mending the line

When I started out swinging flies with a spey rod, my cast wasn’t great.  In fact, it pretty much sucked.  But, because mending the line with the spey is pretty easy (think length), I was able to turn a bad cast into a great cast.

After I piled my crappy cast out there, I only needed to pick up and turn over a big mend to set my fly up for the slot just downstream.

You don’t need a spey rod to make a good mend.  Today’s fly fishing tip will quickly walk you through the mend.

Straightening your line is one big benefit of mending.  There are crazy currents out there that will affect how well your fly swings across the current.  Mending also slows down your fly, and gets it to the fish.

As the fly swings across, the current can grab the fly line and pull it into a downstream belly – This is usually not a good thing.

It is this belly that pulls your fly faster than you would usually want.  Making a mend puts your fly back to the speed of the water.  Here’s a quick video that shows you how easy it is.

These two things, getting your fly setup and controlling the speed, are two major reasons that you’ll make a mend with many of your swung fly presentations.

Here’s how you do it –   After making your cast, just pick up the rod tip 2-3’ and drop it over to the upstream side 2-3’.  Pick the tip up higher and/or drop the tip farther upstream, to make a larger mend.  After complete, drop your tip back down an get ready for the pull.

There are times when you will mix it up – do a downstream mend, do multiple mends, not mend, etc.  That’s fishing!  But, the typical mend I describe here is what you’ll be doing the majority of time to get your fly in position for the fish to hit.


One nice big mend when swinging flies can be super helpful in presenting the fly properly to the fish.  Mending the line slows your fly and puts it in the striking zone for steelhead.  Click on the button below to find additional tips to hook more fish.



  1. Dave, another type of mend that can be used to counteract drag is to mend the line in the air. As the line is cast, quickly do an upstream wrist roll so that the line will land in a mended position on the water. D. Stew

    • Great tip! The challenge for some is just getting the line out there at the distance they need at times. In these situations, and when you pile a bad cast, you can always adjust once the line hits the water with a mend. Thanks for the share.

  2. Great tip Dave, as someone new to flyfishing this is going to come in handy reading this now is going to help me no end.

    Glad I found this blog, looks like it’s packed with top notch info specific to flyfishing.


    • Yeah Phil. The cool things about this site is that it applies to many different types of fish species, not just steelhead. Case in point is atlantic salmon. The techniques for steelhead and salmon are very similar. In fact, I’ve been connecting with a bunch of folks from the UK this year. Let me know any time you have a question.