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Thread: In-air mends

  1. #1

    Default In-air mends

    When float fishing on the Arkansas River last week, I needed to make an upstream mend. The on-the-water mend jerked my fly and spooked fish that were near it, so I needed to make an "in-air" mend. I tried a reach cast, which worked some of the time, but I really wanted a mend that would flip a mid-section of the line upstream. Doesn't sound that hard, right?

    Well try as I might, I couldn't do an upstream, in-air mend. Does anyone have iny instructions or hints? Thanks.
    We're all in the same boat. We all come 'ere and we don't know why. We all go in our turn and we don't know where. If you are a bit better off, be thankful. And if you don't get into trouble an' make a fool of yourself, well, be thankful for that,'cos you easily might.--J.B.Priestley

  2. #2
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    Default Re: In-air mends

    Part of the reason why I recommend and use the reach cast so often is because its so easy. In-air mends are a good bit trickier though.

    Try throwing a reach cast, but add in a very minor wrist snap in the reaching motion. Its very easy to overdo, but with some practice it should work pretty well.
    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._1276302_n.jpg

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: In-air mends

    A quantum leap in casting for me came when I realized that the rod was just an extension of my arm and that the line would always go in the same direction I moved my hand.

    Sounds too simple, I know. And that's because it is
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  4. #4
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    Default Re: In-air mends

    Quote Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
    A quantum leap in casting for me came when I realized that the rod was just an extension of my arm and that the line would always go in the same direction I moved my hand.

    Sounds too simple, I know. And that's because it is
    Ah yes, the zen secret to curve casts as well. It often works better when you don't think about the bodily movement required, and just vizualize the flight-path you want the fly to take.
    http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-..._1276302_n.jpg

    I'd rather hunt fish than bait deer any day.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: In-air mends

    Hi Alligator,

    A reach cast is a very good start. When you make your reach you can get more slack by reaching as far as you can and step with the foot on that side toward the reach. Just move the one foot and you will be surprised how much more reach you can get. After the line is on the water you can wiggle out some slack. Now raise the rod tip until the slack is in the air. Drop the rod tip and make a little flip at the same time and the slack line will be tossed up river.

    One problem you may be having is you are trying to mend too much line. The trick is to mend just enough line to give more drift with out throwing the whole line on the water up stream.

    Frank

  6. #6
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    Default Re: In-air mends

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Whiton View Post

    One problem you may be having is you are trying to mend too much line. The trick is to mend just enough line to give more drift with out throwing the whole line on the water up stream.
    Excellent point, Frank! That's something I realized not too long ago, and
    it works very well.

    Zen casting: I've taught my wife how to make basic casts, but the tricky
    stuff is more tricky to teach. I often simply don't think about what I
    do when going beyond a basic cast, and have to cogitate for a while
    before giving any kind of advice or direction. After I videotaped my wife
    casting a couple weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to see myself casting.

  7. #7

    Default Re: In-air mends

    the timing of your upstream mend is critical on technical water, but it's not as crucial as the location of your cast. you already got a very good suggestion about trying to mend less line upstream. often times when we are having trouble with casting and mending, less is more. this is the counter-intuitive nature of fly fishing.

    i have 2 suggestions along these lines:

    first, land your fly further away from your actual target. this will give you more time/space to execute your mend without spooking fish. at least use this "cheat" until you get better at the cast-and-mend. i wouldn't work on an in-air mend beyond the reach cast, myself. i like to take the easiest and quickest path to my desired result. and that's not likely to be it.

    second, work on making your mend immediately upon landing your fly. this requires line control. you have to keep just the right amount of slack in your cast...which is usually not much and certainly no more than absolutely necessary to achieve the mend. the goal here is to execute the mend before your entire fly line gets caught in the surface tension of the water. it doesn't take much mend, as has been previously stated. so this isn't as difficult as you may think.

    personally, i've found this to be the best solution in about 90% of the scenarios in which i've encountered a problem with drag during an upstream drift. the same concept works with a downstream presentation, but the amount of slack and size of mend has to be much greater...so it's harder to do.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: In-air mends

    These guys speak the truth! Cast a little further up stream of the quarry, but not too far, because you will just struggle more. Reach cast with a small sharp flick of the rod tip just as the leader and some line touches the water, but before all the line lands. As the line comes back to you, raise your rod to lift line off the water except for the last few feet. Less line on the water means less force needed to mend. Then throw a big gentle mend. Try not to move the indicator, or fly, when you do this as a fish may be watching your bug. Sometimes if the bug moves funny, it's all over.
    I try to get my mends in at the beginning of the drift, and move it as little as possible during my drift. I then extend the drift to create more "shopping time".


    "A good drift with the wrong fly, is better than a poor drift with the right fly".

  9. #9

    Default Re: In-air mends

    There is another presentation cast worth mentioning for some scenarios like this. If the upstream presentation is just too dad-gum tricky, cut a wide path to the upstream side of the lie and make a pile cast directly upstream of your target to get a dead drift into the feeding lane with no chance of lining the fish.

    The pile cast is easy. Most of us used to do it without trying when we first began trying to cast a fly rod.

    Change the angle of your casting arc: lower the backcast and elevate the forward cast. In other words, "aim high." VERY high...not LONG...HIGH. Now, as you launch your presentation cast (final forward cast), give the rod a wiggle before the line hits the water and drop the rod tip quickly all the way to the water. Again, it doesn't take much "wiggle." Just a quick, subtle shake of the grip and drop the tip to the water/ground.

    This puts nice "S"s of slack into the line and leader (at least the line) that the current will pull out as the fly drifts downstream naturally.

    But you have to be sure to get far enough upstream of the lie so as not to allow fish to see you or be spooked by the casting activity.

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