Capt. Mike Hogan heads to the Middle Ground Rips with Shaun Ruge of Riptide Charters for a fish packed morning vertically jigging using heavy Pro Tail Paddles.
Rod: Medium action 7' MH St. Croix Rod
Reel: Shimano Saragosa 8000
Line: 30lb PowerPro braid
Leader: 30lb fluorocarbon leader tied via a double uni knot.
You could argue that stripers and trout are similar in how they stage on the structure in heavy current. While in bigger, deeper waters, a striper might behave like a trout waiting for a fly when it stages behind drop-offs, boulders, wrecks or whatever large structure might be present, eagerly waiting for a bait fish to be swept down by the tide. You have three potential options here.
- Anchor in front of the structure and drift backward.
- Keep the boat in gear to hold the position and drift the bait.
- Make repeated drifts over the structure.
In any of the three cases, the key point here is that you are attempting to imitate a baitfish being swept down with the tide, over the available structure — all with your rod and lure.
When Fishing a Steady Position: Positioning yourself in front of the structure is a great method to focus on just one point of the structure you are targeting. Be sure to have a plan for hooking up with a large fish that requires you to drift off anchor quickly.
- Anchor or maintain enough forward gear to hold the boat in position about 50 feet in front of the structure.
- Drop your lure to the bottom and jig it upwards four or five times.
- Once you feel the lure rising off the bottom, drop it back down.
When Drifting: I tend to favor drifting, personally, over anchored structure jigging, as you can fish all areas around a piece of structure. In many cases, stripers will position themselves in a number of different places around the structure. Drifting is also ideal when vertically jigging rips caused by a shoal. By not being tethered to the bottom, you are able to move around more easily and try different spots.
Run up tide about 200 feet in front of the structure you would like to fish.
Drop your lure to the bottom and jig it upwards four or five times.
Once you feel the lure rising off the bottom, drop it back down.