Daiwa was, I believe, the very first major tackle manufacturer to produce a purpose-made range of uptiding rods when, in the early 1980s, it launched its groundbreaking Sea Hunter range.
The three blanks were rated 2-4oz, 4-6oz and 6-8oz respectively, and immediately established a blueprint for uptide/boatcasting rods. Each rod had an overall length of 9ft 6in and consisted of a short butt section and a longer top section.
Characteristics included a responsive tip for bite indication, a forgiving yet gutsy mid-section to facilitate casting and playing fish, and a poker-stiff lower third for applying maximum power when it was required.
Over the subsequent years, Daiwa has introduced several new ranges of uptide rods, all of which have conformed to the aforementioned formula.
The most recent Daiwa boatcasting rod, the Tournament Uptide, is vastly different, though. My first reaction when I took the two equal sections out of their bag and put them together was:
“That’s not an uptider!”
The rod has an overall length of just 8ft 6in and is rated for use with 6-15lb lines and to cast 3-7oz. There is a 5-10oz version too. The rod is manufactured from X45 carbon and features a high-quality Fuji reel seat and alconite rings.
I used the rod on a day’s fishing aboard a private boat in the fast-flowing water of the Bristol Channel, exactly the sort of conditions the uptiding technique and uptiders were developed to fish. It very soon became apparent that the 7oz maximum casting rating was, at best, on the ambitious side. It’s far better at the lower end of its suggested casting rating.
I tackled up using a reel loaded with the maximum rated 15lb monofilament, but with a 5oz lead weight. To be honest, who actually uses 6lb line afloat when uptiding?
Throughout the day the rod performed very well and, yes, it could be used to cast from a boat, although I prefer a rod with additional length because I’m used to it.
We were fishing in depths averaging 50-70ft on a neap tide, pretty gentle conditions for the channel but, even so, I felt the rod was beyond its limit. However, the blank proved to be noticeably more powerful than my first impressions indicated, the bite detection was really excellent, and the finish and build quality were certainly first class.
I concluded this was indeed a very nice boat rod, certainly a superb all-rounder for fishing lures and baits on the drift over reefs or wrecks, downtiding and, under certain conditions, uptiding.
One of the boat’s co-owners, Andy Samuels, who also used the rod, summed it up perfectly. “It’s the perfect rod for casting leads in the 3-4oz range in shallower water, a beautiful rod to have aboard any boat, a rod which can be used for a wide variety of different techniques under a range of different circumstances.”
The Daiwa Tournament Uptide has a recommended price of £185.