Poppin' cork jiggin'

jiggerjohn

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I've grown very tired of muddy waters ! It seems this year here in Western PA, that we've had more rain, high water levels, and MUD than ever! This made light jigging tough, though the nice fish calling vibrations of the bottom scratchers always got us a few. So I decided to search the net for a more reliable dirty water jigging technique (our rains don't seem to want to stop!). Eventually I found a remarkable husband & wife guiding team , Janie and Freddy Petty, who have worked the Gulf Coast of Texas for over a combined 80 years! Although they are saltwater captains, their method of Popping Cork jigging seems adaptable anywhere. Captain Freddie found that increasingly difficult redfish and seatrout could be lured out of the dingy Gulf waters (lots of dredging & pollution to soil their waters) with his special hand made, LOUD popping cork rig. As Capt. Janie described to me, " cast it for long distance,as the fish are very spooky, then pop the cork to get its loud click, and allow the jig to sink down the 18-24" of leader that is tied on. Fish get curious over the noise, come to investigate, and see the floundering, seemingly wounded little critter and suck it up! There website ( fishingwithpettys.com  ) shows TONS of big fish caught with their exclusive use of this method.

So I asked Janie if this would work in freshwater. Encouraged by her extreme knowledge and cheerful advice, I set out to try their unique FP3 poppin cork and a small crappie jig in a local lake (yeah it was muddy from an all day and a half rain at the week's beginning). Several other bait guys had set up and I think during my entire stay I saw 2 separate individual each bring in  1 small fish. Yet I was taking nice crappies or big bluegill quite often from the murk ! It was just as Janie described to me -you'd get a nice "clack" (I could here it even after a long distance cast  -and my wife says I'm almost deaf!), wait for the drift down of the jig, then pop again. Half of my hooked fish came during the followup pop, which seemed to set the hook instantly. Good thing as these wary fish took very gently - some nodded the cork ,but not many.  But it's like Janie had warned, when my rig slightly tangled or I got the float out of position (not upright as it normally sits) -if it didn't POP, I didn't get a hit! Who'd a thought that hard pressured , shy fish would want more NOISE??!!

I'm wondering if more of our members have experimented with popping corks to deliver their jigs? This is a subject we should definately explore! As for me, this fall I'll be "poppin' my cork" !!
 

Bucho

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It is killing me to read about such promising yet totally unfamiliar methods without pictures. Please somebody show me what such cork looks like in detail!
 

Hawnjigs

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Did a Google search, wow, didn't realize how popular popping corks were. Speshly cuz they are made in China cheap.

I tried the float-dropper method LONG ago, but moved on because it made catching fish too EZ.

What was funner was attaching a beefy double hook directly to the homemade concave face wooden floats.
 

Bucho

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Hawnjigs said:
Did a Google search, wow, didn't realize how popular popping corks were.  Speshly cuz they are made in China cheap.

I tried the float-dropper method LONG ago, but moved on because it made catching fish too EZ.  

What was funner was attaching a beefy double hook directly to the homemade concave face wooden floats.

Economic high scale production is a reason for popularity, not a hinder. It goes together.

Too EZ? From most people, I would take that as a joke. With you, this is somewhat different. What species are we talking about?

Seatrout anglers here (real trout) tie in popper heads in reverse and call them sliders because they don`t like too much splash. Bombarda floats are streamlined for a reason. I do not think that will fly in the baltic. Then again, a suspending - jerking shrimp fly/jig presentation is definetly worth a shot.  I once saw an usd shrimp pattern (to avoid bottom snags) on a slow sinking bombarda being retrieved with twitches that effectively imitated a fleeing shrimp.

