When fishing a popping cork for redfish, speckled trout and flounder, anglers can use any rod and reel combination, but should select something with enough backbone to work the rig properly. Capt. Anthony Randazzo, a five-time redfish tournament winner, recommends a Quantum 7-foot Tour Edition Signature Series medium-action spinning rod.
“Any of the Quantum rods would work very well for popping a cork,” said the owner of Paradise Plus Guide Service in Buras, La. “Anglers don’t need a really stout rod to pop a cork. They can get away with a medium-light action rod, but the Quantum 7-foot Tour Edition Signature Series medium-action spinning rod has enough backbone to set the hook. The most important thing, though, is to find a rod that’s comfortable to use and gives a good hook set.”
One of the oldest and still most effective methods for targeting many inshore saltwater species, a popping cork rig consists of a live shrimp or other bait suspended beneath a float. Anglers can attach the float directly to the line or dangle a length of fluorocarbon leader beneath the cork. Besides live bait, anglers can attach a jighead sweetened with either a natural bait or a soft plastic creation to the leader.
Toss the rig to a good area, usually near a grassy shoreline, over a reef or off a point. Let it sit for a few moments, then jerk the Quantum rod to make the cork pop across the surface. Let it rest again. The commotion caused by the cork might attract cruising fish thinking one of their competitors attacked the bait. The popping action also flips the bait up. Fish often grab it as it falls back down.
“With the Quantum 7-foot Tour Edition Signature Series medium-action spinning rod, I can throw the lightest jig or a big popping cork and get a good hook set with either application,” Randazzo said. “I sometimes use a 7-foot medium-light Quantum Cabo saltwater baitcasting rod for cork fishing when I’m close to the boat and not making long casts. For making short, really accurate casts, I can make an underhand pitch with it and the bait comes down nice and quietly.”
For booking trips with Captain Randazzo, call 504-656-9940 or 504-628-4526. Online, see www.paradise-plus.com.