As for mistaken ID on mocassins I saw: No, I’m sure.
This is from the second here return on “water snake aggressive”. The first dealt strictly with moccasins.
“It would be inappropriate not to mention the oft-observed behavior of a harassed water snake. Commonly described as “aggressive,” I contend that northern water snakes cannot be considered any more aggressive than chipmunks or bluebirds. True, both of these animals will defend themselves vigorously, biting and clawing, and sometimes doing damage to the handler. When left alone, however, chipmunks and bluebirds pose little threat to our persons. Northern water snakes bite people just as often as chipmunks and bluebirds which is to say just about every time they are grabbed. With a large head, fairly massive jaw musculature, and a mouth filled with six rows of sharp, recurved teeth, water snakes can deliver an impressive defensive strike but only to those who lay hands upon them. And this isn’t even true all of the time. I’ve been able slowly to approach some northern water snakes, carefully reach my open hands beneath their bodies, and lift them into the air, all without the snake becoming agitated or me becoming the recipient of a surprisingly strong bite. Sometimes, however, this doesn’t work! Rather, enjoy water snakes from a short distance, watching how they go about their daily activities.”
I think we are both experienced snake observers who have had differing observations. Maybe the snakes are meaner in your area. Georgia? I’ve paddled the Chatooga, beautiful river but I don’t recall seeing any snakes there. I’m wondering if the authors in your cites are using aggressive in the sense that they will bite if caught? In any event lets agree to disagree, I’m done.