Stripping basket as a wading stick

Though I have been using a stripping basket or a line tray for many years and regard myself as quite an experienced stripping basket user I can still learn new tricks and ways to use this device. What I will describe I learned from Steen Ulnits a danish sports fishing journalist. Steen has written countless of articles and several books and has a very nice website  allthough only in danish. Now Steen shall not have all the credit for this trick and I am sure he will not claim this as he learned the trick from an irish guide when fishing in Ireland for sea bass at a rocky coast.

The trick is to use the stripping basket as a sort of wading stick. You hold the stripping basket in one hand (here the built in handle comes in very handy – sorry) and due the buoyancy when put on the surface you can maintain your balance when you are about to loose it. I have tried this myself and it has worked extremely well both in streams and in saltwater situations. Naturally the stripping basket can not replace a wading stick in all situations but it may save you the hassle of carrying a wading stick when it is only rarely needed and it may help you in the situations where you did not expect the need for a wading stick and therefore did not bring one. Of course the basket as a wading stick can not push or pull you up against a very heavy current, but the help you get is like holding someone in the hand when wading. You may be helped in the off balance situation so you can re-establish your balance before the small imbalances develop into big imbalances – read very wet disasters.

In the photo below the technique is illustrated



Stripping basket on a pontoon boat

I have owned a pontoon boat for many years but until recently I only used it in lakes as I bought it for pursuing brown trout and white fish with dry fly. This fishing is almost always in situations with no or almost no wind and I have naturally used the ”table” of stretched mesh built into the front part of the pontoon boat. With no wind and only casting shorter distances this worked fine for me.

Last year I started to use the pontoon boat in saltwater when fly fishing for sea trout. I knew that in the end it would ruin my pontoon boat as the frame is a steel construction – and less than a year later the rust has popped up in many places – too bad but now I love using my pontoon boat at sea so much, that I will go on and next time I need to buy a pontoon boat it will be with an aluminum frame. Fishing in saltwater for sea trout introduced new problems as this often takes place in windy situations. The ”mesh tables” was not very good any longer as I used much longer casts and therefore had much more shooting line to control and the wind often blew the shooting line into the water and this really tangled my line or reduced the casting distance. The solution was very simple as I just placed my beloved stripping basket on the side af the pontoon boat – it was easy to strap it on and it works perfectly despite it is not in level. Furthermore it is nice to bring the stripping basket in this way as it is very easy to dismount and use it if I hit a spot best fished on foot.

In the photo below my pontoon boat with the basket is shown. You may read more and see more photos here.



In a belly boat you have the same problems as in the pontoon boat and a friend of mine, Michael, is a keen belly boat fisher, and he always uses a stripping basket when fly fishing in the belly boat.