How bout northern pike? open water night walleye?
 

jiggerjohn

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Hi Bucho, Here's a link from the Pettys ,detailing their special Pop Corking rig, in a short article titled "Hoppin and Dropping", and showing pictures. http://fishingwithfp3.com/

As Hawn mentions, the poppin cork method is very popular around saltwater bays & shallows, mostly for Red Drum, flounder, and speckled trout (tho seem to catch everything), and come in various shapes, weights, and varieties. However, a lot are rather cheaply constructed and not as effective as one well designed and individually hand crafted by an expert specialist to do the job. Fred Petty has some serious secrets woven into his FP3, very rugged construction, and easily "out noises" any of the cork rigs that I've seen in the Outer Banks on trips down there (going down again in 2 weeks!!). I doubt if many have caught as many fish on popping cork jigging as the Pettys during their daily guiding trips over the past 40 years!

As to freshwater I'm just beginning to see what will be produced, but yesterday bluegills and crappies jumped all over it. I'm quite anxious to see what ,as you mentioned, pike and shallow roaming walleye will do with it, but from initial work I believe this will really "kick the door in" for pulling them up -especially in cloudy water conditions! Captain Janie Petty mentioned that they usually fish 1/4 oz jigheads below their FP3, with an amazing , very heavily garlic scented , high action soft plastic from AM Fishing ( https://www.facebook.com/AMFishing956/ ). If this duo doesn't pull in trophy rainbow trout, stripers, channel cats, and even muskies I'll be very much surprised!
 

AtticaFish

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Using a rattle cork or popping cork is pretty common place on Lake Erie in the spring when the white bass are spawning.  Those corks/floats have lots of weight to them so allow for long casts from shore.  Most of those guys will use a twister grub or even a tandem twister grub as their lure of choice.  They wing them out and they chug them along.  When the white bass school up, they attack the schools of minnows up near the surface so i always assumed the sound mimicked that and was what brought other fish in to feed as well.

I do fish for crappie and bluegill on occasion with a very similar method, just not with a slip rattle cork.  Instead, i just use one of the bigger pear shaped weighted floats like this....

042621188095.jpg


These are pegged on no more than 2 feet above a jig and just aggressively pop it.  Pop it once or twice in a row and then let it sit.  It works excellent some days, other days not.  Again, i think it resembles the sound of fish feeding in the area so brings in other fish in the area to see whats on the menu.  I have witnessed some anglers fishing from the bank with cane poles who will swirl the tip of the cane pole out in the water and then drop their bait right in that spot.  The technique reminds me of that.

I've honestly never tried this for walleye but maybe it would work.  I often hear (and have seen) walleye out further from shore splashing as they go after bluegill or shad up near the surface.  If they are in a feeding mood..... maybe others come in to investigate as well.  Biggest reason that i have never tried it is because i am usually trying to be very stealthy out casting for walleye after dark.  They tend to hug the shoreline, in shallow very clear water in the main lakes i fish.  I can actually see their silhouette cruise by me if there is a nice full moon, so have to assume they can see me also.  I have learned that even accidentally turning rocks on shore will make them dart off quickly.  But maybe if it sounded more like a fish attack....... ?   Might be worth a shot one night.  Maybe even better chance up along the Erie shore since it tends to be a little more cloudy water and the extra casting distance is always helpful.  The after dark walleye fishing for me has just gotten started.
 

jiggerjohn

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Attica, Yep, I grew up during vacations on Lake Erie, casting those chugging floats for white bass. Many evenings my mom & I would take well over 100! Now those widely used floats mostly chugged, whereas the saltwater popping corks that I've been using recently, "clink" and emit sound via metal balls crashing together, plus special material on the "cork" itself that knocks and seems to broadcast or magnify the noise. Yesterday ,for bluegill & crappies, I built one out of a standard water bubble with BBs and shot inside,plus a metal rod thru that bobber that had metal balls on it. It made the clicking sound on a lower level, and bluegills quickly jumped on the slowly sinking jig below. However, when I returned to the saltwater LOUD noisemaker, the crappies got much more interested. I ,too, am curious as to how night time shallow walleye will respond to a noise generating float - a project for next Spring at Pymatuning. Also, it seems largemouth bass will grow very excited over this method, with a bigger fan tail plastic diving down between pops ( Tho' I've heard that with bass, sometimes it might pay to attach a hook to the cork itself, as the bass will often attack that as quickly as they'd lunge for a much fancier, more realistic surface popper!
 

