Destination File 93

Bare Farm Cabin


  Some places make you think twice about documenting your visit with an article.

  These are the special destinations, undiscovered and unspoiled from the inevitable rigors of overuse. They are often remote but can be more like a hidden oasis near a populated area. They offer solitude, good fishing or hunting, accommodations with atmosphere and a new venue to share with friends and family.

   The Bare Farm Cabin on the Maury River is one such place.

  Owned by the Nuckols family since the 1970Ős this authentic log cabins sits on a grassy hill overlooking what many smallmouth anglers say is one of the best brown bass fisheries in the region. The cabin underwent extensive renovations in the 80Ős and quietly became a favorite of Washington & Lee parents for the past decade.

 Now, with the Maury sitting atop Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries smallmouth density list and at the top of the W2 Guide To Greatness River rating, the Bare Farm Cabin is tough to reserve.

   Smallmouth numbers are way up on this little river that flows through Lexington, Buena Vista and Glasgow on itŐs way into the James River via Balcony Falls. It has received an experimental stock of smallmouth bass fingerlings from the VDGIF so youŐll observe fish from two inches up to 18Ó on most trips.

   On a recent early August weekend I spend two nights at the Bare Farm Cabin and brought along an Emotion CoMotion kayak so my eight-year-old son and I could float fish. From the cabin itŐs roughly 4.5 miles down to a locally maintained take-out under Rt. 60 at the town of Buena Vista.

   Along the way youŐll find some ledges and minor Class I and Class II rapids – nothing major except for a whole lot of hungry smallmouth. River forage consists of invertebrates, crawdads and some minnows, so you donŐt need to get too fancy with your lure selection.

  We found a wacky rigged JackŐs Worm from CASE Plastics to be a favorite of the smallies from 8Ó-12Ó. Bigger fish were spotted, but our efforts to pursue them were minimal. Serious anglers will want to use small, crawdad crankbaits and a 3Ó tube for the bigger fish. A 4Ó soft plastic stickbait rigged wacky style in pumpkin is a good choice, too.

   Red eye bass and river sunfish are present, so if the smallmouth are tight-lipped you can always tie on the trusty white Mepps spinner and get some rod action going.

   The Maury has a lot of rock ledges that run perpendicular to the river. There are also a number of areas where chunk rock is present on the river bottom. The latter is where most of the smallmouth were found on our trip.

   A number of good float plans are available on the VDGIF website and a Virginia Gazeteer is a must when planning your trip (see page 9 to order).

  The cabin sleeps five in a queen bed, two doubles and a loft bed, though I imagine you could get a couple more air mattresses up in the loft. ThereŐs a fine kitchen and one bathroom with a shower. The front porch overlooks the river and FrancesŐ Folly, a screened pavilion is great for evening rigging sessions and your gear depot.

   DonŐt think of booking Bare Farm Cabin and partying with your buddies and messing it up for all of us. Book it to fish, to listen carefully to the river as it speaks the ancient language we all once understood and to experience something not everyone can nor cares to.

   Visit for more information.