hear people talk about rips. Rips are glacial eskers
or ridges that were formed during the last Ice
Age and have since become submerged as the ocean waters
have risen. The tide or current hits this wall
on the bottom of the ocean and the water, having no
place to go but up, creates a very visible rip
line, making it a great place for stripers to lurk
in wait for the baitfish that the tide brings with
it. It is also one of the easiest types of structure
for a newcomer to fish. Rips along with lumps are all
striped bass magnets. Bass congregate on these
bottom structures and make them the spots you want
to target. When fishing a rip, position your boat ahead
of the rip, and angle the boat into the tide and slide
along the rip line. Study the rip and you will see
that some spots look fishier than others. Every rip,
just as every lump has its own peculiarities, and it
is learning how to make your lures drop into these
spots that will fill your limit. Rips occur wherever
current flows over an area where the depth changes
rapidly. For example, rips can be created by shoals,
ledges, reefs, rock piles and even wrecks. Basically
anything that disrupts the contour of the surrounding
bottom can lead to rip formation. On the surface, a
rip is identified by a distinct line of choppy water
known as a rip line. The force of all the water
flowing over the reef or shoal pushes against the surface
creating the line of chop.
So why do rips attract and hold stripers and other
fish such as bluefish, false albacore and summer flounder?
because rips provide a place where fish can obtain food
without extending much energy. The flow of water over the
obstruction creates a pocket of calm or dead water on the
down current side of the structure. Stripers like to hold
in this pocket conserving energy while waiting for baitfish
and other food morsels to be swept past by the current.
The current acts as a food conveyor belt. When the fish
see food they will dart into the current and grab it, then
return to their lie.
Stripers prefer to hold in the dead water pocket close
to the obstruction especially when the current is running
strong and during the midday hours. This presents a difficult
situation for light tackle fishermen and fly anglers.
Fishermen trolling with wire lines or deep drifting baits
have an advantage. There are times when fish will feed
on or close to the surface allowing fly fishermen to
get in on the action. The best time to fish a rip is
at first light, dusk and overcast days. Occasionally,
especially in the fall, fish will surface feed for hours.
Current has the greatest effect on the feeding habits
of stripers. When the current is really chugging along,
such as the middle three hours of a tide or during times
of spring and a full moon, stripers will tend to stay in
the calm water and not feed. At slack tide, bait will often
disperse and stripers tend not to want to extend the effort
to chase it down. Knowing these facts, it makes sense to
plan fishing trips around the first two hours of either
tide and during the quarter and half moon phases.
How they form
Rip currents occur
around the world at "surf" beaches,
including both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the Great Lakes,
and the Gulf of Mexico. Erroneously called undertows and rip tides,
these currents can last from a few minutes to a few hours, while
other, more permanent ones, associated with groins or jetties, may
last days. Unlike undertows, rip currents are shallow water processes
that do not pull a person under. They form when water, piled against
the shore, begins to return to deeper water. Typically, strong wind
and swell waves push water over a sandbar allowing excess water to
collect. Eventually, the excess water starts to return seaward through
low areas in the sandbar, "ripping" an
Near the beach, rip currents
are narrow (30-60 feet wide)
with increasing width as they
extend up to 1000 feet offshore.
The velocity of the water can
be as high as 5 mph, which
is faster than an Olympic swimmer.
Rip currents can be killers. If you are caught in one,
how you respond could make the difference between life
How To Spot Them...
Rip currents can be readily seen from the shore. If the current
has recently formed, you will see murky water (as compared to the
surrounding water) due to sediment mixing as a channel is opened
in the sandbar. However, if the rip current has lasted a long time,
the color of the water will appear darker (compared to the surrounding
water color) due to the channel carved by the flowing water.
Also, you can spot a rip current by looking for objects or foam moving steadily
seaward. Wave heights are also lower and choppier in rip currents . Wearing
polarized sunglasses can aid in locating rip currents by cutting the glare.
of NOAA and NWS
All Stripers All The Time!!