$2 Saltwater DIY Fly Fishing Stripping Basket

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Here’s a brief tutorial on how I made my own stripping basket for saltwater fly fishing. In all honesty, there are many different methods for making one but this one is by far the cheapest I’ve found (go me!). Surprisingly, it’s taken me longer to write this tutorial than it did for me to make it.

Total cost of materials necessary for me to make it was $2. Yes, $2. However, I used some Loctite Two part epoxy and an extra nylon webbing wading belt I had to attach it. You don’t have to use epoxy, any high strength glue or hot glue gun would work just as well. You also don’t need a buckle closure wading belt either, I just had one from older cheaper waders that I’m not using. You could use a hook bungee strap or even a large belt to attach it. Or maybe some clips to attach it to your real wading belt!

For materials, I picked up this small storage basket and a pack of markers from the dollar store. You want a container that’s about shoe box sized but attest 5 inches deep so it’s not too shallow.

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The first step is to take apart the markers to act as rods to help keep your line from tangling in the basket in erratic loops. I used the barrel of the marker by pulling out the plastic nib and then the end cap and throwing out the ink sponge inside. I did five to start but can easily add more to the basket later if needed.

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Next step was to mark and drill holes for the line guides. I picked a drill bit that was just a hair narrow than the base of the barrel diameter. (By the way, Milwaukee drill bits are amazing).

You can see that this particular marker brand has a stepped end before it reaches the larger diameter of the main barrel. This was perfect as it acts as a stop. I matched the drill bit according to the last step before it reaches the wider part of the barrel.

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Next I drilled five holes, four in each corner and one in the center. I spaced them about two inches from the sides of the basket.

Next I test fitted a marker to make sure it fit snugly. It should be a hole small enough that it takes some extra effort to full pop it in. This will help give it more grab in case you don’t glue it. If you do glue it, this should give it good surface to surface contact for bonding.

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Once they were all fitted, I pulled the markers out and added some expoxy and reseated them to let them cure.

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Next I used some scissors to cut away the plastic between three holes, just wide enough for my belt to pass through. Once that was done, the basket was done!

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I went the extra step of spraying the hole thing (minus the belt) with some Rustoleum plastic spray paint and then several coats of clear. This step was purely aesthetic and I don’t know how well it will hold up in use and exposure to saltwater.  horrible, don’t even bother trying to paint it. Then again, I really don’t care and had the paint lying around anyways.

There it is. Since I’m just starting to saltwater fish for stripers this year, I didn’t want to make something that cost me much, especially buying an $80 one. I’m sure those are more durable, but if this holds up I’ll be happy for the time being. And if it doesn’t, well it cost me $2 so I won’t feel as bad building a better one or just buying a real one later. Hope this helps, let me know if you make one or have any suggestions!

 Update:

I accidentally crushed this stripping basket midway through the 2015 striper season. I had put the wading basket in the trunk of my car after fishing, and threw one of my wading boots right on it. The plastic snapped like a twig, I’m surprised I didn’t do it sooner. I wound up rebuilding the basket using the same exact method, but used this Ikea Forsiktig children’s step stool (flipped over) instead.  It costs a paltry $12, but is about twice the size, far deeper, and way stronger than my previous basket.

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