The popping cork rig is effective for catching game fish because it mimics live prey. The movement of this rig mimics that of bait fish trying to escape predators or feeding at the surface. The commotion causes the game fish to come closer to see what is happening, and in doing so, it is presented with an irresitable bait or a lure.
When using this rig, cast out the line to the area where you think the fish are hanging out. Once the bait is in the perfect spot, give the line a good yank so the popper makes some noise and splashes around. The bait will be sitting below the surface to entice any curious game fish in the area.
As soon as the rig “pops,” stop pulling the line to give the target fish time to see the bait or lure. If you don’t get a bite, pull the line again a few seconds later so it makes more noise. Repeat this until you either get a bite, or until your line is reeled past the target location.
The popping cork rig is usually made using a piece of cork, though Styrofoam and hard plastic floats will also work. You’ll want to choose a float that is 2-6 inches long. At one end of the float, you will usually find a cup, which makes a popping or chugging sound when the fish tugs at the bait. The other end of the float is usually weighted to help with casting the line. The weight also helps keep the streamlined end underwater.