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21 Feb 2017
by CARPology
How to combat undertow
Because it can be a right pain in the butt

Question

Often, when fishing in open water, on windy days I find a bow being created in my mono main line. How do I correct this whilst still keeping good indication? Is it a case of heavy leads, bobbins and backleads mixed with tight lines or is there another way around this situation? Ben Knowles, via e-mail

Lewis Read says: “How to combat the effect of undertow is always going to be an issue on waters that are open to the elements. Much of the time the undertow is at strongest near the margins, normally within the first 20yds and the shape and contour of the lake can really pump the undertow strongly into particular areas, as all that water being pushed down the lake by the wind has to go somewhere.

“Assuming the lake is relatively free of weed and flat-bottomed, sliding a backlead down the line will make an enormous difference. Just like fishing on a slow running river, if your line is pinned to the lakebed it will be subject to much less pressure from the water flowing across it. In practice you can normally still get away with relatively light backleads and light bobbins on drops. If conditions are particularly rough or your lake has a propensity for kicking up a really strong undertow then you will need to consider using a heavier backlead, but I find a 0.5-ounce Drop-Out Backlead more than adequate for most waters. The only other time I will go heavier with the backlead and bobbin is if I’m fishing at range or angling over pronounced subsurface features like bars or plateaux – after all your lines are going to be held up by these features so you might as well fish tighter and maximise your bite indication.

“Another alternative, if range allows, is to fish with a heavy fluorocarbon main line. After casting out, sink your rod tip to the bottom and sink the line as quickly as possible. Once it’s settled, a 100% fluoro like Mirage will often stay in place when a copolymer would be lifted and pulled round by the undertow.”

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