Mending is one of the most important steps when Nymphing a run for trout. We see a lot of anglers coming and going each year and now matter how experienced a fishermen they are, mending is always something that we work on. Nine times out of ten we are Nymphing during guide trips and in order to sink your flies right of the bat you need to slow your fly line down. The first mend is the most important mend and if done correctly you will not effect your drift. Here are a few tips on mending for nymph fishing.
What I suggest people do is do not try to make your mend as soon as the line hits the water. Allow the line to begin it’s drift and give yourself time to set-up for the mend. I prefer a stack mend (especially in deeper water) as my first mend. To complete this I simply raise my rod tip as the line is traveling down stream, once I have enough slack I perform a half of a roll cast to place my slack line above my indicator. This keeps my indicator in the same area I cast to and does not drag it out of the zone I am fishing, it also quickly sinks my flies.
Keep some slack line in your hand to work with. If we mend with a lot of tension on the line we are going to move our flies. A little slack in the line allows the flies and line to drift freely with the current providing us with a drag free drift, which is exactly what we want. Have busy hands, if you feel like you have too much line out strip some in, but not so much where you are going to put a ton of tension on your bobber. If you feel like you can continue your drift down stream, feed your drift some line. Working with more fly line (slack) in your hand will allow you to manipulate your drift much easier.
Very important to follow your indicator with your rod tip as it travels down the run you are nymphing. A lot of anglers keep their rod tip upstream after them mend, which causes a couple of problems. By keeping your rod tips up stream after mending you are going to put tension on your flies which causes them to swing through the water column. Keeping your fly rod upstream of you indicator also prohibits you from setting the hook in a down stream manner. So remember after your initial mend be sure to follow your bobber all the way through the drift.
If we are making a long drift your fly line is naturally going to out run your set-up down stream. It is ok to mend again. I call this managing your slack. If you have a good drag free drift going, chances are that you have some fly line on the surface. If this fly line starts to get below your bobber mend again. If you have fished with me you have heard me say “Mend your slack.” All this means is gently raise your rod tip and get your slack line above/even with your bobber.
Remember if you do not mend it they do not bend it.