Flyfishing: Make an Emergency Stripping Basket in Four Easy Steps

Left your stripping basket at home? Improvise and craft this emergency back-up to keep your line tangle-free

diy beer case stripping basket
The author fishing off St. Barts in the French West Indies.Tim Romano

As I settled into my airline seat, I started feeling “runway dread”—the certainty that I’d forgotten something. Then it hit me: No stripping basket! This simple device helps solve two problems when you’re casting large amounts of line: It prevents the loose line from blowing around, and it elevates those coils, reducing the energy they need to make it up to that stripping guide. Here’s how I fashioned one out of an empty beer case.

Directions:

1. Head to the local watering hole. If you're vacationing somewhere tropical without a bar (if that even exists), find the closest grocery store.

2. Ask the bartender for an empty case from bottled beer (or a full case that you'll empty later). Tip the mixologist a dollar or two and find the local hardware store.

3. Shop for yarn, string, or rope by the foot. You'll need 10 feet max to do the trick. Remember, this will be hanging around your neck for a decent period of time. Make sure the material is wide and soft enough that it won't rub your skin raw. If you can't find a hardware store, use the thickest piece of monofilament in your tackle and apply a length of tape where it contacts your neck.

4. Punch a hole 3 inches from the top on both sides of the box. Attach the string so that the box comes to your waist. If you want to get fancy, hit up the closest restaurant and ask them for two large egg trays. Cut to size and thrown in the bottom of the case, they make cone spacers that further help keep the line snarl-free.