Fishing in Puget Sound from the beach offers many challenges. One of those challenges is the need to cover water. Long searching casts out into our cold Salish Sea inevitably will result with your line in the water. Pulling your floating line off the surface of the water limits your range of casting and your ability to recast immediately after a strike, follow, or fish siting in a different direction. If you’re using a sinking line, it will undoubtedly find its way to the nearest rock covered in barnacles and cut the life of your fly line in half. Not only will it find it’s way to any barnacle, but the tidal movement coupled with constant wind will somehow tangle the fly line up on your boots, waders, net etc.
All of these are problems that previously I dealt with because of my disliking for stripping baskets. Constantly frustrated by fish jumping just 10 feet further out, I’d find myself pulling the fly line off the water, chest deep, bombing casts as far as I could in leaky waders.
The solution was a stripping basket. But for me, a stripping basket changed the way I wanted to dance. I would have to completely alter the way I retrieved my fly line to make sure that it made its way into the basket. After thousands of hours on the water, I was now forced to alter what I believed was part of my success. The way you retrieve a fly is fundamental in my opinion and I didn’t want to change. Thus, the stripping basket solution was not a solution but instead a limiting factor for success.
Over the last 8 months, I’ve had the opportunity to put the Ahrex Flexi Stripper to the test. It’s not a stripping basket, but rather a platform for success. Positioned on the side of my hip, I now can seamlessly retrieve my fly line the way I want. No need to think about stripping your line into a basket. Nothing changes besides the outcome. The line loosely stacks up on the pegs, parts of your fly line dangle into the water while the bulk of your line now sits above the surface. Casting those extra 10 feet is now possible. Your ability to recast after a follow, strike, or sighting is now seamless! You no longer have to “get used to” changing the way you retrieve a fly. Instead, you can dance the way you want to.