Uptiding came about many years ago when it was realised that a possible scare area is created around a boat when fishing in shallow water. By shallow, I personally equate this to depths of 60foot or less. When at anchor, a boat and the people on it can create all manner of noises – from waves slamming into the hull, rope slapping in the sea, to simple things as anglers making a noise when moving around a vessels deck. It is believed that these noises, magnified in the sea can scare fish away from a feeding directly beneath an anchored boat. There is also a belief that the boats shadow, cast on a nice sunny summer’s day can also deter the fish from feeding in that area, despite being common belief, whether all this is true or not is a different matter, however one thing is for certain, uptiding or boat casting as it is often referred to does have significant merits in certain venues.
Uptiding can also come into its own when you’re pegged near the cabin on a boat and unable to get downtide past your angling friends to locate the fish. Casting up or across the tide can help you locate those additional fish.
Uptiding is also an extremely effective manner of fishing, when in an area of strong tidal flow. Local to the North West, the River Mersey is a prime example of a strong tide, where uptiding for cod and anchoring the baits on the sea bed can prove very rewarding. At Holyhead on Anglesey, when you are not downtiding in ‘The Deep’ for tope, uptiding is called for when targeting this specific specie of fish on Langdon Ridge or in the shallows of Holyhead Bay.
Left, 18lb 14oz Blonde ray caught using the uptide method.
March and April off Anglesey see the rays moving in, whilst into May and the smooth hound fishing picks up a treat, both species again benefiting from Uptide methods when fishing the shallow ledges around the Island.
There are many different types of fishing rods on the market, all built with a specific task in mind. There are also many different types and manufacturers of Uptide rods to confuse the choice a little further. Personally I use the Abu Suveran Uptide and also the Fladen Maximus 10ft uptiders. The Fladen Maximus range of rods where new for the tail end of 2004. The rods are designed in collaboration with top international anglers, including England’s Bobby King, who came 4th in the recent World Boat Angling Championships. A powerful rod which will cast up to 280g (10 oz) yet still has a flexible enough tip for superb bite detection, yet not too soft to allow the tide to pull it down.
Once again there are many on the market. There are reels to suit all budgets, but my advice here would be not to skimp too much when purchasing a reel. Buy with quality in mind, thus ensuring a good reliable reel for uptiding. Remembering that casting is an integral part of this process, therefore reels should be acquired with this in mind. A simple downtiding winch will no longer suffice for this style of angling. Reels such as the Abu 7000, the Daiwa Slosh range or Fladen’s Maximus range of reels all suit the uptiding needs and are excellent for the job.
On the reel I tend to use either 20 or 25lb mono. Naturally uptiding is more of a gentle lob rather than a cast, however due to the low abrasion resistance of the lower lb lines, I tend to use a 40 or 50lb shockleader. This will help resist any wear when fishing rough and rocky marks.
The rig you use will be dependant on the fish being targeted. The most important thing to remember is to keep it simple. Highly intricate rigs or boom rigs with long snoods have a tendency to tangle, but as with most things, practising the cast can often overcome this problem.
Weights again all vary depending on the ground being fished and more importantly the strength of tide. Grip leads are the weights to choose, these help to anchor you trace on the sea bed and prevent it from rolling downtide and eventually ‘kite’ up in the current. Slightly heavier lead than normal with long nose wires will help secure your bait to the sea bed. Fixed grips prove to be more effective in these strong tides, compared to normal breakout styles. Though the breakouts work well when generally uptiding in less of a tidal flow.
Casting is possibly the hardest aspect of uptiding to master. It is fair to say that the casting should always be carried out with the lead and tackle outside the boat. Thus when casting away you ensure the safety of the anglers around you. Bearing this in mind the cast itself is therefore no more than an underarm lob. Power can be given to push your tackle further up or across tide, once you’ve mastered the awkwardness of stage 1!
Having steadied yourself for the cast, you can now gently lob your tackle and bait Uptide to where you want to fish. When generally downtiding you normally keep a fairly tight line, thus maintaining contact with your tackle and lead at all times, this is not the case when casting uptide. What is most important here is that as your lead descends the depths of the water, you need to let plenty of line out, twice that what you would normally do. In doing this, the tide will catch your line and pull it downtide away from your lead. This then creates a large bow in the line. As the tide pulls down on the line further it finally pulls slightly into the tackle, thus allowing the grippers to do their job and keep your tackle stationary where you intended to fish.
Failure to let out sufficient line or the use of too small a weight will result in the grip lead pulling free immediately and send your tackle downstream of the boat. This will most definitely happen on the first few occasions you employ the uptiding method to your fishing. But as they say practise makes perfect. It is well worth persisting with this method until you get it right as the rewards can be astounding to your catch rate.