The following article is written by Hobie Pro Staffer and native Texan, Martin Felts.
If you’re fishing the Texas Gulf Coast (or any other coast) and want to use a simple yet effective technique to catch inshore species like reds, trout or flounder, then try a popping cork rig.
You start by getting a popping cork, which can be found at many tackle stores. I prefer to buy the ones that specify that they have a titanium wire (which prevents kinking). Then, you take a 3-foot piece of 20-lb fluorocarbon leader, and tie one end of the fluorocarbon leader to the bottom wire of the popping cork with a uni or similar knot; on the other end, tie the hook or jig with the same knot.
(Note: Depending on the structure that you’re fishing you may want to go heavier on the leader. If you’re fishing around oyster reefs, barnacles or heavy grass, move up to a 30-lb fluorocarbon).
Remember to adjust the length of the leader to the depth of the water you are fishing!Martin Felts, Hobie Pro Staffer
Bring The Right Bait
If you are trout fishing, try an artificial shrimp such as a DOA shrimp because it’s light and looks just like a shrimp. If you want to fish for redfish, we tie on a Gulp- or Shad-type bait with a soft plastic body that simulates a baitfish. If it’s a tough day, then you can tip the jig with a piece of shrimp to help put some fish in the boat.
Master The Movement
Now to work the rig, you just pitch it up by the bank and work it back slowly, while giving it distinct jerks to create a popping sound with the concave face of the cork.
A lot of the time, redfish and trout will hit it after the pop, and that’s when you set the hook and keep your line tight by reeling. Use a dip net to help land larger fish.
I have caught more fish on a popping rig than any other set-up. My personal set-up consists of the H&H Popping Cork, 20lb fluorocarbon leader, Gamakatsu 3/0 hook and a Gulp Curly tail swimming mullet. If you’re new to using artificial, this is definitely the way to go.