What is Mending the Line in Fly Fishing?

If you are somewhat new to fly fishing you may or may not have heard of the term mending or mending your fly line before, but what does it mean and how do you do it?

So, what is mending the line in fly fishing? Mending the line in fly fishing is an important technique used to prevent the fly from being dragged downstream by the line and current, which causes your fly presentation to look unnatural and less appealing to fish.

Mending the line is generally performed by lifting your fly line up and placing it above your fly, allowing your fly to drift downstream without a drag.

In this article I’ll explain more in-depth what mending your line means and how to effectively do it, so that you can have a better fly fishing presentation and ultimately catch more fish in the process.  

Let’s get started.

What is Mending in Fly Fishing?

Mending your fly fishing line is all about creating a drag free or natural drift. When you make a cast in a river or creek with current your indicator or line tends to get ahead of your flies causing them to drag.

Having a drag when your flies drift down stream can be problematic. Your flies will look unnatural in the current and fish will be less interested in your presentation making them un likely to take your flies. In other words, if you want to catch fish having a natural, drag-free presentation is key.  

So you may be asking yourself, how can I prevent my flies from dragging? And how can I get a more natural drift? This can be accomplished by mending your fly fishing line on each cast.

Let’s talk more about how you can effectively mend your fly line and discuss some fly line mending tips and tricks.

How to Mend a Fly Line

Mending your fly line is a simple technique but there is a right and wrong way to do it. Below is a video that properly demonstrates how to correctly mend your line in the different fishing situations you may be faced with.

Keep in mind that there are a few different ways you can mend you line and each has a time and a place.

Fly Line Mending Tips

A drag free drift is something that all fly fishermen strive for and one that will help you catch a lot more fish. There is something about a perfect drift that the fish seem to love.

Here are some mending tips to keep in mind as you go after that perfect drift:

Don’t Wait too Long to Mend – On most casts a fly angler should make their first mend within a second or two of the fly hitting the water. This will set you up for success from the get-go and will eliminate the need for more mending.

Make Short Casts – If you are new to mending try using shorter casts. Longer casts, mean more line is in the water, which makes it harder to control. Long casts can be effective but can also make mending your line difficult, especially in faster water. If you want a better drift that is more manageable try shorting your casts, at least to start.

Use Multiple Mends – Some casts may require you to use multiple mends and even switch up the direction depending on the current. Make sure to always watch your line and mend as many times as needed.

For more tips on mending your fly line check out this article: 8 Common Fly Fishing Mistakes. They provide some great information on mistakes you should avoid.

How Do You Mend a Stack?

What is stack mending in fly fishing? Stack mending if a fly fishing technique that is utilized when the flows are high and you are fishing an indicator in heavier current.

Fly stacking is all about slowing your drift down so that your flies are able to get down deeper where the fish are and it gives them a nice natural presentation, which is what you are after.  

Stack mending is typically performed by getting slack line above your indicator upstream. Here is a video that demonstrates how to perform this technique.

Fly Fishing Questions (FAQ)

Is it better to fly fish upstream or downstream? Fly fishing is all about effectively presenting your flies through natural drifts. Creating a natural drift is performed much easier when fly fishing upstream.

This allows you to use the current to your advantage and remain less detectable to the fish.

However, you can also fly fish downstream but it will be a little more challenging but can be done.

How can I get better at fly fishing? ­– Fly fishing isn’t easy it takes time and practice to be able to get the hang out it. I know when I was just starting out I was overwhelmed with all of the gear, terminology and techniques I needed to know.

What I learned was the best way to get better at fly fishing was to keep practicing and learning from other fly fishermen.

I would go out with them and have them teach me how to cast, tie and present the fly to the fish etc. When they weren’t available I would do my own research on YouTube and another online resource and then I would go out and practice what I had learned.

Final Thoughts

Understanding what a mend is and how to mend your fly fishing line is super important if you want to have success out on the river.

Mending your line will allow you create better drifts resulting in a more natural presentation that will ultimately increase your chances of having catching fishing and having success out on the water.

Best of luck out there

Tight Lines!

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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