Mend Like a Pro

By Kirk Deeter In golf, they say, “You drive for show and putt for dough.” The same is true in flyfishing for trout, except the drive is your cast, and the putt is your drift. It doesn’t matter how you get it there, but once that fly lands on (or in) the water it has to look perfect. The key to the perfect drift is mending your line: basically, keeping your fly line upstream of your dry fly (or strike indicator when you are nymph fishing). Once the fly line gets downstream of the fly or indicator, it will grab the current and cause the fly to drag. Usually that’s game over, and you lose. An ideal “mend” involves lifting the fly line from downstream and placing it upstream, without moving the fly or strike indicator. The most common mistake, even among people who understand the importance of mending, is getting herky-jerky and trying to whip the line with the rod from chest level. Wiggling your flies around for the sake of mending defeats the entire purpose. STEP 1 width=60 **** Lift: Fly rods are built 8 feet long and over for a reason. When you start the mend, lift the rod tip just high enough to pick the fly line off the water, but not so high that you disturb the leader. STEP 2 width=51 Swing: With your rod tip straight up, swing it across your face from downstream to upstream. STEP 3 width=215 Place: Gently lay down your line to the upstream side of your fly or indicator. Sometimes, in faster water, you might want to “kick” that rod over with more force.