What's Up With That Garbage Can?
Updated: Jul 1, 2022
You're likely here reading this post because you either love fly fishing or at least have an interest in learning more about it. Well, I guess there's an outside chance you were researching garbage cans and Google brought you here, but let's hope that's not the case.
While fly fishing is indeed totally awesome, at times it can also be totally frustrating. A few maddening instances that immediately pop into my mind include casting into a strong headwind, fishing around thickets of tall brush, and my personal pick: line management. I'm a pretty mild-mannered dude, but staying in control of loose fly line, especially when it's windy and there's a ton of crap for it to catch on, can send my blood pressure higher than a SpaceX rocket.
Many shorebound anglers likely know how loose fly line loves to catch on grass, weeds, twigs, and a host of other stuff, but folks fishing on boats have to deal with other line-snagging irritations like trolling motors, cleats, and gear left out on the deck—to name just a few. Oh, and let's not forget how often a loose fly line will get stepped on or wrapped around your foot or how it loves to blow overboard when the wind is honkin'. I'm getting mad just thinking about it!
When fly fishing on a boat, the stripping bucket is the solution to all of these line management nightmares.
Looking a lot like a narrow garbage can, stripping buckets give you a place to store all that loose line as you fish, thus keeping it from getting tangled, stepped on, or blown overboard. After you cast and the retrieve begins, the line is stripped directly into the basket alongside you, where it (hopefully) lays down in nice, clean, tangle-free coils. On a side note, a stripping bucket can also be a handy place to put your rod while moving from spot to spot.
Stripping buckets usually have some heft to keep from moving around while on deck. Some may even have one side of the rim cut out or lowered to make it easier for an angler to strip the line directly inside. Other buckets are even designed with something like built-in cones or spikes at the bottom to help prevent the line from piling up and tangling. Overall, they are pretty simple gadgets that are designed to make your life easier on the water.
Off the top of my head, a couple of bucket brands come to mind, which are linked below. However, because of the simplistic designs of these things, a lot of folks also prefer to craft their own. Whether you choose to build or buy one, just make sure you have a massive sticker collection ready to decorate all that open real estate on the outside of your new bucket!