Pairing a popping cork with a gold spoon

One guide’s unusual ‘go-to’ rig for reeling in shallow-water redfish

Conventional thinking says the bait of choice to target redfish under a popping cork is shrimp, right?

Not if you’re Capt. Ted DeAgano III.

DeAgano, with Scales-N-Tales Charters out of Delacroix, La., likes to tie on a ½- or ¾-ounce weedless Berkley gold spoon about 8 inches beneath his H&H popping cork when he’s targeting reds.

“It’s a double-whammy,” said DeAgano, who learned the method from Capt. Herman Solar. “You’re giving them the sight and the sound. The pop alerts them, and the spoon does the flashing.

“You’re fully alerting the fish. They just destroy it.”

And the short 8-inch leader, which is always 40-pound mono for DeAgano, has consistently worked to put more fish in the box.

“Redfish will actually strike a popping cork,” he said. “If they’re hitting the cork, you still stand a better chance of them getting that bait with a hook in the lip because it’s so close to the cork.

“I fish it in the weed beds, in the grass and on the marsh line — typical shallow-water redfishing wherever you would throw a regular gold spoon,” he said. “I’ve even used it in tournaments sight casting.”

DeAgano recommends using a mono leader rather than fluorocarbon.

“The difference is the sinking ability. Mono sinks faster than fluorocarbon,” he said. “When you pop the cork, the sound is immediate.

“If you’ve got fluorocarbon, the bait goes up to the top of the water when you pop it and it takes a little bit for it to sink. But when you jerk it with monofilament, it sinks immediately.”

It’s not necessarily a common method, but DeAgano said you can’t argue with its track record of success.

“I only know of one other guy who does it, because I taught it to him,” he said with a laugh. “Most people have never even thought of doing it.

“I do a lot of weird things, but I bring fish in. That’s all that matters.”

About Patrick Bonin 1315 Articles
Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and