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Fly line management on skiff

2053 Views 37 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Rich11111
What’s everyone’s suggestions for fly line management for skiffs ? Line mats, stripping bucket, belts , spikes ? I’m still learning to fly fish and so far the wine has been very frustrating, the mats coupled with spikes on deck seem to be a decent route. I don’t think I’ll strip into a basket everytime so it seems it may not be the best bet?

Not sure that’s why I’m asking everyone’s suggestions
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· Zephyr Cove is on FIRE!
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You’re going to get a lot of different answers because this is more of a matter of how people fish and what they prefer. If you already don’t like the idea of a stripping bucket I’d look at the Clint Mats from Texas Fly Caster. @ShannonD on here makes them here in Texas. I use two of them and they work better for me than any of the other options I’ve tried. I had a Carbon Marine bucket and sold it because it was too bulky for my style of fishing. I had Carbon Marine stick on spikes and never mounted them because most people that I’d seen with them had spikes ripped off, they looked like shit after a while and guys said they got sticky and caught their fly line so I sold mine and got the silicone spike mats. I have a belt fly line basket for wading but it looks stupid on the skiff and gets in the way. With two of these rectangular mats you can position them where you want and when you’re done toss them in the hatch. Silicone is impervious to everything unlike the foam spike mats I’ve seen. The silicone sticks to the deck like a suction cup and they are a little heavy so they don’t move around even if you hop on plane and move spots.

 

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I’ve tried a few different things and the bucket seems to be the best for me if I remember to bring it. The bucket isn’t really for stripping into when your getting the fish to bite (for me anyways), it’s just for the first cast to have all the line nice and neat and if I make 2, 3, 4 casts I just deal with the chaos. While we are waiting on the next fish I get all the line back in the bucket so I’m ready for the next one.
 

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Bucket if it’s just me on the boat. I’m strictly pole, so having a bucket on the platform keeps the line from going all over the place and holds my rod. But for the bow I honestly prefer the spikes but I don’t have them on my boat because I don’t like how they look. To be honest though my line always finds something to get hung on so what’s the difference 🤣
 

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I have Dragin Fly mat (heavy- won’t blow out but will sink) and carbon marine spikes (just ordered replacements after losing a few). Don’t own bucket but fishing buddy does and we use it when chasing jacks etc in bigger water. Mats and spikes are fine for redfish under 20 mph.
 

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What’s everyone’s suggestions for fly line management for skiffs ? Line mats, stripping bucket, belts , spikes ? I’m still learning to fly fish and so far the wine has been very frustrating, the mats coupled with spikes on deck seem to be a decent route. I don’t think I’ll strip into a basket everytime so it seems it may not be the best bet?

Not sure that’s why I’m asking everyone’s suggestions
I love my carbon marine bucket. Just strip all your line into it, and then when you are ready to move, hook the fly onto the rim, move the whole thing into the cockpit and head off. It’s heavy enough it won’t move around even when on plane. That is assuming no chop of course.
 

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Long before all the things invented to make fly fishing a bit easier on a skiff... We were taught the basics of line management - and they're still valid.. In no particular order - here they are...
First item - never have more line off of your reel than you actually need... All that line makes managing it tough (understatement) so I learned early on that having enough line out in one situation was not generally what I needed in another spot so I'm constantly adjusting the amount out on the deck - putting it back on the reel if not needed -then stripping it back out when it was needed... After a while you don't even think about it.. (very old school...).

Next is just where to stand when it's your turn up in the bow... I was taught to have my back foot as close to the rear edge of any casting deck as possible - so that I could strip my line back into the cockpit where it wouldn't be underfoot.. More than a few anglers know about this - but they're "creepers" and start out at the back of the deck but with each cast, work their way forward until they're all the to the bow (and stepping all over their own fly lines...
Standing at the rear of your casting area works very well if you can do it all the time... Along with that, is the advice to always stand on the farthest up wind side of your casting deck - so that any line you strip down onto the deck actually has a place to land. Any time your fly line is in the water instead of on the deck you're handicapping yourself when the next cast is needed.. The only time having line in the water is an advantage is when you're actually working a fish expecting a bite - a hookup with line in the water solves a some of your line management problems automatically - if you aren't needing to make that second cast...

