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#&%*@^# Caster
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Discussion Starter #1
So I have been reading a few old books and seeing alot of pictures of steelheading greats using stripping baskets. Seems alot of them were throwing shooting heads of some sort or another so I guess it makes sense.

This got me thinking about stripping baskets for use with spey rods. Been getting better at shooting line lately and line management is still something I have not perfected. Making nice loops of line in my hands seems to take me a loooong time. Of course you really would not need one for long belly lines but for the wincutters/skagits and such I was curious if any of the members use one.

Any pros or cons you would like to share?

-sean
 

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Pullin' Thread
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4,694 Posts
Sean,

I used a stripping basket once-upon-a-time with a single hander but only when I fished for largemouth bass from shore so that the line stayed out of the dirt and brush at my feet. On a river, I've never used one because I never wanted to worry about catching it in the brush on riverside trails or what to do with it if I needed to wade in waist deep. And with the 2-hander, the stripping basket would get in the way when spey casting since it would hinder the bottom hand motion when starting a cast unless one kept his hands up near his shoulder and chin during all portions of the cast.

That said, the only person I've ever seen using a shooting basket for steelhead is George McCleod. He also uses an old St. Croix 8.5 ft 7 weight fiberglass rod that he helped design back in the early 1960's and SA shooting heads (either floating or sinking) for steelhead fishing. George told me he enjoys seeing those of us who use 2-handers casting them; however, he also then says that he sees no reason to use a rod that weighs as much a a 2-hander. He thinks it would be more work than shooting heads, striipping basket, and single handed rod.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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1,771 Posts
Sean -

Stripping baskets have become a critical component on the coastal FF scene in the northeast for single handed casting long distances in sloppy waves and ocean winds. Another primary reason they are so important in striper land is the strip retrieve, which pulls in a little at a time and there needs to be somewhere to put it between each strip. It's rare to see anyone not wearing one from Maine to Maryland when it comes to flyfishing the coast.

I've also seen photos of Lemire, McCleod and Wes Drain I believe making tupperware fashion statements long before the east coast rubbermaid boom. In fact as Flytyer pointed out, many believe the whole American shooting head revolution began in steelhead country - and once I saw these pics I realized the dishpan chic' stripping basket came from the innovative PNW gang too :hehe:

I use a stripping basket with the two-handed overhead casting rods in the surf and on the flats to keep the line out of the washing surf and to facilitate teasing strip retrieves all the way to the leader knot. It doesn't hamper (no pun intended) overhand casts and the limited spey casts I make with this rod, but Flytyer has a point it's something to potentially get in the way with spey casts.

You must be shooting some line dude! I am completely satisfied shooting 25-30 ft of running line behind a 55 foot head with a 15 ft leader (100 ft to fly). Such a cast can be made with 3 loops of graduating size as Andy Murray talked about at the Sandy Clave, or 2 giant loops with the second smaller in the George Cook approach.

The approach is to make long draw strips toward the color change but stop after so many and secure the line (in the fingers of the rod hand or the smaller fingers of the line hand) to form a big loop, then strip more and secure between the next finger to form a smaller loop, continue. You can count the strips for a given length of line and they will work out roughly the same each time. I just ballpark it and it seems to work out fine, don't even think about it anymore.

In river fishing we're lucky that:

- current holds the loop under tension in a stable manner to one side
- we aren't standing on barnacle encrusted rocks
- we don't need to make strip retrieves to tease the fish to hit with the exception of atlantic salmon to a degree
- most heads are at least 54 ft and much line is never stripped in between casts
- we don't have to run down the beach when a blitz erupts

A basket might be a good way to alleviate line management burdens in spey casting, but I think it's pretty straight forward to adopt a working loop holding and shooting method.

If you try one, let us know how it works out!
 

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#&%*@^# Caster
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Discussion Starter #4
I can help but shoot a lot of line with the new CND:hehe:

I am not shooting a ton but do alright with a wincutter. I should probably just work on looping the line correctly in my bottom hand but for kicks will bring out a couple different styles of stripping baskets on my next trip out...unfotunately that will not be for a few months :rolleyes:.

Thanks for the replies as the post was more out of curiousity than anything else.

-sean
 

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Juro

Shooting heads were pioneered/invented by the members of the Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club [GGACC] in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. They were, and still are, a steelhead crazy lot.

The facility, built under Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration during the depression, consists of three large rectangular ponds that are the heart of a still world class facility.

It is interesting that this depression era project is the reason that San Francisco's GGACC has been the home of our country's fly casting champions for half a century.

Bob
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Very cool! I've seen their website and I'll not let another trip to SFO go without a visit to the facility.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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In fact, George McCleod told me that he first saw a shooting head in use when he was invited to fish the Eel River in Nothern California by a fellow who had a fly shop in the area (his name escapes me at the moment). After he saw several of the California steelheaders making casts of 80 to 120 feet with the shooting heads, he decided that he needed to start using them. I think George told me this was in the early 50's.

Anyhow, that is how the PNW steelheaders began using shooting heads. George and the others were using lead core line for sinking heads, and some of the guys (Lemire, Drain, and Glasso in particular) developed hybrid floating/sinktip shooting heads for better depth control when winter fishing. George became a friend of Leon Martuch, the chief line designer at SA in the late 50's and 60's. George talked Leon into making the original SA sinking line in the then normal steelhead sizes (now known as 7,8,and 9weights) in shooting head only. This was the type 2 SA line.

George and Drain then worked on Leon to produce a faster sinking line for winter fishing when the rivers a up a bit, and the result was the SA type 3. George relates that Leon was very skeptical about the commercial viability of these sinking lines and first produced them only as level, untapered lines. In fact, George bought the them in 150 ft spools and simply cut them into 30 foot lengths for use. Needless to say, the winter steelheaders from California got ahold of these SA sinking line, sales were not a problem. Then folks line Charlie Brooks and Pat Barnes adapted them to large streamer and nymph fishing in Montana. The rest is history as other line manufacturers got into making sinking lines.

I have a friend who moved back to Fortuna, CA after he retired 4 years ago who only used a single-hand rod (6 wt in summer, usually a floating head, and 9 wt in winter) with shooting heads because that was what he learned was proper steelhead fly fishing when he took up fly fishing for steelhead at age 12. He is one of the best steelhead fisherman I've every had the priviledge to fish with and miss not having him live close enough to fish with very often. He tells me that hardly anyone uses a 2-hander down his way.
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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Flytyer -

That's more than a post, it's a page in the ledger of steelheading history! Thanks for sharing that.

Juro
 

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Pullin' Thread
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Juro,

Thanks for the kind words. I've just been fortunate to have lived near some of the old masters of the sport of fly flishing and as such I have gotten to meet and know some of them. Trey, Harry, George, Arnold, Farrar, Kinney, Jackson, Gobin, and many others that are not as well known have taught me a lot about the history of fly fishing for steelhead, the flies used for them, and the steelhead themselves. I'm simply sharing some of what others have shared with me so others can have a deeper appreciation of the sport we all indulge in.
 
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