Saturday, 28 July 2012

Mend it!

The weather is on the change, and after a good week-long spell of hot, still weather, the forecast is for some rain. Not such a huge problem; hopefully any colour will dissipate quickly and allow us to get on with the fishing. Interestingly, the surface acticity has been limited, but as the humidity started to rise, so did the fish's interest in looking up. As ever, with high temperatures, you're far better off targetting the last couple of hours of light and hanging on until darkness falls.

Once the light goes, the fish will increase in confidence and drop back into the tails of many pools. However, before then, it is essesntial to concentrate on the foam lines and edges of the slack water areas. Often the fish will sit in these low flow areas waiting for their food to be delivered along the foam lines and to congregate in the back eddies. Fish feeding in these lies are often a tricky proposition. Casting across fast water into these slower areas is an invitation for a dragging fly and poor presentation. Therefore it pays to think carefully about how to cast to these fish.

Look at this scenario from the other evening. With very few other rises, a fish feeding in this back eddy was the target.

The arrow shows the direction and position of the main flow. The circle locates the feeding area of the fish. A tricky but perfectly possible fish, but a careful cast is required. You could consider an even more square apprroach, but a very high bank would mean any useful cover was lost. You can see this on the picture below:

Approaching from the high bank would blow your cover

So this calls for a careful aerial mend to be made. This is a movement of the rod tip (and hence the line) that occurs after the rod tip has stopped in the forward cast, respositioning the line. This must be done before the line hits the water. If you were to wait and mend the line on the water, your fly would be dragged out of the feeding zone.

So what movement? Imagine you have made the forward cast: immediately after the  rod tip stops, you simply draw a 'C' shape in the air and your line will follow. The bigger the 'C' shape drawn, the bigger the mend. Worth practising first before you're faced with the situation. See the picture below- the curved line shows the position of the line after the mend has been made. The current will take up the slack, leaving your fly in the killing zone for longer.

The curved line shows the position of the mended fly line

Of course, if you were approaching the same issues from the other bank,the mend can be reversed where required by simple drawing a reversed 'C' shape. 

The result of some thoughtful and careful presentation. Small perhaps, but worth the considerate approach on a tough evening:

Being able to adapt your casts and improve presentation is an essential part of success. Slack line presentations also help and I'll look at more of those in the future.


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