The introduction of the popping cork has been one of the more successful additions to the tools available to inshore saltwater anglers over the last couple of decades. This rig has become very popular for inshore fishing for redfish, seatrout and flounder.
The versatility of the popping cork rig extends to fishing live or dead shrimp, soft plastic imitations or jig-and-trailer set ups. Those latter two are particularly suited to the rig when using scent impregnated baits like Berkley’s Gulp! Alive.
The rig consists of a cork that may be oval or have a concaved top. A wire with loops on each end runs through the cork and below that float are several metal beads on the wire. A leader is tied to the lower loop of the rig, with a hook or jig head completing that end of the set up. The main line is tied to the top wire loop.
When the rig is cast out and settles in the water, giving the line a sharp jerk makes the cork “pop” on the surface. Also, the metal beads playing up and down on the wire add a clacking sound. Both those noises supposedly resemble the sounds made by feeding predators.
As the float drifts with the tidal current, occasional jerks keeps the bait moving and acting alive. The noise attracts nearby fish to check out commotion. When they arrive and see a bait suspended and then darting upward, they often attack it.
For fishing shallow flats and around oyster bars, a popping cork rig is hard to beat.