Video Pro Tips: Mending with Purpose

Written by: Derek Botchford and Steve Morrow, Epic Waters Angling

Epic Waters Angling and Orvis have teamed up to create a steelheading miniseries. Using the latest Orvis prototypes, the clips are specifically catered to small-stream tactics. After a busy season of guiding, Derek Botchford and Steve Morrow set out to deliver viewers techniques that are designed to elevate the game of steelhead anglers from the west to the Great Lakes.

When you’re learning to fly fish, one of the first skills you’re taught is mending, which is a game-changer. There’s life before mending and life after. Once you discover the skill of slowing or speeding-up your line during the swing, you immediately become a more efficient angler.

Problems arise, however, when you start overusing your new skill. Some angler start to think that, if one mend is so effective, ten mends must be even more effective. Wrong.

Don’t mend just to mend. Mend with purpose.

This situation calls for an upstream mend to slow the fly down.

Upstream mends slow your presentation down. If you have a specific lie that’s slower that the surrounding water, an upstream mend can help keep your fly in the strike zone longer. In uniform heavy current, an upstream mend will reposition the line to minimize the formation of a belly and keep your fly from racing through the lie.

Downstream mending is to speed your presentation up. Creating a belly works best where there is not enough current to reach a desired lie. Commonly, a downstream mend is used to fish a soft hangdown. It is not used to speed up the time your swing takes because you’re bored!

Knowing when not to mend is equally important. If the line is swinging from bank to bank without excessive speed or without stalling out, then no mend is needed. Doing so will impact the swing negatively and is totally unnecessary.

Remember: Before you present your fly, analyze the current and make a conscious decision to mend or not. Turn off your autopilot. For your guide’s sanity and yours.

See all 15 videos in this series on the
Orvis Fly Fishing Learning Center.

4 thoughts on “Video Pro Tips: Mending with Purpose”

  1. Hi! Is there a problem with the video transmission of this Steelhead/Spey series? I’ve tried accessing a few of the sessions and they all run for 1-2 seconds then stop for 5-6-10 seconds to load the next 1-2 seconds of content.
    These interruptions really make it difficult to view and understand the presentations.
    I have not observed this problem with any other of the videos on the Orvis site, so I conclude that it must be a problem with the production by Epic Waters Angling.
    Any chance of getting this corrected?


    1. Hi Peter, Sorry you’re having this problem. We have not experienced this, nor have we heard about it from anyone else. I will share your feedback with the developers.


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