Video Pro Tips: How to Make an Overhead Mend

Winter is a great time to work on your technical nymphing game. Having to use smaller flies and thinner tippets can create multiple challenges, not the least of which is getting a size 20 nymph down into the strike zone–and keeping it there throughout your drift–without having to add excessive split shot. Believe it or not, your mending technique has as much effect on the depth of your nymphs as the weight you add, since improper mending can lift nymphs off the bottom. 

In this classic video from Red’s Fly Shop, Joe Rotter demonstrates a mending technique he calls the “overhead mend”, which avoids applying tension to the flies and pulling them toward the surface like traditional mends can. The first demonstration goes by a little quickly–it looks more like a second follow-up cast than a mend–but fortunately it’s followed by a slow-motion replay beginning at 2:15 that clearly shows exactly what he’s doing. I use overhead mends frequently here on Colorado tailwaters and I can confirm that they’re an effective and under-rated tool for fishing very small nymphs with less weight.  

Note the high angle of the rod during the mend, and the loop of slack line traveling down toward the indicator on the right.

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