Leeda Icon Uptider - Gear Review

With looking around for an uptide rod for my eldest boy of 11 as he showed interest, I was looking around and he had a feel and play with a few rods in the local shop that he was comfortable with, after going through a few rods in the selection it was down to a couple and he chose the Icon uptider so I thought to myself why not do a review on this seemingly popular choice. The rod cost a small £49.99 on collecting the rod it comes in a rod sock that is black and gold. On opening the rod sock and taking it out it’s a two part rod with a short butt section which is the female part of the spigot and then a longer 2nd tip piece, when fully together the rod stands at a 9ft 6inches long. Putting it together was nice and easy it fitted snug and had no wobble at all from the spigot area, just holding the rod I could see why Ben chose this one as its quite light it has quite a good tip action that is quite soft and should register bites really well as well as a good general feel and balance to it. Going up the rod you start with a rubber butt cap that is standard and does what it’s meant to do, then you have a screw winch seat which when I added a multiplier reel it sat there good as gold and solid with no movement, the butt section has Japanese shrink wrap all up the handle which provides a good grip as well as a good look. Carrying on up the rod it’s finished in a gloss effect black blank with black whippings and gold whip trims it looks great! There are no over runs of high build and all is very neat and tidy. You have the Leeda ICON branding and stated weight of 4-10 oz and you can see the fully line SIC guides on the rod, I would prefer Fuji’s but that is obviously a personal choice and for a sub £50 rod would be a lot to expect, I did find out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the eyes as I found when my son bumped into me after tearing out the house making the rod fly out of my hands, but the rod and eyes survived a 6ft drop onto a patio and live on to tell the tale! The eyes are rung in hybrid configuration for use with a multiplier or fixed spool, moving on up the rod you have a good amount of white UV reflective paint on the tip section to show bite registration better in low light or night time use with a headlamp, I would prefer reflective tip tape myself but considering a lot of far more expensive rods come with neither like the AFAW uptide pro at £200+ it is a good addition and shows Leeda are thinking what may be needed. Putting Penn Rival multiplier on I headed over to the field with the stated weights for casting and another 15lb of lead all linked up. All set up and casting out with light leads of 4 oz it barely touches the rod except the tip section, it casts smoothly and easily lthough the recovery is not that quick, but then being a boat rod is not essential, on the up side it is very user friendly! So clipping on a 6oz lead I again casted over head to around 50-55 yards it moved a touch more but by no means tested the rod again the tip action was moving around but recovers quickly enough although slower than a lot of rods and then reeled back in just fine as its bumps across the ground. After trying 8 oz lead it was exactly the same but you start to get into the mid section but threw the lead well. I would probably use this weight as standard in the Bristol channel unless I want it roaming around, reeling it back in this time the tip section was continuously arched over as it pulled it back in. Going to max weight of 10oz’s when casting it would easily handle more I believe not that you need to but it goes into the mid power band and again you have full control and can feel everything the rod is doing and handles it lovely. Whilst out there I clip on the 15lb of lead to see what it can do NO! Don’t worry not casting! I tighten up the drag and walk back until there is a small amount of tension on the rod the curve looks healthy and I start to reel it in the rod arches over a lot more giving a very healthy bend and the weights come in really easy and you can feel the bottom of the mid power band section and the butt section have so much more to offer I wouldn’t worry about getting a large fish on I snag the weights up intentionally and then start winding in the reel and bending the rod well under a lot of pressure the rod does start to twist a little near the tip section but unless you have large tope or bass, blonde rays etc I can’t see it being an issue, even so the line doesn’t touch the blank at all and is doing what it’s meant to do, BUT! We have to remember this rod is only £50! I’m really satisfied with how the rod is I planned to “borrow it secretly” from Ben on my next boat trip with Tommo on Lorna Doone out of Watchet. Out on the boat with Tommo out of Watchet the rod performed faultlessly seeing whiting bites no issue along with the Bristol channel dogs the largest fish it was tested with a Conger eel of around 7-8lb and a scrapper but the rod took it easily in its stride, with the tip section being softer than most of the other boat rods this day I have to wonder if its the reason i scored a nice cod over the others as it allows a better presentation by having a more forgiving tip. Every fish I pulled in you have great feel with it and performs like a rod of a better calibre. I have no complaints about the rod really and for £50 will get you out on the water and catching all types easily including larger fish. I can say whole heartedly I really enjoyed using the rod and have complete faith in it. GOOD POINTS: - At sub £50 it’s a smart looking and functional rod that will clearly last with good building by Leeda. - It’s well thought out the sock is good for a cheaper rod and has a UV tip for dusk and night time. BAD POINTS: Under a heavy load there is twisting in the tip although as stated the line didn’t touch the rod at any point, but with a prolonged fight it may well do. Overall I would give this uptide rod a solid 8/10 only losing marks for the twisting in the tip and I would want that confidence with a big fish that this rod may not give me. Leeda have a done a fantastic job though with this uptider covering so many bases and for a budget price which is to be commended.

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