June 16th, 2008

Controlled Slack Two
By James Castwell

A little while ago I wrote about some of the things you can do to control your slack as you make a cast. This time let's look at a few things after you have presented your cast. I suppose this might also be called mending your line, or just plain mending. Whatever, it is how to control your fly line and your slack after the cast. Here, no control equals no fish, or probably no fish. Sometimes they might swallow it.

Let's start with a medium sized stream flowing from your left to your right. You are pitching a dry fly quartering upstream. You have a fish rising across from you, right straight across from you. Dry fly size twelve, five X leader. If you cast just above the rise your line will start to pull down stream from the middle. Your fly will drag way too soon. You must cast quartering up stream.

So you do. But now you will have your line pulling down from the middle again … unless.

Unless you throw a mend into it. Here is one way I like to use. Right after I have made a nice straight presentation, perhaps even a bit of a recoil cast, I will raise my rod tip up, straight up and allow fly line to slip thru the guides as I do it. Then pinching the line with my left hand, give a sharp little roll of the rod, throwing a loop of line out into the water, just part way across. This gives the stream something to fiddle with as the fly drifts draglessly down to the riser.

After he refuses my fly for any of a thousand reasons, I like to use a horizontal pick up and fire the cast right back quartering upstream again.. The little half of a roll cast is called a mend. It is just another method of controlling your slack. It gives your fly time to float over the fish without the little waves in the surface. There may be times when you need to cast farther upstream and pitch two or three little mends into your drift. Whatever it takes, no two situations are the same.

There is a more aggressive mend you might need to practice but it can be a dandy when you need it. This is when you are fishing a fly down from an indicator. Often this works best when the fly is a bit on the heavy side and the indicator is not.

After you have made the quartering upstream cast pull back letting line again slip through the rod and make a half roll cast just hard enough to flip the indicator up and out but not moving the fly in any way. This gives the fly more time to sink and drift along before the current starts it on a swing. Again, with this method you can, if given the right amount of room and a clear stream edge, literally walk down stream and keep your fly deep.

I'm sure there are many more examples of mending, in fact I know there are, but I think you get the general idea. To improve your fly fishing you should learn more and more about line control, before, during and after the presentation. For a real treat sometime, find a place where you can try these out or just practice them. No fishing. Just practice. It will pay off in the long run. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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