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What’s with all the mending?

Fly Fishing – Mending the line

Guides feel like they say it all day, anglers feel like it’s all they hear. “Mend, mend, mend, long pause, mend again, mend it.” What’s with all the mending?  Let’s break it down.

Why do you have to mend the fly line?

When fishing out of a drift boat or wade fishing while using dry flies or nymphs if you don’t mend your line your flies are going to drag in the water.  Drag is a “four letter word” in fly fishing, it’s simply when your flies are moving faster or slower than the river current.  As soon as your flies are dragging the fish know they aren’t real and you are less likely to catch a fish.  To eliminate drag on your flies simply mend.

How do you mend your fly line?

Our head guide, Jaason Pruett, explains it best, simply “jump the rope”.  If you’ve ever swung a jump rope with another person so someone can jump in the middle, then you already know how to mend.  Here’s how to do it. Simply lift your rod tip toward the sky to break the surface tension between your fly line and the water, then, “jump the rope” by rolling your fly line upstream. Don’t worry you are going to get a lot of practice, because just a few seconds after your first mend, try to beat your guide from saying it and mend again.

The Results

So what is the benefit for all this hard work?  The key here is keeping your flies in the water.  My friend Andy says “Let them soak”, the more your flies are in the water, (due to effective mending) the better chance you have of a fish coming after them. I often tell my clients that mending is way more important than casting.  I’ve never had anyone catch a fish with their flies in the air so keep the casting to a minimum and mending to the maximum and you’ll catch more fish.

Here’s a great video from our friends at Orvis on why and how to “Mend it”

See All Orvis Learning Center Fly Fishing Video Lessons