are destructive when they make nests in a blower housing. So I appreciate a snake that spends time eating mice. In my wood shop 12'X 12' I have two vary good sized black snakes 6ft. or so that like to stay in there. I have grown to like them even and look for them when I enter. Most of the time when I enter they will hide they are very shy. That is a lot different though when it comes to snakes in the water in close proximity.
  • snakes
    Easy cure. Go to www.coldsteel.com and order one of their 42" Sjamboks (you can also find them on EBay). Strap it to your yak, and when a snake (person, bear, or any other threat) comes near, let 'em have it! Nothing is better for self-defense (non-firearm) than a Cold Steel sjambok. I have one in the house, one in each vehicle, and one in each boat. I carry one hiking, and in the yard at all times. At less than $15.00, it is the cheapest insurance you can buy.
  • Sjamboks
    -- Last Updated: Jul-03-10 5:41 PM EST --

    I have had several inquiries from my post about Sjamboks as a defense tool.

    A modern Sjambok is cross between a short, stiff whip, or quirt, and a small club. It comes in 2 sizes, 42", or 54". I have found the shorter one to be handier and a bit quicker, but that's just me. I think the 54" is Cold Steel's best seller. They are made out of a solid piece of Injection-Molded Polypropolene, which is 100% weather-proof, and virtually indestructable (it's the same thing my kayak is made of), with a Kraton handle (which I wrap with paracord). For this well-made tool, Cold Steel charges only $14.00-$24.00....a pittance, for what it does.

    In Africa, Sjamboks used to me made from tough Hippo hide, but now they use various polymers. Cold Steel's is the best, by far. On the Dark Continent, they are used as cattle-prods, riding crops, self-defense against snakes and people, and many Police Officers in Africa carry them for a non-lethal option.

    While being mostly non-lethal to humans and larger animals, they can raise a large welt, even through a leather coat, that will make even the most motivated attacker scurry-in-a-hurry. They can cut a snake in pieces long before they get into striking range, even King Cobras.

    As to legality, as far as I know, in most states they are perfectly legal. As far as the law in TN. and Ga. is concerned, it's a piece of plastic. As always, check the laws in your area to be sure. There may be a law on the books that covers 'unspecified weapons', which might include bricks, baseball bats, screwdrivers and hammers, etc...., in some states.

    A Sjambok is the cheapest insurance you can buy. Check them out at www.coldsteel.com. Cold Steel makes the best blades in the world, at any price.

  • Thanks for some learnin
    Hello, gigmaster I appreciate the info on the sjambok. I'm going to have to get me one. I think the 42" would be the best for close quarters defense and limited space on the boat. I do believe that they would make short work of an aggressive snake although I'm glad I won't be facing no king cobra. I have been in close quarters with several snakes in the last three months. Most of them were not that interested in me thank God. They would just go about their way and I went mine. Thanks to all of you who have posted and given comments and advice. You never know how you may have helped someone in a pinch. I hope everybody has had a fun, safe and productive summer.
  • Options
    I hate big snakes
    And that's why the first 2 holes of my fishing revolver are stuffed with shot cartridges.
  • Snakes don't bother me at all...
    I don't bother them either...

    Last year I saw my first Coral Snake in the wild, got about 3 feet from it to take a picture with my Camera phone. Awesome creatures.

    Since moving to my house here on the coast, I have seen 6 snakes in the yard and the coral snake on the dirt road 100 feet away.

    Only the Coral Snake and a Copperhead, I encountered when I pulled up the old deck to replace it, were poisonous. Accidently killed the Copperhead trying to escort it out of the yard to the woodline on three side..... I was using a long piece of 2/4" pvc to strike the ground behind it and force it away from the house and towards the woods... It turned quickly and my aim was not as good as I thought, and the pvc struck it right on the head, killing it instantly. Dang they are delicate snake.

    Have seen a Southern Hognosed Snake (Though blacker than typical), a Rough Green Snake, a Corn Snake, a Black Racer, and a Eastern Garter Snake.

    Lots of Green Anoles, Southeastern Five Lined Skink, Eastern Glass amd Island Glass Lizards in the area too...

    Plus lots of Frgos and Toads... When I get my water feature completed, these will increase too.

  • A busy snake
    Yesterday me and my buddy saw a snake laying on a huge slab of rock eating a fish! We weren't sure what it was eating then we could see the fishes tail as it was the last part to disappear. It was about four to five feet long, my buddy kept saying it was a copperhead but it was a dull brown I think it was a common water snake but I'm no expert. It finished it's meal and entered the water heading straight for me til I swiftly paddled away. We both watched it eat, it was like watching an animal show but it wasn't as bad as a corral snake!!
  • For all the good it'll do you
    I've seen even modest sized snakes shot point blank with three rounds of scatter shot from a .357 magnum and it didn't seem to bother the snakes much. Sure, big hunks of flesh were exposed, but they didn't slow down or turn course.

    The best defense is just get the hell out of there.

