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Fly Fishing Mending Techniques

Fly Fishing Mending Techniques

Learn how to achieve a good upstream mend with these five different techniques. Optimally, the mending goal is to keep the line, leader and fly in a straight line. Learn more in this section.

Fly Mending Techniques

To achieve a good upstream mend, you’ve got to throw a certain portion of your line upstream of your fly. But getting your line to move up and down the river is harder than it sounds; most beginners end up dragging their flies underwater during the mend. To avoid this, you must lift the part of the fly line that you want to mend off the water, leaving the un-mended portion of the line on the water. There are five keys to good fly line mending:

  1. Mend as soon as the fly touches down, before the line has time to bond to the water’s surface. This will help you avoid dragging your fly under.
  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.

As you fish out a cast, constantly watch the fly and line position. As the fish's relationship to the line changes, correct the line by mending it in the appropriate direction. Optimally, the mending goal is to keep the line, leader and fly in a straight line. Mending retains this straight alignment.

Visit our next section to learn more about fly fishing knots.