Fishing with an artificial lure under a popping cork is a popular way of attracting and catching speckled trout. The noise created by the cork draws attention to its location, and once trout see it, they spot the lure. It adds the element of sound to a lure that primarily relies on sight.
Some popping corks have a cupped face that acts to push water out in front of it, creating a splash along with a noise. Others are oval and rely on rattles on both ends to make the noise.
One of the frustrating aspects of fishing with a popping cork is that it’s not uncommon for trout to hit the cork instead of the lure, and they often hit it with enough authority to push anglers into switching to topwater lures immediately.
That’s not a bad decision, and it often leads to catching a limit, but it doesn’t stop the frustration of getting hit by a fish when you didn’t have any chance of hooking it. Some anglers will use topwater lures like Zara Spooks or Rebel Pop-Rs, removing the rear treble hook and tying their leader in its place, then adding the artificial shrimp.
It’s not a bad solution, although those lures lack the beads and weights that popping corks have, making them far less effective at making the noise that popping corks are designed to make.
MX Plugs, a North Carolina lure-maker, has the perfect solution. Their Poppin-Cork has beads and weights, along with a cupped-face, wooden plug with a rotating blade in front. It all slides back and forth on a wire leader, just like normal popping corks. The major difference is that the plug has a treble hook dangling from its belly but no treble at the rear, allowing anglers to tie their shrimp leader.
MX Plugs has another version of the same Poppin-Cork that also has a scent chamber, giving anglers the ability to add liquid scents that bleed into the water, giving the cork the capability to lure by sight, sound, and smell.