A bobber does not mean someone poking their head into a tub of water trying to grab an apple with their mouth. A cork is more than a stopper for your favorite bottle of wine. And a float is not just a thing people ride during a parade. Actually they often pertain to a method of fishing used by millions. It seems every angler has their own method or style and one of the most productive showed up several years ago and that’s a popping a cork.
Historical papers indicate people used various types of floats, bobbers, or corks as early as mid 1800’s with evidence that somewhere around 1844 Norwegian fisherman used small egg-sized floats. Into the 1940’s, glass floats became popular with and where used to support larger commercial fishing nets. However, today they’ve been replaced by aluminum, plastic, natural cork and Styrofoam for most commercial and sport fishing applications.
Corks, bobbers, floats or what ever you elect to call them still serve the same purpose for today’s anglers. Whether a small boy with a cane pole and a can of worms, sitting on the bank, under a giant cypress tree fishing for bream, a family fishing for Bass, Snook or Redfish or a commercial trawler night fishing for swordfish…at some time or another they use some form of strike indication.
Within the last decade someone came up with the idea to pop their corks on the surface like a lure and quickly discovered it could serve more than one purpose. Not only could the bobber indicate a strike but when popped on the surface it attracted otherwise uninterested fish. This new method of attracting fish also attracted the attention of tackle manufacturers. And soon they began capitalizing on the idea creating what is known today as the Popping Cork.
A relatively simple design it soon became the must have strike indicator in every anglers arsenal, especially those targeting saltwater species like Spotted Sea Trout and Redfish. The idea was to generate enough attention to attract an unsuspecting fish. Then as they investigated the commotion there right in front of them was a tasty morsel of food.
This new method of attracting fish worked so well in fact, the cork soon took on a shape of its own and almost immediately began showing up in tackle shops everywhere. Each brightly colored oval or cigar shaped cork had a reinforced hole and a stainless steel wire shaft threaded through round plastic and brass beads then through the cork. Now when popped it not only created a commotion on the surface as the cork slid up and down the stainless steel shaft it struck the beads making a clicking sound.
This little fishing novelty helped anglers catch thousands of fish throughout the world. It did however have one drawback the stainless steel shaft. After a period of time it would bend preventing the cork from sliding properly.
For years after the invention of popping corks all was well in the fishing industry and they sold like hot cakes on a cold winter’s morning. Just think now we had it all… a strike indicator, a fish attractor and the small brass beads added weight which meant further cast. Could our fishing lives …possibly get any better?
Several years ago the Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle Company based in Minnesota expanded into saltwater market with a product line called Old Bayside. Sensing a need for new and cutting edge products they revolutionized the popping cork market by creating a totally new design to this already popular floatation devices. This completely new style of popping cork called the “Paradise Popper” not only offered the standard oval and cigar shapes one had a concave top designed specifically to move more water.
Not only did we have a new design it went a step further and corrected the one existing drawback of all the others. Instead of using stainless steel shafts they used Titanium which enabled it to spring back to its original shape. I use them exclusively and recommend them to anyone.
Here’s a tip for those using braided line like PowerPro. When using a Paradise Popper or any popping cork for that matter the line often becomes wrapped around the wire shaft. One method I use to prevent this is cutting top swivel off and tying a short piece of heavy Seaguar Leader 40 – 50 lb on the top loop of the wire shaft. I then tie my braid line to the leader. By doing this the heavy leader holds the braid up and further away from the cork allowing the bait to swim under the line instead of over it.
We now understand more about floats and the newest popping cork design so how do you use it? Everyone quickly develops their own techniques but here are the basics.
1. Tie fluorocarbon leader, under the cork to keep your bait about a foot off the bottom. Depending on the bait you’re using you might also place a small split-shot weight 8 to 10 inches above the bait.
2. Make your cast allowing everything to settle in the water, much like using a topwater lure.
3. Now periodically snap the rod tip using your wrist while keeping your rod tip down at about a 45 degree angle. This allows the cork to displace the most water and when done properly the cork should make a gulping sound.
4. Allow the cork to settle for about a minute or two and repeat the process until everything disappears.
5. Finally, when the strike comes do not snatch back on the rod instead quickly take up the slack get the line tight and give a short quick tug to set the hook.
Wintertime’s great to get out fishing especially for sea trout. Purchase some Paradise Poppers, get the boat ready, load up the kids and head out for a great day on the water. And by the way you’ll surely be having fish for dinner.
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