By Tim Barefoot
I have started using fixed-position as well as sliding corks more and more over the past few years. Recognizing the effectiveness of different styles of cork is important for different situations. Considerations include water depth and temperature, current—or lack of current—and target species.
Also, it has become evident that not all corks make the same noise. That can be a turn on—or a turn off—to fish at different times of the day, and especially in different currents and/or depths.
For example: A couple weekends ago, we had a great morning bite from striped bass using a 2-inch oval (chugging) cork. It was one of those bite-on-every-cast situations everyone dreams of.
We noticed the bite slowing down a little as the sun got higher. A simple switch to a much quieter pencil-shaped cork brought the bite back to almost every cast again. We were fishing the same lure under the cork; the only change we made was the cork itself.
The more current, and the more broken-up current you have, the more noise you want your cork to make as an attractant. This holds true for pretty much every species, but let’s explore the topic a little deeper. The reasoning behind making a certain type noise with your cork is to imitate the sound of fish busting bait on the surface.
In the case of striped bass and snook, they make a popping sound when they eat a bait on the surface, as opposed to a speckled trout that “slurps” a bait off the surface or a red drum that has a mouth on the underside of its head and has to get on top of a bait to eat it.
There is a lot here to unpack regarding the size, shape and how much weight you’re trying to suspend under the cork—too much to cover in this article. The point is, don’t just stick with the same cork you’ve always fished. Just like you change lures or baits when the bite slows, try experimenting with different cork sizes and styles. Pay attention to the way your lure or bait is presented as well as how the fish react.
I’ve evolved to fishing a ¾-ounce jig and 7-inch Super Fluke under a cork for larger fish, so a 3-inch cigar float is not an option for this size bait. The 3-inch cigar float is perfect for the 3/8-ounce jig/shrimp combo, and it makes the perfect sound for speckled trout and drum in the backwater.
I’ll close with this: Check out my videos that describe the different size and shape of floats I use and what type sounds they make. Here’s a teaser: Have you ever thought of using a popping cork offshore? For more details, check all this out on the website.
For more from Capt. Tim Barefoot, visit his website at barefootcatsandtackle.com.