by Pete Mazzaccaro
Peaches Smith has been fishing regularly for 10 years. Over the last decade she’s been on beaches, in boats and along rivers from the Jersey Shore to Delaware and across the state of Pennsylvania. Yet, In all that time, she never caught a fish as large as the one she pulled out of the Wissahickon Creek, just a few miles from her Logan home, on Mother’s Day morning.
“It was the perfect Mother’s Day present,” said Smith, who has two grown children. “I call it the Monster Fish.”
The day started for Smith as it usually does on a trip to the Wissahickon. She stopped by Bob’s Bait Shop in East Falls at 6 a.m. By 7 a.m. she met her father and an elderly uncle at Valley Green where they had secured her favorite “holes.” She tied minnows to two poles and left them in two spots, her father guarding one, her uncle, the other.
For Smith, fishing began as a way to deal with what she said was a depressing time in her life. Her mother suggested she do something to get her mind on something positive, so she took up fishing. She goes frequently, saying she travels to the Wissahickon several times a week and gets way more out of fishing at Valley Green than fish.
“God’s World is what I call it,” Smith said about fishing on the creek. “I don’t wear a watch, and the cell stays in the car. When I’m out there, it’s a whole different world from this world.”
Even with all that experience, she wasn’t ready for what she was going to catch.
After checking with her dad, Smith said she was walking back to her uncle’s spot when she saw something move on the line.
“I saw the line break, and I thought, ‘Let me check this line,’” Smith said. “I started to pull it in, and the rod bent in half. ‘I think I got something on here,’ I yelled [to my uncle]. As I started bringing it in, it jumped out of the water.”
Smith said she realized then that the fish wasn’t going to come easily. Dressed in waders, she went into the water to grab it once it moved closer to the edge of the creek.
“I bent down and picked him up, and he jumped out of my hand onto the bank,” Smith said. “I fell down and started pushing him up, so he wouldn’t get back in the water.”
When she got the fish on a chain to measure, he was 23 inches long and weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces. (We learned of Smith from local resident Art Howe, who happened to run into Smith, fish in hand, in Fairmount Park. Smith let Howe take her picture as long as he promised to email her a copy.)
What are her plans for the Monster Fish?
“All my fish are trophy fish,” Smith said. “I’d like to mount him, even though I know rainbow trout is good eating. It will cost me $300, so I’ll keep him frozen, until I get the money up.”
Smith recommended fishing in the Wissahickon. Her catch is evidence that the creek clearly has some hidden prizes for fishermen.
“You don’t have to get on the boat – you don’t have to even own a boat,” she said. “If you go out there, maybe one day you’ll catch a monster fish.”