"Cast for show, mend for dough!"
This is how one helpful guide put it, spinning it off the old golf saying. You could be the most graceful fly caster in the world, but we slide our poker chips “all in” on a world class mender.
Your casts are in the air. Fish live in the water. Fly fishing is a game of presentation!
The cold hard truth is, 20% of the anglers catch 80% of the fish. Many of the other 80% of anglers are skilled casters, but have overlooked the importance of mending.
Learning how to mend properly is what separates the boys and girls from the men and women in fly fishing. It’s a fundamental skill that will help you smash through the learning curve from a beginner to intermediate and beyond.
Many fly fishermen fail to understand the why behind the mend. Why should I move my line while it’s in the water - won’t that make my presentation worse than if I don’t touch it???
While the logic of the mend might sound counterintuitive, you must put yourself into the fish's fins. Fish spend 24/7 (yes, they don’t even sleep!) doing one thing and one thing only - looking for food and eating it. What if you had practiced a skill for that long? You would be pretty incredible at it, right?
Well, that perfectly describes the challenge of catching a trout - they are picky and most of them can decipher between the tiniest of details of what to and what not to eat. And if you’re fishing at the same river as everyone else, using the same local-fly-shop-recommended flies, then it’s all going to come down to a game of presentation. That fish has seen your Copper John before!