Lastly, how you actually handle your rod on the retrieve is the final "line management" technique that most should learn - and something I try to have my anglers do when we're on the water (with varying degrees of success since we're all creatures of habit - and old habits are hard to break). We've all seen that classic saltwater retrieve with the angler crouched down rod extended out while stripping the fly looking for a bite... and, in my opinion the only thing that achieves is an angler complicating things un-necessarily (the only exception is when you're in really shallow waters with spooky fish where standing tall causes fish to spook away from you before they even get to the fly...). Here's how I try to get my anglers to perform while stripping that fly in the backcountry.. .The first is simply to stand up straight and relax as much as possible with your rod tip pointing at your fly at all times, never at any angle to the fly. In the backcountry with a fly rod, you might be making hundreds of casts during a day (doing them crouched down and all tensed up.. ends up with a bad back by the end of most days....). Next I want my anglers holding that rod with the butt buried into their mid section, tip down into or as near as possible to the water- no sticking it out, inviting line to wrap around the rod butt while you're moving that fly....). With the rod butt buried into your belly - that line can't wrap around the butt or the reel at all - and you're not in any position to strike a fish with the rod- a very great line management benefit since strip striking saltwater fish is the only way to go (and most days it's the only way of hooking that fish - that actually works...). Of course all of us will try to strike a fish from time to time with the rod instead of doing what we should do - but strip striking any fish works a whole lot better...

These are the basics and when I'm doing a bit of teaching beginners, while guiding, I try to get my anglers on the right track. All of the "extras" will certainly aid any fly angler who's serious about their craft (or art as some would say) but just using the basic stuff will get you a long way down the road... The only "extra" on my old Maverick? It's a generous line bucket from Carbon Marine since I also have a trolling motor up front now - and we need all the help we can get to keep fly line from the "devil" which is how I think of that trolling motor...

Hope this helps. "Be a hero... take a kid fishing"
 

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You’re going to get a lot of different answers because this is more of a matter of how people fish and what they prefer. If you already don’t like the idea of a stripping bucket I’d look at the Clint Mats from Texas Fly Caster. @ShannonD on here makes them here in Texas. I use two of them and they work better for me than any of the other options I’ve tried. I had a Carbon Marine bucket and sold it because it was too bulky for my style of fishing. I had Carbon Marine stick on spikes and never mounted them because most people that I’d seen with them had spikes ripped off, they looked like shit after a while and guys said they got sticky and caught their fly line so I sold mine and got the silicone spike mats. I have a belt fly line basket for wading but it looks stupid on the skiff and gets in the way. With two of these rectangular mats you can position them where you want and when you’re done toss them in the hatch. Silicone is impervious to everything unlike the foam spike mats I’ve seen. The silicone sticks to the deck like a suction cup and they are a little heavy so they don’t move around even if you hop on plane and move spots.

Second this. I've got one of these mats and it is great, plan on getting a second one at some point. Other than stripping into the cockpit, this is the best I've found so far.
 

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Second this. I've got one of these mats and it is great, plan on getting a second one at some point. Other than stripping into the cockpit, this is the best I've found so far.
One across bulkhead and the other diagonal on my stripping hand side for most conditions and in super windy days stand in front of the casting platform and lay two of the spike mats across the casting platform front to back with ends hanging down. This way your stripping hand is closer to the mat and the line can’t get blown away as easily.
 

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What’s everyone’s suggestions for fly line management for skiffs ? Line mats, stripping bucket, belts , spikes ? I’m still learning to fly fish and so far the wine has been very frustrating, the mats coupled with spikes on deck seem to be a decent route. I don’t think I’ll strip into a basket everytime so it seems it may not be the best bet?

