Fishing With Popping Corks, Does It Work?
There is a lot of truth in the statement “less is more”. This idea can be applied to many facets of life, but this saying rings especially true in the world of fishing. So, the question is, does Fishing with Popping Corks work?
Too many anglers work too hard to catch fish. Fancier lures and rigs rarely mean more fish. They usually mean more money and more work.
Popping corks are perfect for the angler looking to follow the rule of “less is more”. They’re a 2-6 inch bobber like mechanism that holds the bait at one place in the water column. As soon as they hit the water, they make a popping noise and move the water around as they wait for the bait below them to be taken.
The cork causes a nice amount of commotion and provides anglers with peace of mind that their bait is presented well. So, when to use a popping cork fishing you ask?
How To Set Up A Popping Cork
Popping corks are simple to rig. You have two main options when setting them up.
The first is to attach the top portion to your main line and tie some leader to the bottom portion. This allows for you to choose the exact length of leader and have more subtlety due to the leader being lighter than your main line.
The second option is to only attach the popping cork to your leader. If you choose the cork with holes at both ends or a slit in the middle, you can easily adjust where you would like the cork to sit on your line.
Depending on where you want your bait in the water column, you’ll need to adjust your cork. The floating ability of the cork will consistently keep your bait at that place in the water. Make sure to leave enough room from your rod tip in order to bring the fish in and to cast.
When using a bobber rig, try to gauge what fish you are targeting and what you are using for bait. Most of the time with live pin fish or pilchards, you don’t want too much distance from the bobber to the hook, you want to keep the fish closer to the surface. If you’re fishing
If you’re fishing and the tidal pulls are strong, you’ll need to rig a split shot on the line a few inches below the cork or near the hook. This will prevent the bait from floating behind the cork. Depending on the aggressiveness of your live bait, they may swim to the surface to escape a predator below them.
Check Your Leader
Another thing to remember when fishing with a popping cork is to pay attention to your leader length. These corks will hold your bait in an exact place. So if you’re fishing up against a grass line, be sure that your bait is hovering right outside of it at the proper depth. It may take a few adjustments, but the ability to choose your depth is helpful.
It doesn’t always mean that longer leaders are better. It means that you have the freedom to use the exact length of leaders you think will work! Fluorocarbon and monofilament both work as leaders, but fluorocarbon is going to be less visible.
What Popping Cork Should I Use?
There are an overwhelming amount of popping corks available to purchase. While the majority will work just fine, there are certain designs of corks that make your life easier. Like mentioned earlier, the pre-rigged corks come with beads attached and increase the commotion in the water. If possible, purchase these!
The inexpensive corks have holes at the top and bottom similar to a topwater bobber. You can slide your leader right through these holes and put a stop wherever you would like it to sit.
Other options have a slit down the middle that allow you to place it wherever you would like on the line. These are nice because you can easily unnatach and reaatach without tying new knots or switching leader lengths.
Some of the higher end corks come with wire that runs through the center. On the ends of the wire are swivels or loops that you can easily attach to line. These are great options that allow you the freedom to choose the length of your leader.
Best Bait for your popping cork
Once you have rigged the cork and determined if you need a split shot, you can select your bait. The most common bait to go along with the cork is live shrimp. Shrimp will catch all types of fish and are light enough to keep the popping cork functioning well.
You can also use sardines and herring to catch snook or tarpon. When using live bait, be sure you’re using a circle hook.
Live bait is not the only option for corks. If you attach an ⅛ or ¼ ounce jighead with a soft plastic, you’ll also catch fish. Grubs or shrimp are smart choices for your soft plastics. You can diversify your bait and lure choices for popping corks.
The corks act as an extra attractant so whatever you think you need below it, go ahead and tie it on.
When to Use a Popping Cork
There are a few instances when anglers should use a popping cork. First, if the water clarity is poor, a popping cork is smart to use.
The extra commotion on the surface is always useful in saltwater fishing, but it works especially well if the water is dirty. The clicks and pops from the cork will trigger the fish into attacking. You may see some fish attack your cork instead of the bait, but they’ll quickly learn.
A second instance in which you should use a cork is if you’re teaching a younger or beginning angler about the world of saltwater fishing. Corks show the difference between saltwater and freshwater fishing. In freshwater, anglers are taught to be quiet and stealthy.
In saltwater, the more noticable your bait is, the better. New anglers will quickly learn the importance of this all while catching fish.
How to fish with a Popping Cork
You can fish a popping cork in a couple ways. You can either cast and let it sit or drift it. Either of these options work, but it’s smart to try both methods before you settle on one.
If you’re shore fishing and letting it sit, don’t be lazy! Many freshwater anglers will see a popping cork and immediately think they should fish it like a bobber. This isn’t true! They’re equipped with beads and created in their specific shape for a reason.
While you don’t need to constantly be moving these corks, don’t just let it sit. Every 15 or 20 seconds you should jerk the cork a few times to create some commotion on the surface.
The jigging will bring attention to the cork and cause the fish to notice your bait. You won’t catch nearly as many fish if you only let your bait sit. Pop and jerk the bait around as much as you would like. It’s a great way to fish if you’re looking for a fun, relaxing day on the water.
If you’re drifting or trolling, you don’t need to be as aggressive with your popping. The movement of the cork from the drift will cause noise and lead to fish.
Where to fish with a Popping Cork
Choosing the best location to fish with a popping cork is another challenge. Fish a popping cork on a calm day/night around structure. The noise of the cork will lure the fish away from cover and entice them to strike your bait.
Other smart places to fish popping corks include creek mouths, mangrove trees, docks, grass and sandbars. Basically, popping corks work any place you know fish like to congregate. The bait sits right above them and the noise of the cork makes it irresistible.
Don’t knock the simplicity of the popping cork. If nothing else is hitting, tie on a cork and you’ll be surprised at how many fish you catch!