In my opinion, the belly basket is one of my favorite stripping baskets once these two additional steps are taken.
The Belly Bucket by Sea Level Flyfishing is one of my favorite stripping baskets because it is light and deeper than most which keeps my line in the basket on a windy day. With a few minor alterations it is nearly perfect. Photo by Al Q.
The first alteration is to round out the corners of the rod holder foam. The original pointed edges will grab the line coming out of your basket. Rounding these corners allow for less friction and catching point, experiment with the amount of diameter in the curve. Photo by Al Q.
I like to add fingers of heavy trimming line to hold my line like a hand holding a loose coil of string. I am not a fan of those rounded foam cones, they don’t work well when you have to walk and your line moves around in the basket. Adding these fingers will make a big difference in eliminating tangles coming out of your basket. I use around seven trimmer lines, but add more if you feel necessary. Photo by Al Q.
Drill your holes with a bit that is slightly smaller in diameter. Photo by Al Q
Melt on end of your trimmer Lines and flatten the end before it cools. Photo by Al Q
The flattened end will be on the bottom of the basket after you feed the top part through the hole. Photo by Al Q
Add glue to bottom of basket prior to pulling the trimmer line all the way through from the basket side and let set. Photo by Al Q
photo by Al Q
The bottom should look like this after your flu all the spaced out trimmer lines. Photo by Al Q
The inside trimmer lines can be trimmed if too long, once the glue sets overnight. Photo by Al Q
It’s just around the corner! I had the privilege of working with my pal, Ray Hutcherson of Sea Level Flyfishing and providing some input into the R&D of this new stripping basket called the “Belly Basket”. I also consulted with my saltwater surf guru and fly fishing bud, Bob Popovics. I haven’t gotten my hands on the new prototype yet, but Ray just put in the mail and hopefully I will have it for the Double Haul Ball next Saturday to show off. I really think this basket will be a winner. Its light, sturdy, and deeper than most baskets on the market. It will fair better in windy conditions, a real concern I have had with all the baskets I have used to date. These baskets should arrive in mid April and will retail for around $85. I think the original order shipping is around 100 baskets so I seriously give Ray a call because i think they be very popular once they hit the states.
some early notations on the original pro type that I made…photos by Al Q