Water Moccasin

Are you prone to worry? How about fret? Do you experience just a little anxiety every now and then? I was thigh deep in the murky waters of the Brazos River a few weeks ago fly fishing for largemouth bass. As I worked my way around a brushy dead fall protruding into the river, I flipped my fly carefully under the branches hoping for the trademark attack of a violent and angry fish. Instead, what I saw gave my heart a start. The largest Water Moccasin I have ever encountered slithered its gray-black body off of the dead fall and into the water with me.

For an instant there was a slight writhing as the poisonous reptile undulated its heavy body into the water. Only a small wake remained marking its entrance. There was nothing to indicate its direction of travel.

It is an old wives’ tale that Water Moccasins cannot bite and inject their venom under water. Among other things, they regularly feed on fish. In addition, they have a curious streak that is famous among outdoorsmen. They have been known to drop into the boat with anglers, and they will swim right up to a float tube.

Had I spooked the snake? Was it headed for a more private spot to continue its morning sunbathing? Or had I sparked its interest enough to warrant coming over to check me out? Would my bare legs be strange enough to cause it to turn away, or would it be inspired to give them a snaky lick?

I guarded myself against panic should I feel its cool body intertwining with my legs. An uncertain or sudden move on my part would mean instant injection, an interminable crawl back to the car, and a miserable several days.

Why do I worry? What is it, anyway? That's the next blog, next time.