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Poppin For Reds

At an open house at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beufort NC, I put on a set of headphones to listen to shrimp swimming in the marsh area under the dock. Click, click, click is the distinctive sound that I heard. It was a very similar sound to the clicking of the beads on a popping cork.

At a point at the mouth of Brown Creek in Oriental NC, I saw finger mullet scampering across the top of the water making their escape from a predator fish. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh is the distinct sound that I heard. It was a very similar sound to the swooshing of the displaced water from a popping cork.

Combined, these distinct sounds are the reasons that fishing with popping corks are so effective in brackish, stained waters of many inshore and backwater coastal settings. Just like a mother ringing the dinner bell in those old western movies, the popping cork is the dinner bell for hungry redfish. Pair them with the correct size and color Z-man ElaZtech plastic and the meal is served. Redfish from 13"-55" can't resist.

When rigging for your trip, use bigger corks and bigger plastic for larger reds and smaller corks and smaller plastic for smaller reds. Also, you'll need to use the appropriately sized jighead. For smaller puppy drum in shallower water, I like the 1/8 oz. Trout Eye jighead paired with a smaller bait like a Slim SwimZ underneath a cigar cork. The 2/0 hook on the smaller Trout Eye jighead is very strong. When my clients want some dinner and I'm going searching for slot sized reds, I'll use a ¼ oz. Redfish Eye jighead and pair it with a MinnowZ or Diezel MinnowZ.

And in August and September when the 50" bull reds come to the Neuse River and the Pamlico Sound of North Carolina for their summer visit, I go big. 5" Grass KickerZ with 3/8 oz. TT HeadlockZ and 6" SwimmerZ with ½ oz. Striper Eye jigheads work fantastic as well. Bigger bait for bigger fish.

When working a grassy bank or marsh area, get the bait as close as possible to the grass. Shrimp and other bait fish dart in and out of the grass and use it for cover. Reds patrol up and down the grass edges waiting for the bait to appear. When working a bait ball, don't get over aggressive and take dead aim at the center of the bait. Throw beyond the bait to an outer edge. Work the cork by the left edge and then switch and work it by the right edge before going through the middle. By working the edges first, the bait ball with stay together longer and allow you the opportunity to catch more fish.

Capt. Bobby Brewer
Baldheaded Bobby Guide Service

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