If you’ve ever been inshore fishing for redfish or speckled trout you probably have at least seen anglers with multiple rods rigged with popping corks. There’s a good reason for that. They catch fish! There are times when you can’t get a bite without one.
Popping corks typically work best when the water has some ripple or chop but can occasionally work on slick days. There is a myriad of popping cork styles available. Basic rule of thumb is the more slender cylindrical shaped corks work better on calmer days or clear water and the larger oval and cupped corks obviously make a bigger splash and noise on windy days or dirty water.
Besides the shape of the cork, the components also have a major factor in the noise output. Glass or plastic beads, brass balls, and other accessories add the clack against the wire and cork. Rigging is usually done by tying the top of the rig to your mainline and attaching a 2-3 ft leader of fluorocarbon line to a lead head grub, weightless soft plastic or a live bait hook. Typically the goal is to slightly keep your bait just above grass, rocks or sandy bottoms. Longer leaders can be used in deeper water but are hard to cast. Versamaxx makes several corks that the leader length can be adjusted without retying.
Always experiment with various retrieves and pauses until you dial in what the fish want for that day. Don’t be afraid to get really aggressive sometimes, it can make the difference.