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By: Fly Fishing Guide Gavin Griffin

The Davidson River is a staple here in Transylvania County and more often than not, when I’m fishing it, I see miles worth of line being thrown to big fish. It’s common to see anglers on the “D” making long casts, at fish in the distance — worrying about getting too close and spooking the big fish we have there.

The only thing I shout up the stream to them is “get closer, bud!” It’s simply not worth sending all that line over the dozens of other fish between you and it. Not only, but you have no line control on casts like that, especially if you’re tight lining or vertical-rig nymphing.

Our performance isn’t always determined by how far we can make a cast. On the Davidson, especially in the Bobby Seltzer Hatchery sections, being able to get close to fish is the luxury of those heavily pressured fish. Now, I am not saying go stand on fish but I am saying to feel comfortable on a close approach.

Here are 3 things to consider when getting closer to fish:

(1) Sunlight’s position: You’ll notice your shadow cast onto the stream bed below you. Be aware of the position that shadow is being cast. Is it going upstream? Downstream? Once you determine where your shadow is going to lay when approaching the fish, make sure it doesn’t go over the fish or in front of it. If it hits the fish, it may spook it away.

(2) If you see another fish spook on your way over to the big fish you’re sight casting at, STOP! Slow down, let them settle and begin your approach again. Do not shutter, stomp or make large wake when you see fish spook. They will re-settle, usually, in the same positions that you spooked them from. Taking your time, even if it’s 5 minutes to walk 10 feet, is well worth the wait.

(3) Your profile on the water can be highly diminished by keeping yourself low. Even more so if you wear earth tones matching your surroundings. The lower you can get, the closer you usually can go towards the fish. For myself, I’ve crawled on my belly which can sometimes get me just feet away from a fish. Don’t be scared to crouch a little.

We hope this helps you sight, set, and net larger fish! Ask any questions to Gavin: [email protected]