Stripping Baskets in Rivers.....

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by JayB, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. I was out on the OP on a family fishing trip for a few days and took along my stripping basket to keep my line from hanging up inside the boat, wound up keeping it on when we stepped out to fish from sandbars, and then started using it full-time for wading shortly after that...and now I feel like a 12-stepper.

    "First I started using it now and then in boats, then I found myself using it more and more while wading then I tried to justify it by claiming it was just a temporary crutch and I could quit any-time......"

    I know that using a stripping basket on a river is basically an admission of failure and that I should go back to the days of trying to hang progressively shorter loops from pinkie-to-index or whatever the orthodox technique is supposed to be, of a sudden I went from spending 90% of my physical and mental energy managing slack line with mixed results to maxing out my casting range with about 25% of the effort and enjoyed myself twice as much.

    Anyone else out there capitulate and bring along the crutch/basket to the rivers, or has everyone else done the smart thing and converted to spey for wade-fishing the big rivers?
    Olive bugger and Eyejuggler like this.
  2. Unless you're using long belly lines, spey rods don't put an end to the need for managing the running line. If the stripping basket works then use it. I use one off the jetty but it's not practical for a lot of the wading situations I find myself in on the river.
  3. Jay
    If the basket works for you, why ask if its the 'cool thing to do'.
    I have used a basket while in the boat and would like to from shore, but i usually hike thru too much vegetation and over/under logs to justify using my basket.
    Now if the shoreline is a long gravel bar and i plan on working that section without taking off into the woods.. i use it and appreciate the simplistic features that make it such a wonderful tool.
  4. Sounds like an innovation, not a crutch.
  5. Cheaper than a spey rod to boot. Hell, it's cheaper than a spey line.
  6. Dialing in your own setup, excellent. Screw the critics. Be safe, have fun and fish your own way.
    Mark Kraniger and David Dalan like this.

  7. Totally agree - it was just such a revelation for me and I'd never seen or heard of anyone else using one on the river, which made me think that there *had* to be a reason why that was the case, like zoning out and going into triple-zen-mode and delighting in the dynamic complexity of managing 90 feet of slack line sloshing back and forth into topologically improbable convolutions in the downstream turbulence whilst feeling the gravel wash out from under your feet on a chest-deep wade onto the collapsing fringe of a submerged gravel bar. Or just having way better technique than I've ever been able to muster.

    Managing the slack in maximum cast mode where I need to get maximum shootage going has always been the flyfishing equivalent of wearing a medieval hairshirt for me, but somehow everyone else seemed to manage. FWIW I was able to wade as deep as I care to (somewhere between waste and chest high) with no issues since the basket I use has holes and just floats on top of the water.

    So - what prompted the post was one part revelation, one part confusion, and one part a desire to spread the word just in case there's someone else who never got the knack of frustration-free mega-slack-tending and could potentially benefit from it.
  8. Stripping baskets on a river aren't really new. They just fell out of favor some years ago. I still have a basket I made more than twenty years ago when I fished the rivers. It is smaller than those we use today and it had no cones to seperate the line but it worked to keep the line out of the faster current. Problem was it was too small and the line tangled too much. I became a salt water fisherman and then bought an Orvis basket when they were relatively cheap and haven't used the other since. The belt is permanently attached and I have added a few pounds so it doesn't fit anymore but I keep it around as part of an antique collection of fly fishing junk I used to use.:cool:
  9. I learned with a stripping basket and never found a reason to leave it at home. Screw the critics. If it works and is ethical, use it.
  10. I've thought about it since I started fishing the salt, but I haven't spent much time on rivers since. Seems like a great idea if you're planning to be making long casts. Walking through the woods, they easily swivel to your back and wouldn't me in the way too much.
  11. Old timers such as Ken and George McLeod used them quite a bit. (From my understanding they actually came up with the idea.) In fact, I believe there is a picture of Ken McLeod wearing a stripping basket in Trey Combs book Steelhead Fly Fishing. From my understanding, people stopped using them on rivers (at least for steelhead fishing) quite some time ago.
  12. JayB,

    Kind of an "everything old is new again" experience for you it seems. Stripping baskets were very popular for river steelheading before the advent of fly lines with floating and sinking sections. Managing an all sinking fly line when you're wading waist deep is troublesome at best. A stripping basket was the best place to store retrieved line for the next cast. Floating lines with sinking tips or shooting heads reduced, if not eliminated, that problem. Heck, I saw Bob Strobel using his old stripping basket along with a Spey rod for years although he really didn't need the basket.

    KerryS likes this.
  13. stripping baskets are the end thing. I don't care what others say about it. I don't like getting all tangle up in my line.
  14. I like the combination stripping basket and wading belt. In addition to the obvious uses, it comes in handy when wading to another spot. Just leave the running line in the basket and collapse the net against yourself for tangle-free trip to the next fishy looking riffle.
    FLYFLICKER likes this.
  15. I don't think floating vinyl had anything to do with it, SG
    I saw a lot of baskets on the river long after we were using full floaters and skating bombers on the surface.
  16. Oh yeah - a tangle free walk along the shore to the next spot without having to reel-up and strip out. One more thing I found myself enjoying courtesy of the basket. Only thing missing was a beer-holder but, perhaps a chest-mount would be better for that.....
    Bert likes this.
  17. Interesting. I was just looking over Doug Rose's book on fly-fishing the Oly Pen last night and in the section on Syd Glasso someone is quoted as saying that "he could cast over 100 feet without using a stripping basket," which jives with your observation that they used to be more common way back when. Nihil nove sub sole...
  18. Be aware that the dishpan style can give you a scare when you step in deeper than anticipated and the basket quickly catches in the current and starts to tug at your waist. Holes in the bottom help but it still creates a lot of drag.
  19. Found this stripping basket picture online while looking up information on the William Joseph combo Bert mentioned.

    One word. . . Genius

    freestoneangler and Olive bugger like this.

  20. Needs a Hello Kitty sticker
    plaegreid likes this.

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