It’s a fair bet that everyone reading this right now has fished with a popping cork before. You’ve probably fished one for reds, trout, snook, and other species, baited up with shrimp, cut fish, or maybe a piece of crab. But, when’s the last time you fished a popping cork with an artificial? Look closely at the shrimp in this pic – it’s plastic.
That shrimp, in particular, is made by Savage Gear. However, good ones are also made by companies like DOA, and of course, the ever-popular GULP! Shrimp will work wonders in many situations. (Yes, this IS one of them). While fishing these plastic shrimp, we found the popping cork method quite effective – if, that is, you made a few adjustments.
First and most importantly, the pauses in between pops needs to be reduced significantly. While we might normally recommend waiting five to 10 seconds between making that cork pop, in this case, just a second or two is all you’ll want to wait. Don’t give the fish time to realize the shrimp is fake. Secondly, between pops it’s most effective to slowly draw the cork towards you by maintaining a bit of constant tension of the line, and moving your rod tip back. Third, the moment the cork begins sinking beneath the surface, set the hook firmly and quickly.
Using these tactics we caught snook, snapper, and a redfish. Would live shrimp have proved even more effective? Perhaps. (We didn’t have any aboard, so I couldn’t compare directly). However, the experienced proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that a plastic shrimp paired with a popping cork will put fish in the boat. So keeping a few of those plastics tucked away in your tacklebox alongside the popping corks is a smart move – one which could save the day, the next time you don’t have any bait on hand.