The Beer Cap Brown Trout - Smith River 5-22-09 - Post Awards -
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The Beer Cap Brown Trout - Smith River 5-22-09

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Awarded by , 05-24-2009 at 02:07 PM (1370 Views)
Quote Originally Posted by al k

Spent a few days at my "get-away" place which is less then a mile from the Smith River in Bassett VA. After doing the usual "mow the lawn and tidy up the place" that every vacation home owner faces, I found a couple hours on Friday morning for fishing. My destination was a short section known by some of the locals and many of the Smith River regulars as "the hayfields". It is a combination of short riffles and long stretches of flat water. As with all sections of the Smith, the key to relatively easy access is knowing where to enter and exit, otherwise you end up bushwhacking or playing mountain goat.

The water was clear and cold. I was pleased to see lots of gravel bottom and very little signs of Didymo. I was hoping for a hatch of some sort but think I was too early in the morning. In the 2 hours I was on the river I saw only one rise form.

I started out with an Allieworm hung about 2 feet below a yarn strike indicator. I already had a #18 "secret" dropper tied to the bend of the Allieworm hook so left it on. I went quite a ways before connecting with a nice rainbow which had drifted down with the generation surge from where he was stocked at one of the upstream bridges.

Another rainbow, almost an identical twin, soon followed. They were keying on the Allieworm and ignoring the dropper, so after untangling it for the umpteenth time I just cut it off and went with the single fly.

The first brown of the day proved to be quite interesting. I hooked the typical 8-9 inch Smith River Brown but as I pulled him closer I observed what appeared to be ulcers around it's head and gill plates. I thought to myself, "Oh-oh, what is going on here, has some dreaded disease popped up along with all the other challenges the fishery faces?" Thankfully, that was not the case. When I cradled the fish in my hand I saw that it had somehow lassoed itself with the bottom half of an aluminum twist off bottle cap. This must have occurred when the fish was much smaller - it had since grown and the aluminum band was growing into its flesh much the same way that a dog's collar will grow into it's neck unless the owner adjusts it as the dog grows.

Feeling sorry for the fish, but also knowing that it would probably die anyway, I slipped my scissors under the collar and snipped it off. Rust, barnacles and fish flesh came with it.

I am not optimistic, but maybe-just maybe, this fish is a survivor and one of you folks will catch him when he is 20 inches long and will see the scars from when he tried to hang himself on a bottle cap. Just remember, I was the one who gave him a second lease on life.

I fished on up to a predetermined "get out" spot and caught a few more rainbows and browns along the way. It was tough fishing and I had to struggle to reach double digits. It still made for a nice morning on the water.



  1. burrowswl's Avatar
    Chances of him making it are slim, but at least you gave him a fighting shot....Good on ya...
  2. ejtaylor822's Avatar
    Great read. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you had a lot of fun.
  3. Dennis Running Bear's Avatar
    Maybe this will show others that we just don't catch the fish and take them home and have dinner! But if we did this we may not be fishing today. Also maybe he will live and come down stream to Eden area! So I can have fun also!!!!
    Great job !!!!!!!
  4. KST&BLST's Avatar
    People who pollute are pure trash! Hike it in, hike it out! Good job on the fish!
  5. Scott Hobbs's Avatar
    10-4 Al...great looking area and greater looking fish...