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Catch Redfish On Popping Corks

by Lee Padrick, October 2, 2013 

The popping cork rig has proven over time to be a deadly technique for catching shallow water redfish.  This simple rig will keep the lure in the strike zone and attract predators with splashes and rattles.  It is an essential part of my approach to putting redfish in the boat.

There are many popping cork products on the market, corks that gurgle, splash, rattle, and click.  The corks come in many types of shapes and colors.  Some popping corks can even be purchased pre-rigged.  The method I prefer is the oval popping cork.  This cork produces a rattle and click that sounds much like a baitfish being eaten, or a shrimp popping.  Also, with the right tackle setup, this cork casts extremely well, in comparison to many of the other products on the market.

I like to have an oval popping cork rig tied on a 8' medium action rod and spinning reel with 8-10 lb braid on the boat at all times.  I tie about 1' of 20 lb fluorocarbon leader between the cork and the lure.  A 3/8 oz. jighead and a thin soft plastic is a great combination for achieving long casts with this setup.  A couple of feet of 20 lb fluorocarbon leader between the braid and the cork keeps this rig from getting tangled.   

This method works great on those windy days where its hard to keep (or get!) your lure into the strike zone.  In these conditions, I like to position the boat where I have the wind at my back, so I can make long casts.  And the wind and current will assist in keeping my lure in the strike zone for extended periods of time, increasing my hookup ratio.  Marsh points, oyster beds, grass beds, and slight depressions in flats are great places to use this technique.  

On other days, the advantage of having your popping cork rigged up is because you can put a lure, for an extended period of time, in front of a fish that has shown interest in other presentations.  For example, if I'm fishing with a topwater lure and I get a blowup (but no hookup), I can grab my popping cork rig and cast back to the area where the fish showed interest in my topwater.  The fish has reacted to an injured baitfish (my topwater), and now it sees an injured baitfish in the area again.  It will usually react by attacking the lure.  Using this technique, you will increase your chances at success.

The key mistake I used to make was fishing my lure too deep under the cork.  You have to adjust your leader length to take advantage of the depth of the water you are fishing.  But I've found that 1' of leader is an optimal depth for fishing shallow water at high and low tides.  The short leader will likely keep your jighead from getting snagged on structure, and it is still long enough to keep the lure in the strike zone.

Another added benefit of fishing a popping cork is that you will catch other species, mainly speckled trout and flounder, and they will usually be quality fish. 

I like to give the cork a jerk about every 5 seconds, but try different cadences and see what works best for you.

So rig up a popping cork the next time you go fishing, try this time-honored technique, and put more fish in the boat!


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Video of catching redfish on popping corks:

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