By Lenny Rudow
Predator fish of all species are attracted to rips, for one simple rea- son: they make eating easier. A rip that forms where rushing river waters are disturbed by rocks attracts trout. A rip generated by currents rushing over shoals attracts striped bass and flounder. A rip caused by colliding bodies of water offshore attracts tuna and
billfish. Anytime, anywhere, for any species you’re targeting: when you spot a
visible rip on the water’s surface, it deserves your undivided angling attention.
Wait a sec – what exactly is a rip? In its most basic form, a rip is simply an area where
the water is disturbed. Usually, though not always, the cause lies beneath the surface:
some form of structure interrupts the flow of the water and causes turbulence, which
creates small standing waves or ripples. You know those little waves that form on
either side of bridge pilings, when the current is moving against them? Those are rips.
The visible ripples formed where a pipe discharges water? Rips again. The swirling
The Anatomy Of A Rip
Reading the water and understanding how to hunt for fish in rips will help
you become a better angler
vortex you see behind a boulder in the
river? That, too, is a rip.
What is it, exactly, that makes it easier
for the fish to eat in such spots? There
are several reasons. First off, if the rip
is created by a solid object in the water,
that object may attract baitfish and prey
critters, just as any other structure would.
Second, temperature differences, oxygen
level, and turbidity can all be affected by
the turbulence of water, and for a number of different reasons, these factors can
make a rip or the area around it attractive to fish. Finally, all that turbulent,
churned-up water tends to dislodge and
disorient those small baitfish and prey
critters, making them easy pickings.
So you see a bit of disturbed water, label
it a rip, cast there, and load your cooler
with fish, right? Not so fast. While many
fishermen catch plenty of fish from rips,
a few basic misconceptions keep them
from attaining high-liner status. First off,
you have to comprehend the anatomy
of the rip itself. To simplify matters, for
now we’re just going to address the most
common form of rips, those created by a
solid structure in the current. (We’ll get
to the less common rips in a moment.)
Whatever structure causes the disturbed
water is going to be upcurrent from what
you see on the surface. In shallow water
that’s just four or five feet deep, the actual
cause of the rip may be only a few feet
away. But in 20 feet of water, the cause
may be significantly farther away from
the visible clues. So if the fish are oriented
to the structure, casting directly into the
middle of a rip isn’t the best way to catch
fish. Instead, focus on the beginning of
the rip, and probe upcurrent from there.
Tuna can swim
more than 100
miles in a day.
How are you going
to find them?