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Drop Mend Nymphing // Your Secret to Success for Indicator Fishing

Drop Mend Nymphing // Your Secret to Success for Indicator Fishing

Over the years I have had a few fly fishing epiphanies where the light bulb simply "comes on". Everything gets easier when you understand. Less flailing, flogging, and failing. More success, more confidence, less effort. I remember when I learned to Double Haul... by watching, not casting. I can remember when I learned to cross & uncross my hands 3 times during a spey cast. Life changing. I can remember when I learned to deliver a "Drop Mend" while indicator fishing. The latter is perhaps the most significant. It's explained in the video below, but I strongly encourage to take a few minutes and read the text. If you "get it", you'll be far more successful.

If you can execute this mend properly, you'll essentially pivot your strike indicator upstream of your fly, into the SAME SEAMLINE. Please read that twice. You'll also put your nymph(s) down under your strike indicator almost instantly, then you'll be able to gently back mend and hold the indicator at a rate of speed slightly slower than the surface currents and more akin to the speed of the nymphs. Getting your flies to "hang" or "suspend" rather than being tugged along by the indicator.

When to Use This Mend

You'll typically use this mend on longer or water that is pushing pretty hard on the surface.  You'll hear this in the video, but the surface currents are WAY faster than the water your nymph should be hanging in. The advantage is that if you pivot the indicator back, it will allow the fly to drop instantly as if there is no line attached. Indicator floats over it, the nymph hangs under. 

When NOT to Use This Mend

Inside corners or locations that you are casting upstream across slower water, into faster water. If your nymph is landing in current faster than the indicator, that is perfect! We call this a "neutral" drift and it hardly requires a mend at all. This will allow your fly to start dropping with slack line as it catches up with the indicator (which is in slightly slower water). The goal here is to hardly mend at all. If you are in the correct spot, casting at the correct angle, the drift is easy. Things are often tricky so you won't always have this luxury! You'll need this mend.

Quick Hitters

  • You won't need much drop line. I like my indicator to fly distance, about the same as the water depth. As short as you can get, and still getting strikes.
  • Indicator types can vary, I like yarn. I can move it around like a feather.
  • Use this mend to push your setup toward boulders, logs, cliff walls, or that seamline another 2' further away.
  • Start with a single fly, less tangles, learn it, then go doubles.
  • Tungsten Jighead nymphs. No shot, fine control.
  • Light tippet sinks faster, cuts through the water like a razor. This is also helpful if you are trying to ditch the split shot.




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Joe Rotter - May 30, 2023

Bruce, good question. I think we’re talking the same mend here. The indicator is “just part of the line” right, so you mend the indicator as though its the line. The fine nuance and next-level skill kicks in when you can pick your indicator up and drop it in the exact seamline your fly is in so that the indicator isn’t closer to you in a different line of current essentially fighting the fly for control.

Hope this helps, and thanks for the engagment!

Bruce Moore - May 21, 2023

Thanks Joe. Interesting. Does this apply to managing your nymph rig from a drift boat? I can’t count the times I’ve been coached by guides to “mend to the indicator.” Never to “drop mend” the indicator up river. Look forward to trying it.

Michael Gieringer - March 20, 2023

Good video and explanation.

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