3 Reasons to Use A Popping Cork
If the Water Clarity is Bad
When you’re fishing in an area that has murky or stained water you may need to give a popping cork a shot. If you look into the water and can not see very far you can bet that the fish’s visibility is affected also. When that’s the case you can cater to their sense of smell, their “hearing” or both. A popping cork is designed to make a racket. The beads above and below the float create a “click” sound when you twitch your rod tip as you retrieve your bait or lure. The sound it makes mimics other fish feeding on the top of the water. This triggers the instinct of the fish to get in on the action. Have you ever sat and watched your friends eat a pizza without wanting a slice? I didn’t think so. Fish feel the same way. Popping corks cater to their ability to hear when visibility is low in the water.
If You Are A Beginner Level Angler or Teaching a Kid to Fish
A popping cork is designed with bright colors to be visible as you’re retrieving it. Fishermen of all skill levels can catch fish using this tactic. Please don’t misunderstand me, using a popping cork is deadly effective in a lot of instances. It’s not child’s play. The cork can be casted long distances and a fisherman can visualize the retrieve of the lure to help create the proper action. The idea is to retrieve the lure or bait beneath the cork with short twitches. Many times mimicking a shrimp scooting backwards to escape a predator fish. Depth level can be set on the leader to keep the hook the proper depth off the bottom when the rig is paused. These things all add up to very simple fishability when you tie on a popping cork rig. Tie one on the next time you have a kid on the boat and you’ll see what I mean.
Because They Work!
Like I’ve already said, a popping cork can be your secret weapon in some situations. Especially when you know there are fish in an area and they are not chewing. While you may be able to cover more water faster with a lure or bait rigged more traditionally, these things will sometimes get the fish to eat when other tactics will not. The commotion it makes can be critical on a slow bite. At times you will actually have fish come up and smack the cork itself instead of your lure. I keep my favorite topwater plug tied to another rod on the boat and handy for this situation. Just stop the retrieve with your cork, place that rod in a holder and quickly send that fish a topwater plug. Many times you’ll get an explosion on that second rod.
You can use either an artificial lure, most commonly soft plastics, or live bait like shrimp or pilchards with a popping cork. For artificial bait I prefer a 1/16 ounce jig head so it sinks slowly after I pop it once or twice. I pair that with Gulp soft plastics. (My favorite color combo is the 3” gulp shrimp in “new penny” color). You can picture the shrimp trying to squirm away as you pop the cork with your rod tip.
The other option is live bait under the cork. Circle hooks work best because this type of rig often creates a little slack in your line. When using a circle hook you can wind the slack up and lift your rod tip and it’s fish on! When I hook a shrimp under a cork I put the hook through the last segment of it’s tail because it’s harder than the rest of the little critter and can hold up to the strain of the popping action from the cork. If you have a pilchard or pinfish on, just find the right intensity to make your popping action so you don’t pop off your bait fish ( I pop it less often if I’m using a live bait fish).
The final trick for fishability when using braided line is to tie an 8 to 10 inch piece of fluorocarbon leader material to the top of the popping cork before you attach your main line. This prevents tangles and wind knots around the top swivel of your cork because the fluorocarbon is stiffer and keeps the fine-diameter braid away from the top swivel. Set your leader length to just short of the depth you will be fishing and go to work. You won’t regret adding the popping cork to your arsenal.
I hope this article helps you catch more fish. Remember, if you don’t have the Fishin’ Wizard App, go download it for free at get.fishinwizard.com. Subscribe to our newsletter for more articles like this one.