Not sure that’s why I’m asking everyone’s suggestions
I run a line lair mat. I used to use the spikes and the basket. I’d say basket works the best, I just hate hauling it around. Spikes I had a bad experience with. The mat is ok and it’s versatile and easy to throw in the boat or move around which is what I like. They all have pros and cons.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have Dragin Fly mat (heavy- won’t blow out but will sink) and carbon marine spikes (just ordered replacements after losing a few). Don’t own bucket but fishing buddy does and we use it when chasing jacks etc in bigger water. Mats and spikes are fine for redfish under 20 mph.
Are the spikes rubber or foam?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Long before all the things invented to make fly fishing a bit easier on a skiff... We were taught the basics of line management - and they're still valid.. In no particular order - here they are...
First item - never have more line off of your reel than you actually need... All that line makes managing it tough (understatement) so I learned early on that having enough line out in one situation was not generally what I needed in another spot so I'm constantly adjusting the amount out on the deck - putting it back on the reel if not needed -then stripping it back out when it was needed... After a while you don't even think about it.. (very old school...).

Next is just where to stand when it's your turn up in the bow... I was taught to have my back foot as close to the rear edge of any casting deck as possible - so that I could strip my line back into the cockpit where it wouldn't be underfoot.. More than a few anglers know about this - but they're "creepers" and start out at the back of the deck but with each cast, work their way forward until they're all the to the bow (and stepping all over their own fly lines...
Standing at the rear of your casting area works very well if you can do it all the time... Along with that, is the advice to always stand on the farthest up wind side of your casting deck - so that any line you strip down onto the deck actually has a place to land. Any time your fly line is in the water instead of on the deck you're handicapping yourself when the next cast is needed.. The only time having line in the water is an advantage is when you're actually working a fish expecting a bite - a hookup with line in the water solves a some of your line management problems automatically - if you aren't needing to make that second cast...

Lastly, how you actually handle your rod on the retrieve is the final "line management" technique that most should learn - and something I try to have my anglers do when we're on the water (with varying degrees of success since we're all creatures of habit - and old habits are hard to break). We've all seen that classic saltwater retrieve with the angler crouched down rod extended out while stripping the fly looking for a bite... and, in my opinion the only thing that achieves is an angler complicating things un-necessarily (the only exception is when you're in really shallow waters with spooky fish where standing tall causes fish to spook away from you before they even get to the fly...). Here's how I try to get my anglers to perform while stripping that fly in the backcountry.. .The first is simply to stand up straight and relax as much as possible with your rod tip pointing at your fly at all times, never at any angle to the fly. In the backcountry with a fly rod, you might be making hundreds of casts during a day (doing them crouched down and all tensed up.. ends up with a bad back by the end of most days....). Next I want my anglers holding that rod with the butt buried into their mid section, tip down into or as near as possible to the water- no sticking it out, inviting line to wrap around the rod butt while you're moving that fly....). With the rod butt buried into your belly - that line can't wrap around the butt or the reel at all - and you're not in any position to strike a fish with the rod- a very great line management benefit since strip striking saltwater fish is the only way to go (and most days it's the only way of hooking that fish - that actually works...). Of course all of us will try to strike a fish from time to time with the rod instead of doing what we should do - but strip striking any fish works a whole lot better...

These are the basics and when I'm doing a bit of teaching beginners, while guiding, I try to get my anglers on the right track. All of the "extras" will certainly aid any fly angler who's serious about their craft (or art as some would say) but just using the basic stuff will get you a long way down the road... The only "extra" on my old Maverick? It's a generous line bucket from Carbon Marine since I also have a trolling motor up front now - and we need all the help we can get to keep fly line from the "devil" which is how I think of that trolling motor...

Hope this helps. "Be a hero... take a kid fishing"
Thank you that’s explained well and a lot of experienced info for sure.
 

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One across bulkhead and the other diagonal on my stripping hand side for most conditions and in super windy days stand in front of the casting platform and lay two of the spike mats across the casting platform front to back with ends hanging down. This way your stripping hand is closer to the mat and the line can’t get blown away as easily.
I keep a mat on my hatch and will occasionally pull the cooler onto the deck beside the casting platform and put the mat on top so I can strip onto the mat.
 
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