Go long, heavy with tackle for popping-cork rigs

A long, medium-heavy rod gives anglers the ability to make long casts with popping-cork rigs, as well as getting fish to the net more easily.

Throw your popping cork rigs on 7- to 7 1/2-foot medium-heavy spinning gear. The longer rod helps you with greater casting distance and you can achieve greater backcast clearance with the cumbersome rig. This helps prevent accidental snaggings, entanglements and any cast-killing drag.

Moreover, consider the angle of a fishing rod relevant to the boat. As you work the fish closer to boatside, lifting the rod tip tightens the angle and brings the fish closer to the net — an important dynamic when you have the extra length of a popping-cork rig. The longer the rod, the quicker you can close that angle.

Guide Rob Bennett prefers 20- to 40-pound braided main line because an inexperienced angler reeling against the drag won’t twist the line the way he will monofilament. Moreover, braid’s unyielding composition bears three-fold benefit.

“There’s no stretch, so when you hook him, you got him,” Bennett said. “If I get hooked on a dock, I’ll pull that dock down before my line will break. Usually, what happens is the leader knot breaks and I end up only losing my hook.

“Also, when that cork goes under, you better set that hook within a couple seconds or they’ll let it go. With that braid, you can do that.”

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