Basics of cork fishing for trout

In addition to the chunk-and-wind routine, late-summer trout anglers fishing Breton Island or other coastal island will do well to keep a cork rig handy.

This setup accommodates a wide range of natural and artificial baits. You have the ability to vary your presentations from active to dead sticking.

“A cork rig is user friendly because it’s a strike indicator,” Cajun Fishing Adventures’ Capt. Joe DiMarco said. “Also, it forces anglers to slow down. That’s the biggest thing in hot water: If you think you’re fishing slow, then slow down even more.”

Fellow guide Capt. Ross Montet also appreciates the cork rig. So much so, that he’ll keep a couple of options handy:

1) Fixed-leader popping cork

Purpose: Good for targeting a predetermined depth.

Setup: Connect 30-pound braided main line to a 30-pound fluorocarbon leader, and then tie that leader to the top swivel of a wire-stem popping cork rig.

To the rig’s bottom swivel, tie an 18-inch drop leader with a split shot a few inches above a 3/0 Mustad wide gap live bait hook.

2) Sliding cork 

Purpose: Used for optimal depth control and the ability to sit a bait right on the bottom.

Setup: Affix a tie-on line stopper to the main line above a sliding cork, adding a bead above the cork keeps it from sliding over the stopper.

Below the cork, add a slip sinker flanked on either side by beads, and then tie on a swivel. To the swivel’s other side, tie on 18-inches of 30-pound leader with a 3/0 Mustad wide gap live bait hook.

Adjusting the line stopper’s position determines how much line slips through the cork, and that determines how deep the bait sits.

Montet uses a 3-inch cork for live shrimp and a 4-inch version for pogies and finger mullet. A 3/8-ounce weight suffices for standard use, but in heavy current, he might go with a ½- to ¾-ounce model.

“You want just enough weight to get it down past the ladyfish, but not so much that it sinks your float,” Montet said.

About David A. Brown 323 Articles
A full-time freelance writer specializing in sport fishing, David A. Brown splits his time between journalism and marketing communications