The dry fly fishing has been great on some of our favorite high country creeks and rivers. In many places, it’s peak terrestrial season, when we get to splash beetles and hoppers tight to the banks. When fishing in these situations, we find ourselves often using a reach cast, or aerial mend.
It may take a little practice. But when fishing terrestrials, and in many other fly fishing situations, this can be a perfect technique. Here are a few tips on when to use a reach cast, plus a quick video from Davis to show you how:
When to Use an Aerial Mend
Imagine you’re fishing a hopper or beetle pattern to trout holding beneath an undercut bank. Drifting your fly right along the grass or brush would be ideal. After making your cast, you mend the line, lifting it to the upstream side of your fly so that you get a drag-free, natural drift. However, the mending process pulls your hopper away from the bank – not where you want it.
Here’s where you can use a reach cast – which is basically an aerial mend. By reaching your rod hand upstream at the end of your forward cast, you’ll cause the line to land with an “L” shape on the water, your fly already downstream from the rest of your line. This allows your fly to drift naturally and without drag – at least for a time – without having to mend. Using this technique, you can plop your fly down right next to the bank and leave it to drift perfectly along the edge. In addition to wading, this works well from a drift boat.
We also find it helpful to use a reach cast when fishing small creeks and pocket water situations. In these waters, trout will often hold in very small pockets, where there’s hardly any time to mend – and when you do mend, you might pull your fly right out of the zone. Using an aerial mend, you can hit these small targets and allow your fly to drift through them drag-free.
How to Practice the Reach Cast
To help demonstrate the technique, Davis recently spent some time on the water to film a quick video tutorial. Check it out, as he shows us how it’s done:
If you have questions or need any help, feel free to come see us at the fly shop. For more helpful content, you can also check out our YouTube channel. Be sure and subscribe! Also, let us know what topics would be helpful to cover in the future.
We continue to offer fast, free shipping on all orders from AnglersAll.com as well as curbside pick up, here at the fly shop. The shop is open, and in keeping with COVID-19 safety guidelines, we’re limiting the number of customers in the shop at one time, as well as cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. Your safety is important to us and we hope you’re finding some great adventures out on the water this summer!