Stripping guard you say? I can see the raised eyebrow from some… No, that is not the big burly guy standing outside of a gentleman’s club that keeps out the troublemakers. For those of you that have spent much time fishing big streamers in the salt, spent the day chugging poppers for bass, or pounded the banks for big browns you know exactly what I am talking about.
The beating that your stripping finger can take, especially on extended trips can be brutal. Some textured lines like Scientific Angler’s Sharkskin can be particularly tough on your skin. Sometimes on hard fast takes or fish that can hit and run fast the burns you can put into a slow to reacting finger can really be nasty.
We often get asked to talk about gear that can truly make a difference in your trip and so often we get drawn toward the obvious. (Rods, reels, lines, waders, flies, etc…) Stripping guards are just small spandex sleeves that fit snugly over your finger. They typically will last for a day or two of hard fishing and then you will probably need to throw it away and opt for a new one. They are inexpensive and take up almost no room at all in your bag as well.
I have seen people use athletic tape and other types of materials and they can work as well but often the water tends to lead to these options falling off or out of position. Remember, your fly line can pick up all kinds of abrasive items. The last thing anyone wants is to spend thousands of dollars on a trip of a lifetime only to have a gimpy casting hand midway through the trip.
Yeah yeah…. I know tough guy…. We have all had to play hero when called upon, super glued skin together, pushed 2/0 hooks through your cheek, and tackled bull sharks to keep them from attacking a yet to be revived tarpon. If that is you, then perhaps stripping guards aren’t your thing. For the rest of us mere mortals, that is the one piece of gear you will always find in my bag!
If you haven’t given them a try, you can check them out here. STRIPPING GUARD! You can thank me later.
Tight Lines and Loose Pants,