If you are reading this, you are probably in the market for a stripping basket, or at least curious about what different brands have to offer. Well, if any of those things describe your situation, you have come to the right place, because I, along with you, am also looking for a perfect stripping basket for my applications. This article will go over three major, different designs and compare them in a winner takes all (my money) battle.
What is a stripping basket?
A stripping basket is an essential fly fishing accessory for any angler who plans on wade fishing in circumstances where one would have more line ready to shoot. If you wade the saltwater surf and shallows or wade a Stillwater, you are probably familiar with having your fly line magically becoming tangled on every object within a reasonable radius. When you strip your line into a stripping basket, the line is contained and will not become a nuisance.
Hard Plastic Stripping Baskets:
The most common kind of stripping baskets; plastic, box-like stripping baskets are simple, durable, and sometimes extremely pricy. With Orvis models reaching up to $90 shipped, these are a major investment, but there is a reason why brands like Orvis can get away with charging those prices; demand. The box-like designs are time tested and most likely will not do you any harm. The built-in, plastic cones keep the line from bunching up and tangling, allowing for smooth casting and uninterrupted line clearing. Depending on the company, the baskets may or may not have holes in them. Baskets without holes don’t fill up with water, but if a wave breaks over the basket, you will need to pause your fishing to empty the basket out. Baskets with holes may run on the wetter side, but you won’t have to worry about clearing it out.
Some companies like HMH and Ahrex have taken a different approach to the basic stripping basket. HMH’s line tender is a foldable, flexible, mesh-bottomed stipping basket coming in at around $60. What makes this basket special is its ability to be packed up during transport. When you aren’t using it, this basket folds up into a small frisbee sized bag. This basket is kitted out with a mesh bottom that lets water pass freely in and out of the basket. For an extra $15, you can purchase the matching “shooters”, which are the flexible equivalent to the plastic cones on the hard plastic models.
Ahrex, a Scandinavian hook manufacturer, came up with one of the more abstract stripping basket designs on the market. The Ahrex Flexistripper is essentially a sheet of flexible plastic with flexible spikes attached to the top. This device is attached to a belt similar to a wading belt. Coming in at around $60, this is an exciting innovation. With the goal to be minimalistic, to not worry about water in the “basket”, and to be downright effective at the tasks of a stripping basket, the Flexistripper does seem to get the job done. The design may take some getting used to for some, but I think other companies will follow in Ahrex’s wake in making even more innovative designs.
Although there are a lot of great options on the market, many fly fishers tend to create their own stripping baskets. A stripping basket can be made at home for around $20, and though they may not be as outstanding as the other ones mentioned in this article, they will certainly get the job done. Any large plastic container, clothes hamper, or even a cardboard box can get the job done with a few modifications.
How to make you own stripping basket:
So, after learning a bit more about the different designs and options to the overwhelming stripping basket, hopefully, you can narrow down your search to a group of items that will fit your needs.