Cast and mending?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by freestoneangler, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,967
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +706 / 1
    When fishing the Queets several years ago with Steve Buckner, he stressed line mending and management while I fished with my single hand 9 wt rod. I was not into spey fishing then, but he did spend an hour or so during our lunch break to show me the basics -- but again, lots of mending to keep the fly moving slow and near the bottom (this is when I realized spey rods were the cats meow -- nearly casted my shoulder into rehab that day on my single hand rod!).

    More recently this past October on the Klickitat with Jack Mitchell, I spent 1/2 day swinging flies on pretty similar water (speed/depth). Jack had me casting straight across or slightly downstream, but said "let it just swing" -- no mending. That night, while sipping some spirits at the lodge and discussing the day, he gave me the impression that too much emphasis is placed on mending line. I had a short take that rip my loop out of my hand...but I lifted the rod (even after he beat me senseless about not doing so) and no connection. OK though, cause that was the event that recently cost me $600 in new gear:cool:

    Being a spey-noob, I'm just curious what the forum has to say about the difference in line management. Both Steve and Jack are awesome guides and know their craft well... but just wondering.

  2. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Sometimes you need to mend and sometimes you don't--depends on the water. I do agree that a lot of people mend too much when it's not neccassary. Kinda like the impulse to cast 80 ft when the fish are 15 feet out. Having said that, many people don't mend enough. My suggestion is: rather than worrying about how much mend is good a mend, I'd focus on what the fly needs to be doing and let the neccessity of the mend follow that. Wonderful water is where the flow and seam swing the fly for you perfectly and you don't need to manipulate a thing.
  3. Cougar97 Member

    Posts: 114
    Spokane Washington
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    There is no right or wrong way, having said that summer run fish will generally move farther to a fly than a winter run fish , this is most often is dictated by water temp, as a general rule as the water temp goes down below mid 40's fish get a little more lethargic. So..... in the summer/fall fish generally are a little more active therefore the speed of the drift may not be a critical as in the winter where the fish are lower in the water column and the need to keep the fly in front of them for a longer period of time to induce a strike is important. Next time you fish a favorite run, put a dry fly on and let it swing, it will give you a pretty good idea how fast the fly under the water is traveling, play around with the mend and see how it affects the speed of the fly, also watch how the mend affects the motion of the fly, many fly guys will tell you constant mending make the fly dart around which some believe turns the fish off. I don't have position either way, make a good cast and hang on, in the end if the fish is player you be rewarded.

    Tight Lines,
  4. steve s Member

    Posts: 442
    Issaquah, Washington
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    When winter fishing, I generally throw a reach mend just after my forward cast, while the line is still in the air. Usually, that is the only mend that is needed during the entire swing. If I'm casting across multiple speeds of current, I may need to throw a mend into my running line to keep it straight, insuring that there is no slack between me and my fly. I also think that to mend or not to mend can be decided on your mending skill. If you are able to throw an upstream mend in the running line without affecting the shooting head and sinktip, you shouldn't really have much of an issue. But, if when mending, you are pulling on the head and sinktip, this will keep your fly from getting as deep because you will keep pulling the fly up in the water column. Another issue that I have with throwing too many mends into your swing is that you lose touch with the fly during the swing because of the slack that you are throwing/mending into the line. Not sure if that makes too much sense I can usually get away with just the reach mend that is thrown into the end of my cast.
  5. Ryan Buccola I ain't broke but brother I am badly bent

    Posts: 230
    Bend Oregon
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Every cast is different, alot of guys just autmatically mend (almost out of habit)'s like putting pepper and salt on your food...taste it first! Also when mending it's my belief that i want to correct the position of the shooting head in relation to the current (either being pushed or nor swinging) not acutually moving the fly. Almost more like a lift and set not a yank and rod tip to the water....just my thoughts.
  6. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I rarely mend more than once, if at all. But a lot depends on the water. Well thought out, strategic casts don't usually need mending.
  7. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    You seem like you know what you're doing based on your past posts, but this statement is crazy. You're saying a perfectly placed cast and single mend is all you need? You step on yourself by saying, "but it all depends on the water." This is a total contradiction and bad advice for someone looking for it. In most situation you have to mend, usually more than once, depending on the water, but sometimes, depending on the water, you don't have to mend much, if at all.
  8. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,472
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,615 / 0

    IMO it depends. I've read a lot about anglers mending too much and guides telling clients to mend once or not at all. I don't know if that's because mending too little is better than mending too much in those cases.

    I mend as much as necessary. I identify best with Pan's statement, including the one above regarding Spaz's post. I mend upstream, as many times as necessary, or not at all, or even mend downstream, or in less frequent scenarios I'll mend the outer part of the line upstream and the close in line downstream. It's about managing the line to control the swing of the fly. If you're unsure, I think Cougar97 offers a good suggestion. Use a floating line and large dry fly. Watch the end of the line and the fly and manage the line so that the fly makes a good swing. If you make a lot of different types of swings, at some point it should become self evident what a good swing looks like.

    I don't understand the remarks about mending moving the fly or losing touch with the fly. If that happens, that's not mending in my book, but rather poor line management. Mending a fly line on the water to achieve the desired drift or swing ain't rocket science, but it does require paying a little attention to it.

