Having trouble presenting to those subtle rises on those long, glassy pools? Spooking fish as your leader falls to the surface? Now you wont.. Read on
Reach casts (or more correctly, reach mends) are ITA mends, in that the mend is performed while the line is In The Air rather than after it lands On The Water (OTW), ensuring your cast lands 'ready to fish' without disturbing the water, your drift, or your fish.
While reach mends are used mostly for creating, or negating drag over multiple currents an often overlooked use is employed regularly by Mataura river locals: The downstream dry fly presentation.
Now fish sipping subsurface in smooth, glassy water, or in the accelerating water in the tail outs are always difficult to cover without spooking from a downstream approach. However by beginning at the head of the pool, and drifting your fly downstream to rises you present your fly first, ahead of your line and leader with the drop of the line way above the fish. They're locked in to morsels 2 inches in front of their nose, they won't see you unless you do something dumb...
In general we use this mend a lot to drop our flies, ready to fish in front of the fish, with our line kept well out to the side. It's almost an every-cast essential for covering different currents and further prolonging our drift.
Simply perform your cast as normal, stopping a touch higher to allow sufficient time to complete your upstream, or downstream reach. As the loop forms and you follow through down to the water simply slip line and smoothly sweep your rod out to either the left, or right accordingly. Simple isn't it?
A couple of tips:
- ensure you have sufficient line peeled off the reel to allow for your reach. Remember to slip line (there are situations where you may not wish to slip line, but that's another blog)
- remember to stop the forward cast crisply as per normal. This is an essential, but often forgotten component of the cast when people overthink the reach
- don't rip the rod tip aggressively out to the side: the reach is simply a powerless sideways and / or backwards repositioning of the rod tip as you follow through
- reach early to mend the entire line, or reach late to mend just that nearest the rod tip. Think "stop-reach" or "stop-and-then-reach" to achieve the desired result.
- try a higher trajectory forward cast / pile combined with your reach for more slack down by your fly
The reach mend is one of my most used presentations and once practised, will help you hit the right drift in most fishing situations
You're welcome :)