    - Big D
  • another satisfied snake
    A couple weeks ago we saw another snake eating a fish. This time it was a copperhead no mistake and he was eating a small catfish. I wouldn't think they would try a catfish because the barbs. He had a little trouble getting his meal ashore. Everytime he tried to get a better bit the fish would almost escape. I think he got a little nervous with the audience so we left him in peace. It was interesting to watch though, it is amazing sometimes what you get to see from a kayak. Animals don't seem as scared of a boat that makes very little noise. Here in North Carolina we have just went through our fist cool snap,temps in the high 40's people are putting away their motor boats and jetskis or maybe putting them up for sale now. A lot of their lake houses put up for the season now. The lakes will be a lot calmer but colder for kayaks and canoes. I hope the fishing is even better next spring. I can't wait til all the new great and wonderful things fishing from my kayak!!
  • Ummm....
    I gotta point out that NO snake spends more than a few minutes at a time on the bottom of a lake. Those couldn't have been snakes you were touching...if they had been, you'd have been surrounded by surfacing snakes and you'd have known it!

    Snakes only concentrate in given areas during the times when they are moving to and from hibernation. You might see "several" snakes in a small area quite commonly, but not what you'd consider large concentrations of them unless you are very near a hibernation site.

    In the Ozarks, a few outlaws still do a lot of hand-fishing...sticking their hands up into underwater cavities like hollow logs or under rocks, to catch spawning catfish. (It's illegal in Missouri, but some still do it.) Most people shudder at the thought, because they imagine all these snakes hiding in the underwater cavities. But the old-timer I knew who did it all the time said he'd NEVER encountered a snake in such a situation. They simply don't spend much time at all underwater, and almost never on the bottom or in cavities, unless those cavities are only partially underwater where they can lie in hiding and still breathe easily. On the other hand, a rock lying at water's edge, partially submerged, is a great place to encounter a water snake. It'll be hidden under the rock but usually lying under the part of the rock that allows them to stay out of the water. (Also on the other hand, the hand-fishers often encounter big snapping turtles hiding in logs that are shallow enough that the turtles can stretch their necks out and get their noses out of the water to breathe. Snappers are alert and wary, and they immediately duck entirely into the log when somebody approaches. Fortunately for the hand-fisher guys, they are fairly docile when completely submerged, and they guys who like turtle meat just feel along the edge of the shell until they reach the tail, grab it, and yank the turtle out!)
  • Seems to me...
    that we had a big argument about how likely it was to encounter copperheads in and around water a while back. Copperheads aren't aquatic, so are certainly no more likely to be found around water than any other terrestrial snake...not to say they WON'T be found around water occasionally. In 50 years or so of frequenting streams, mostly in the Ozarks where copperheads are very common, I can count on the fingers of both hands with a few digits left over the number of copperheads I've seen in and around the water. Most people don't have a clue how to ID copperheads, and so any brown snake with any kind of darker blotches is automatically a copperhead to them, meaning every common water snake.

    Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if it really was a copperhead on the stump. One of those very few times I've encountered a copperhead in the water was last spring. I was solo floating the James River in Missouri, and happened to glance upstream and saw a large snake swimming downstream toward me, a good fifty yards away. My first thought was "cottonmouth", because the snake was swimming like a cottonmouth. Cottonmouths usually swim with their whole bodies only partially submerged, as if their bodies are much lighter than the water, and their heads held a little higher and at a 45 degree angle, while common non-poisonous water snakes usually swim with only their heads out of the water, their bodies completely submerged. This one was swimming just like a cottonmouth, but it was the wrong color, and I was pretty sure it was a big copperhead because of the very bright coppery color I could see even at that distance. I turned the canoe sideways in the very slow current and watched the snake come closer and closer until it was only about six feet from the canoe. At this point, if I believed all the hype about snakes charging people, I would have been certain that was what was happening. But I knew the snake was only investigating the canoe as a possible place to get out of the water. Still, I didn't want a three foot plus copperhead coming into the canoe with me, so I pushed the paddle blade toward it. It veered away from the paddle and swam under the very front end of the canoe, out the other side, and on down to a small log jam thirty feet downstream, where it crawled out and stretched out in the sun. I paddled close and took a couple photos...beautiful snake and about the biggest copperhead I can remember seeing.
  • copperheads are often found .......
    -- Last Updated: Oct-13-10 11:45 PM EST --

    ...... sunning on rocks , tree limbs at the water's edge . Also on rocks that are in the water .

    Like you , I have come across copperheads at the water environment probably about as many times . Then again , probably no more than that many times away from the water environment as well ... so that's about fifty-fifty for me .

    Copperheads do swim in the water just as you have described ... to me that , and the finding them at the water debunks the theory that they are not aquatic .

    Vipers are not difficult to positively identify as long as you can get a good look , they have very distinctive ID features that are unmistakable and not found on any other snakes ... color being the "least" of those features .

  • The trail of dead hikers behind them
    To me, that'd be the first clue.


    - Big D
  • Options
    hate snakes
    I hate seeing snakes while kayaking. makes me cringe.....haha happy paddling
  • Might have been a juvenile
    Water Moccasin... They get darker as they age, and start off larger than their cousins, Copperheads.

    Also, could have been a light colored Water Moccasin... If albinos exist, which they can and do, then lighter colored ones could also appear.




  • Options
    Ahh! Snakes..said with nostalgia
    When I was younger a friend and I considered ourselves junior herpetologists. We'd go into various ecosystems looking for the snakes you could find there. We actually became very good at it. I'm sure if our parents realized how successful we had become at finding and collecting water moccasins, they would have croaked. Right after they'd have croaked us.

    Anyways, the lesson here is to be able to identify what you encounter. Even if you don't like snakes, knowing what you're facing is better for you and the snake.

    Have fun.
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