The more time I spent fishing the surf, the more I came to realize that purchasing a stripping basket would make line management much easier. The Ahrex Flexistripper is a lightweight, compact take on the classic, more robust stripping basket. Its design resembles more of a tray with pegs, free of sidewalls. They come in several colors and feature 28 pegs to keep your fly line close. A neoprene belt is included and assembly is quick and easy. Whether you are in the Pacific surf chasing Surfperch and Corbina, the Atlantic surf chasing Stripers, or down South in the surf chasing Pompano or Snook, the Flexistripper will make a big difference in helping you manage your loose line. The Flexistripper also has potential to be used for streamer fishing or in a float tube if you do not have a stripping tray. It keeps your sinking lines close and out of the water, ready for your next cast.
Surf fishing at times can be a high intensity endeavor with lots going on all at once. Whether its crashing waves, conflicting currents, debris, rips, or getting hung up on your feet or gear, line management is paramount. Pair that with timing your cast, stripping, and still keeping your head on a swivel for waves, you need just about any help you can get managing your line. Stripping baskets are extremely helpful in situations like this where managing your loose line can be difficult, and distract you from actually fishing.
Jetty fishing for Rockfish, Lingcod, Greenling, Perch, and the many other species can be fun, but the sharp rocks and barnacles don’t get along with your fly line. Cutting your tippet and losing your fly is frustrating, but cutting clean though a fly line is something you really want to avoid. Using a stripping basket to manage your line and keep it off of the rocks and barnacles keeps your line in one piece for longer.
The low profile design of the Flexistripper makes it great for traveling. If the pegs and belt are removed it can easily be stored in a carry on sized piece of luggage. Because the tray is so flat, it does not take up any more room than a folded shirt. This is perfect for anglers traveling who have a surf trip in mind and want a stripping basket that they can pack with ease.
My one critique of it lies in its assembly. The pegs come on plastic trees which are remnants of the production process using a mold. To assemble, you pull the pegs off and then put them into the tray. On some of the pegs, there will be a tag end which sticks out. This causes the fitment to not be flush and your line can get hung up on the bottom of the tray. Trimming the excess off makes for a perfect fit and your line will not have anything to get hung up on.
One important note directly from Ahrex explains that the pegs can get bent and using an oven can straighten them out. They say: “If the Flexistripper spikes for some reason have bent, you can put the whole Flexistripper (without the belt) into a warm oven (90-100 degrees Celsius) for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool down. This will straighten the pegs.”
I think the Flexistripper’s new take on an old design has the potential to change how we think of stripping baskets for the foreseeable future. I have fished with it a lot and am happy with it; it is my first recommendation when someone comes asking for a stripping basket. It’s compact design and lightweight construction seriously rivals the old bulky stripping baskets. If you have any questions about it give us a call or stop by the shop, we are happy to help.