Hawnjigs

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As a no bait straight jig purist I will admit that gimmicks will outfish me sometimes, and bait even more often.

Although floats will have advantages over minimal weight straight jigs - longer casting, predator attracting commotion, and suspension above bottom snags, I prefer the CHALLENGE dealing with difficulties of presenting unfettered jigs by paying attention to and refining retrieve tekneek. As for seldom needed long casting, slabs & blades will likely out distance floated lures.

Yup, a strip of jiggly squid or live baitfish under a chugging float was often best choice effective in Hawaii, ideal for kids & novices.
 

jiggerjohn

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Hawn, I have to agree with you on the challenge and effectiveness of having nothing other than a light jig on my line! You, of all people, know my preference for YOUR 1/28 oz roundheads with a small tied jig, short plastic, or Fishbites body! Yet, I've found with hard fished local trout over the past 3 years that I needed distance casting , via a half filled water bubble, to take your deadly light jigheads beyond the crowds and where those trout were "safely" milling around! But this past year, lots of rain & high dirty water even messed this up, so I've needed to "call up" those finicky fish with a "noisy float" or my (and commercial) versions of what they call down South "poppin' corks". This valuable TOOL handles necessary distant work with those very productive UL jigs, negates bad water and weather conditions, and yields an evolved procedure ( special clicking noise and fish curiosity inducing vibration) to encourage a look-see amongst dingy water and provoke strikes (when searching fish discover something seemingly edible near the commotion). In fact, just this morning (yep, raining cats & dogs outside -AGAIN!) I saw a cool video, where a top Louisiana tournament angler USED to laugh at popping rigs, or as he called them " Tourist Rigs" for novices, but then ,forced to try them under tough conditions, found he was winning lots of big money in highly competitive redfish tournies, so now calls them the "Deadly Combo" (noise corks +soft plastic jigs) !! Here's the vid -
 

jiggerjohn

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I'm now back from our annual Fall Outer Banks week, and it was largely a success due to the amazing FP3 "popping Cork" rig (fishingwithpettys.com) !The high winds and wicked cross currents prevented standard jig casting, so I was mostly restricted to grassy bay areas, bridges, and dock sections. I started with one of the Petty's awesome poppers and soon snagged & lost it to a bridge piling, leaving me only one for the rest of the vacation. So, worried, I purchased a few highly touted local popping corks so as not to get caught short. I tried these local models in the choppy, murky waters that I faced and not one of them brought up a single fish - ONLY the LOUD FP3 would produce! ( I babied it, and prize it now so much that I carefully packed it in the car glove compartment for the long drive home, rather than risk harming the float by cramming it in with other tackle!!). In particular, I discovered a small bayside town with an extensive network of boardwalks and short wooden piers that, though picturesqe, had no one fishing. I half-heartedly started working this special, LOUD cork with a small homemade bucktail jig with 2" Gulp minnow tip, and soon witnessed the bobber plummet straight down after a pop near the planks, and got a hard fighting black sea bass! This bite went on for sometime throughout mid day - apparently the loud pop of the FP3 coerced hidden fish from out under the wooden slats! Gives me incentive to apply the FP3 popping cork method (and my jigs!) much more to wooden dock areas everywhere , especially in freshwater . A popping cork and jig is also a LOT of fun to work after dark -ya can always HEAR exactly where your lure is working (and no need to see the strike as the take is often very forceful) !
 

