Keep reds, trout from hitting the cork, not the shrimp

A brightly colored popping cork might draw strikes from a predator fish that notices the surface disturbance before the bait hanging beneath.

Despite our angling intensions, fish do what they want to do. Case in point; predators — mostly redfish — actually chomping the popping cork.

A couple of options here: First, downsizing your cork might present a less-attractive target. You might also consider switching from a clacking cork rig to lone popping cork. Switching colors or even wrapping corks in black electrical tape might tone down any visual attraction.

Often, it’s just the sound and commotion the fish favor, and the cosmetics have little impact on the game. Guide Rob Bennet said fish occasionally hit the cork in those predawn moments because they can’t see it. Predators in low-light scenarios often attack areas of disturbance or frantic silhouettes that they assume to be prey.

In any case, industrious anglers often snare cork-crunchers by rigging a stinger hook to the object of their interest. You can use pre-made stinger harnesses, like those made by Owner, or fashion your own from a 4-inch piece of 30-pound fluorocarbon with a No. 4 treble hook on one end and a Coastlock snap swivel on the other. Snap the swivel around a clacking cork’s upper stem swivel and pin one point of the treble in the cork.

Guide Tom Siwarski has another remedy. “If I see fish bite the cork three or four times in a morning, I’ll tell my anglers to start throwing a topwater,” he said.

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