photo by Eric DeWitt
Mending is a skill that most novice anglers struggle to understand, but even experienced fly fishermen can find mending difficult. The only way to get good at it is to practice on the water, dealing with currents of different speeds. Your fly will tell you if you’re doing it right: a long dead-drift is a sure sign of successful mending, while a “motorboating” fly dragging across the surface points to some problems. Here are 5 steps to good mending:
1. Mend as soon as the fly touches down. Once the line settles on the water, it bonds to the water’s surface. If you try to move the line after it has bonded, you will create tension on the line that might drag your fly underwater.
2. Begin the mend with your rod tip close to the surface of the water. If you have a bunch of slack hanging from your rod tip, all you’ll end up moving is the slack, not the line on the water. You may have to make a couple of quick strips to pick up this slack before you mend.
3. The hinging point, where the mended line meets the unmended line, should occur at the seam between the different speed currents. If you don’t mend enough line, the current will cause the line to drag the fly; if you mend too much line, you can accidentally pull your fly out of the trout’s feeding lane.
4. Lift your rod tip high, even over your head, during the mend. This will allow you to pick up more line and to avoid dragging the line across the water.
5. Mend with authority. A half-hearted mend rarely moves enough line. You’ll probably over-mend the first few times—accidentally throwing your fly upstream with the line—but with some practice, you’ll learn just how much power is needed to move the line you want to move without disturbing the fly.