  9. Wayne Kohan fish-ician

    Posts: 1,020
    TriCities, WA
    Ratings: +96 / 0
    Funny, as I was out fishing yesterday I was thinking about posting this same sort of question. But as I was out there fishing, the answer seemed to come to me. With a sinktip, I tend to cast straight out, and use the mend to set the fly downstream of the line and get the fly to sink. After that, I don't think you can mend your whole line without moving the fly. I can mend the running line, but there is no way one can mend the skagit head without affecting the fly. I can also affect the drift by where I hold my rod tip and will do that. Perhaps it is better to move the fly in the middle of the swing to allow it to get to a better position later in the swing. But there is no way I can mend and move the skagit head with the running line out a ways. And no way to do it without moving the fly. Just my opinion, and I don't pretend to be an expert. (Although I did whack myself in the back with the fly yesterday and managed to tie it around my pack in an improved clinch knot. I'd like to see you guys try that.)

  10. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,115
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
    As do I. Thought being ... get the fly down stream before the line/leader/sink tip. Simple question .. what do you want the fish to see first?
  11. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,967
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +706 / 1
    Jack Mitchell did talk about setting up the fly to fish broadside using mends, but he seemed to believe more damage is done to the drift while mending than benefit. Perhaps that could be what he tells noobs with limited skills? He also seemed to feel more takes happen in the final 1/3 of the swing when the line begins to straighten and speed up the fly. The few times I added a mend following the cast (natural reaction), he instructed me not to (did I also mention he told me not to LIFT THE ROD :beathead:)

    Like most of us, I mend alot when conventional nymphing with strike indicators -- mostly to minimize drag and create a dead drift. It seems to me that spey fishing relies more on letting the current simply drag the fly through the water and using various line lengths and sink rates to manage the depth. I would agree on the colder, deeper/slower warmer, shallower/faster approach -- that seems to always hold true.

    I guess this will all be part of my learning curve and experimentation. From the responses thus far, it would seem the verdict is pretty much split.

  12. DocDoc Member

    Posts: 121
    Walla Walla, WA, United States.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Peter Charles has a nice discussion on his site ( add a w and paste into your browser) about feeding the fly to the fish before leader or line arrives. Peter is using sinking lines in cold water. Any mending has to be with a reach or very soon after lending. Presentation is controlled more by angle of cast and tension on the sinking line. For sink tips, there is more need to mend, as the floating section is moved downstream faster than the sunk tip. It is remarkable how much the swing slows as you get below the surface.
  13. ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Posts: 3,209
    Eagle River, Alaska
    Ratings: +112 / 0
    I've found mending to be crucial when swinging woolly buggers for trout, I was guiding a group who for some reason couldn't mend right, If I tried to show them a proper mend I'd hook a fish immediately, which was annoying, because they still couldn't figure it out.
  14. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Wow, great insights Monkey. Yet another ego driven worthless post.
  15. Leroy Laviolet Aint no nookie like chinookie

    Posts: 995
    do'n it 4 the chinookie
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Agreed dude...:rofl:
  16. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I do know what I'm doing, Pan, thanks for noticing. (wink)
    I am willing to mend if necessary, it does depend on the water. There's places where you need to mend, and places where you don't. And places where you could but don't have to.

    Scott O'Donnell told me most guys these days are "automenders", fixing bad casts with excessive line manipulation afterwards. I went on a trip with him a little over a year ago, and you probably know him, it's a mini skagit boot camp. He gave me a lot of shit about mending so much, and he turned out to be right. Changed my fishing for the better. Made me totally rethink the way I approach the water and the casts to cover it.

    Most guys are casting too close to 90 degrees across current, which forces you to mend, casting unnecessarily long, which forces you to mend, or casting from a lousy position in conflicting or unfavorable currents, which forces you to mend. Fishing strategically and working the near seam has almost eliminated excessive mending from my fishing, and increased my catch rate too. I'm placing the fly better than I did before. I like to fish in an upstream breeze. I'll take a lie from a carefully considered spot so the line can sweep sweetly through. There's lots of tricks. Would it make you feel better if I said it this way...I don't mend anywhere near as much as I used to. But I still need to now and then, I have to mend line on every outing, but certainly not on every or even most casts. Some water may demand that, it does depend on the water. I hardly have to mend on the Cowlitz, hardly ever. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
    Here's one from NewYear's day. A nice curve cast placed the fly at 60 degrees to current, swung the seam without a touch of mending, and got hammered on the way out of the seam.
    View attachment 28117
    regards, Bob
  17. Panhandle Active Member

    Posts: 4,103
    Selkirk Mountains, Idaho Panhandle
    Ratings: +23 / 0
    Much better :)
  18. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    hey, I'm here to please, man.

    sometimes the short version invites misinterpretation.
    I should have explained better.
  19. Richard Torres Active Member

    Posts: 1,350
    Mill Creek
    Ratings: +76 / 0
    Steve has hit it spot on.
    There is nothing more frustrating than having your fly taken out of a dead drift because your line is arcing downstream due to a faster current seam.
  20. SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

    Posts: 1,827
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    I think you're headed the right way, Wayne. This is next level stuff.
    How much mending would you need if you turned your body more downstream, cast out at 60 degrees intead of 90 degrees to the current, and threw your mend while the line was in midair or just as the tip touches down, then follow the belly down and begin to lead the line with your rod tip in the last half of the swing? I bet if you tried that at a spot like the one you were at, the lights would come on! Plus,if you keep your tip up, holding more line off the water, there's less line to belly on you. Many of the Jedi hold their rods high, instead of holding a drop loop with a low tip. This way they still have slack, but gain the added benefit of having less running line on the water. This doesn't mean you won't have to mend on occasion, but you'll be surprised at how much mending you can eliminate and still achieve a nice, slow, controlled swing.
    I picked that tip up from Scott O'Donnell too, and from watching Mike Kinney.