Mending is one of the small concerns, like taking line out for first cast, that you push away of your mind, thinking it is of very low-interest.
In fact, everybody thinks that mending is as simple as moving the body of the line away for a drag-less fly. So we let the line land and use the suction to create a loop and move the line on a curve path. Everybody gets his rod up. The line comes back and the fly goes up. If it is a wet fly, it goes directly to the surface and you are not fishing anymore. If it is a dry one, it drags, it soaks and you’re not fishing anymore.
My version of mending is quite different. The goal of this mending is to set the fly in the natural direction. No baits swims across current, it could certainly dart away but won’t travel far outside of current line. As the fly follows the path of line and leader, cast is of uttermost importance and spey is the solution. Let say I’m in the basic stance ( right-handed, upper stream at my left and down stream at my right), a single spey will place the fly perfectly upstream of me while double spey will present the fly for downstream. This huge change in casting angle will help the mending in most situations. The main difference is the displacement of the origin of the cast. Another problem spey cast will solve easily is a parallel presentation, just cast longer and you’ll get a narrower angle.
It is one of the most underestimated advantage of spey casting, it gives you more options of presentation than overhead.
You certainly know, and if you don’t let say it now, I hate any of these stupid casts of fair field: parachute cast, a too high cast with a name, the reach cast or how to shoot around a corner and the worst of them, the pile cast. Could you believe that I Have read an article from a very well know ambassador of fly fishing explaining the interests of this rotted cast. How is it possible that piling the leader in front of the fly could help. One of the only DVD on one hand spey casting shows the instructor missing trout over trout with a bad serpentine cast. Just for fun, I add a video from another of my movies where you can see the perfect hooking. I prepare and hook, the line is completely straight and there is direct contact with the fish.Like triple loop single spey, all these are for show up and the only one which can have a reason to exist is the cast with mending.
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That’s the theory ablaze with some proselytizing. In reality we all make bad casts that mending could save. One big rocks and there are counter currents which require corrections. You need to reach the opposite shore and let the fly sinks down. Mending is one of a good technic to master but in the right manner.The good mending starts in the reel not at the fly. It’s exactly what I show in “Good start“, you want to add line but without moving the fly. So you must get the line out of the water and as soon as you feel the tension, you push the line still in your rod. At the beginning, you just tear out the line from the water, it is easy and you know the feeling as you do it each time you start a spey cast. Then when the line is up, you must feel the tension to the leader in the water . If you continue to lift, the fly will come back. That’s exactly the timing to turn the rod and let the line going out. Yes it’s not easy but what is easy in life?
The other solution that I love but which is certainly as difficult as this one is to turn the line during the cast. I must agree that it is a prequel of the reach cast but the goal is clearly said. The line must form a nice curve just before landing. Turn the tip of the rod in the right direction and the leader will turn. It is as easy as that… the only problem is the timing as usual.