jiggerjohn

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Hawn, After dark was a blast ,off a small sound side bridge. It was quite dark there, despite much car traffic behind me, and,despite that, kind of neat to always hear the loud "clink" of metal beads after a jerking motion. One time,especially, a nice sized bluefish reacted immediately to the first pop, and about tore my arm off; hooked so well that the 4" soft plastic was completely engulfed and deep into his throat! Also the speckled trout were drawn in to the loud pops and then readily found my jig! I was kind of surprised that flounder or other bottom fish didn't react, but as I mentioned, the wind and current had thrown many fish off their feed.
 

hookup

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Fish a popping cork rig for specs (speckled trout) around structure such as piers, jetties, and anchored boats has been a method used in the Chesapeake since I started fishing the brackish/salt water areas
 

jiggerjohn

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Thought I'd talk about MY new" ice fishing" tactic, based on this rattling bobber idea .Due to warm weather our local trout lake thawed enough this past Friday, to yield a wide, long open water hole. So I took my "popping cork" and small jig over for some casts. Not much going at first in the cold water, and saw the few bait guys were dormant too. Then I got the idea to cast the ice EDGE that extended straight out from my shoreline position. By slowing retreiving and pausing as I skirted the bigger than normal bobber right along & actually hitting that edge,adding slight jerks to acquire the popping noise, I apparently coerced the trout right out from under their ice "roof"! I 'd watch my loud popping cork start to Shake & jiggle from their take almost instantly after instilling a "pop", then lift fairly firmly with the 7' rod, and would have me yet another. I ended with 9 very gorgeous, nice sized brook trout within a very short time! Coulda taken more but my wrist is currently experiencing some type of painful carpal-tunnel ailment (doc appt soon) and I had to quit; guess I could say this technique is so hot that I wore out my arm catchin em !!! Something for us diehards to experiment with more during early & late winter's de-icing thaws!
 

Hawnjigs

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Do you regret not discovering the attraction and other functional attributes of float attraction earlier in your looong fishing "career"? Would that tekneek have bettered your catches?
 

jiggerjohn

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Hawn, The great thing about our jig fishing is, this is a tool that can work high or low in the water column. I'm thinking these days that I missed opportunities by not working top/mid levels with a float,especially with noise attraction of a popping cork ! I won't be making this mistake in 2020, especially during muddy waters ,over emerging weed beds, or beside edges -ice,docks,piers, and bridges. Of course my ole favorite of carefully probing bottom rocks & crevices with a bumping jig remains golden when fish lurk deeper, and during warmer months. But, heck, the easiest thing in fishing is to remove a cork rig, and retie just the singular jig on, to thoroughly cover all levels!
 

jiggerjohn

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Last week, I had my first "actual" spring day for early trout fishing on our local lake. Fairly warm,calm weather, and water was relatively clear. i wanted to try our "release only" brookies & rainbows with the popping cork and new pattern 1/32 oz jig . Ended that day with an actual count of 108 landed and quickly released (all lip hooked) ,plus many trout that slipped the hook during battle ! I'd worried that the saltwater popping cork, which afforded great long distance casting & water covered during the retrieve, might be a bit too large for small inland waters - guess not, tho !!
 

Hawnjigs

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No doubt the "sploosh" attracts predators, & our wiper specialists have found that since their floats get bit as much as a trailing jig, they use poppers with middle hook attached instead of bare floats. The trade off is interesting line tangles that wastes minutes of fishing time.

Good luck when the the warming weather switches target species from trout to bass.
 

Bucho

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john mckean said:
Last week, I had my first "actual" spring day for early trout fishing on our local lake. Fairly warm,calm weather, and water was relatively clear. i wanted to try our "release only" brookies & rainbows with the popping cork and new pattern 1/32 oz jig . Ended that day with an actual count of 108 landed and quickly released (all lip hooked) ,plus many trout that slipped the hook during battle ! I'd worried that the saltwater popping cork, which afforded great long distance casting & water covered during the retrieve, might be a bit too large for small inland waters  - guess not, tho !!

Now you really got me interested! Any chance you get a picture of the actual cork uploaded? Or a link to the source?
 
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