Planet Sea Fishing prides itself in accurate and honest tackle reviews, and in this latest ‘warts and all’ test Steve Souter gets to grips with the Greys range-topping Advent Plus 4-6oz Uptide rod.
It’s a fact that uptide rods don’t fly out of tackle shops in the numbers that they used to. Why that should be is open to debate, but reasons could simply be the diversity of modern rod choice, coupled perhaps with the fact that the ‘kosher’ uptide technique is no longer zealously preached to the detriment of everything else in every sea fishing title every single month.
Whatever the reason, the effectiveness of the uptide method remains, and the versatility of rods for the purpose should never be dismissed. Tellingly, all the major tackle companies continue to include them in their rod ranges. Greys, in this case, offer a choice of two Advent Plus uptiders: a 6–10oz model and the lighter 4–6oz version on test here. Not to be confused with the cheaper ‘Advent Uptide’ rods, the ‘Plus’ models feature Cam lock extending handles and are the top-of-the-range Greys offerings.
Rod length of the Advent Plus 4-6oz rod pans out at a little over 9ft with the extension closed, and just over 10ft at full extension. The tip is longer than the modern average at nearly 7ft, and, as such, it doesn’t lend itself to the easiest transportation. While I lean more towards equal length longer rods, there are many who prefer the uninterrupted feel of a long tip section.
Greys describe the Advent+ rod as light with a progressive action. My take differs somewhat in that it is quite a physically weighty brute by current standards, with a noticeably underpowered mid blank aspect and pronounced sloppy tip-action. This ultra forgiving action is partly in keeping with the traditional favoured design and mechanics of a good old-fashioned uptider from 25 years ago. My issue is that in a rod of this length the blank action is very elastic… in my hands it’s spongy from top to lower middle, which underpins an absence of feel on lead pick-up and when winding fish.
The absorbing action is no bad thing but there is so much more than the just tip element in the make-up of good uptider. Crucially, the best uptide rods are those that do not slackly surrender too much core blank muscle. As might be expected the Advent Plus possesses ample lower blank power.
Most decent uptide rods serve effectively as long downtide rods, particularly for working artificials like shads and eels on longer traces. If you like a longer rod for lure work for pollack then the AP covers this well enough, but a person of average stature may find it a little too long to use comfortably as a simple elongated boat rod.
Fixtures and Fittings
The 9 braid-friendly intermediate SIC guides are good policy, because contrary to beliefs in certain UK quarters, uptiding with braided lines and fixed spool reels can be very effective indeed. The guide configuration however could be better, and I would argue that the rod would benefit from at least one additional guide to allow a more considered spacing particularly in the top third of the tip.
Notably Conoflex and Abu uptide rods first featured the versatile twist-lock captive extension facility, but it is no less effective on the Advent Plus. If the extendible butt has an obvious downside then it would be that it contributes considerable weight to the rod. Also, in my experience these fittings are inclined to jam after a time if the length position is routinely altered.
Three EVA grips, a Fuji-type screw reel fitting and a hi-vis pink lacquer upper tip also feature.
My day afloat with the AP saw me casting and fishing with a selection of different leads in an effort to clearly identify the lead loading parameters for both uptide and downtide fishing purposes. I used both multiplier and fixed spool reels, and truth is casting felt much more balanced and zoned with the fixed spool.
It will cast its 6oz rating plus a dozen strung lugworm and whole squid combination, or a bulky mackerel fillet bait very comfortably, and stretch to gently lobbing up to 8oz with care. In the downtide sense the rod will cope with 10ozs of lead before the tip labours towards overload.
Casting and retrieving, I couldn’t help but dwell on the fact that this is a soft rod. Yes, as has been monotonously said a thousand times before, an appropriately soft tip does indeed serve to protect against grip-lead dislodgement, however an effective working balance needs to be struck to service what are a good uptider’s multi-functions. In this instance I feel more ‘steel’ in the middle area of the blank would make for a much better and more capable rod.
With a modest cod or pollack on the end the rod felt good if a little spirit-less. While in my opinion the lack of mid-blank presence serves to dampen feel, the flipside is it that works well with a braided mainline in certain circumstances. If I were pushed to find an ideal application for the Advent Plus then it would be fixed spool braid work. This, on the grounds that the extra length and sluggish action afford desirable protection against any heavy-handedness, and the associated fixed spool rapid retrieve and rod levering to assist line recovery against such as a large summer smoothhound, ray or double figure winter cod.
The captive butt extension works well enough, but I soon found myself selecting a single comfortable length position and sticking to it. I do think that the facility to shorten the butt is advantageous when playing a large fish because it allows the butt to be set against the angler’s belt area, rather than the long butt alternative which is to jam it between the legs and risk a sore one!
I would call the Advent Plus 4-6oz a decent middleweight uptider typically suited to fishing the likes of the Humber or Mersey. Central sloppiness is exaggerated by the longer than average uptide rod length. It’s heavy and not the best long rod for downtide purposes, but if a longer uptide rod is your thing then the quirky Advent Plus offers reasonable value for money and satisfactory performance, especially when matched with a good fixed spool reel. Available from Glasgow Angling Centre
- High modulus carbon blank
- Sections: 2
- Max length: 10ft
- Cast rating: 4-6ozs
- Guides: SIC double-legs
- Spigot joint
- EVA grips
- Cam lock captive extension