How To Rig Live Shrimp Under A Popping Cork (For More Strikes)


Everything eats live shrimp…

From big redfish, snook, and tarpon, to trout and mangrove snapper.

You can’t go wrong with a live shrimp, but do you know the best way to rig it on a popping cork?

If you rig it the wrong way, you can kill it instantly (and make it much less effective), or make it more difficult for the shrimp to swim and act natural (which also makes it less effective).

So in this video, we’ve got Capt. Peter Deeks showing you the best way to rig live shrimp under a popping cork for more strikes.

You’ll learn:

  • Where to NOT put the hook
  • What the best corks to use are (that don’t scare away fish)
  • How to make your shrimp act natural and attract predator fish
  • And much more

Check it out below.

How To Rig A Live Shrimp Under A Popping Cork [VIDEO]

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Wasn’t that underwater footage awesome?!

Here are five tips to rig live shrimp under a popping cork:

Tip #1: Use a weighted, slitted popping cork

Weighted, slitted popping corks are great because the slits make them easy to put on, take off, and adjust the depth that your shrimp swims.

Corks with rattles can attract some fish, but can also scare off big fish (especially snook), so Capt. Peter recommends going with a cork that doesn’t have rattles.

Tip #2: Match the hook size with the size of the shrimp

Most people match the size of the hook with the size of the fish they’re targeting, but you’d be surprised at how big of fish you can catch with a 1/0 or even #1 hook.

If you use a big hook with a small shrimp, you can make it tough for it to swim and act natural, so choose an appropriately sized hook.

Usually that’ll be #2 to 1/0.

As for what type of hook, we were using an octopus hook here.

Tip #3: Use 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader

20 lb. fluorocarbon leader is pretty standard for most inshore fish, but if snook are around, you might want to add a heavier tippet so that they don’t slice through it.

Tip #4: The length of leader should be about the depth of the water you’re fishing

When you get out on the water, measure the depth with your rod tip, and then cut your leader to the appropriate length.

Then, you want to put your float about 6″ – 12″ from the top of your leader so your shrimp swims about 6″ – 12″ off of the bottom.

Tip #5: Hook the shrimp below the horn in front of the brain

The shrimp’s brain is the little black spot in their head and you want to avoid putting the hook through it (and killing them instantly) at all costs.

Instead, put the hook in front of their brain and under the horn.

How To Work Shrimp Under A Popping Cork

How you work the shrimp will be different in different conditions.

If there’s light current, you can pop the cork, let the shrimp settle to the bottom, then occasionally pop it again.

But in heavy current, you’ll need to change things up.

As you can see in the video above, in heavy current, the shrimp will get pulled up toward the surface, spin, and eventually drown.

To stop that from happening, keep the bail open and feed out line.

This will let it swim and look natural, and it’s also a great way to cover ground.


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Putting a live shrimp under a popping cork is a great way to catch a variety of fish.

Just make sure to match the hook with the shrimp size, don’t put the hook through the brain, and keep the shrimp about 6″ – 12″ above the bottom.

Keep an eye out for our new course, Underwater Bait Forensics, which shows exactly how different live baits act underwater, and how you can maximize the fish you catch.

It’ll be available on August 19th at

Have any questions about rigging live shrimp under a popping cork?

Let us know down in the comments!

And if you know someone who needs to see this video, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

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Adrian Lugo
3 months ago

Matching the hook size to the shrimp size is gonna make things easier as far as catching more fish…pretty green with fishing a popping cork but this info is gonna help out so much on my next fishing trip!

Edward Lopez
1 year ago

Love the video! The shrimp swimming was such a beautiful site. Wish I was fishing right now!!!

Larry Wright
3 years ago

Do you all have any tips for fishing off the bank, bridges, docks etc. I’m not in position to get a boat and I cant seem to find a good spot to fish.

Wyatt Parcel
3 years ago
Reply to  Larry Wright
3 years ago

Great Article. True facts shared by a excellent experienced fisherman

Thomas Campbell
3 years ago

I love shrimp under a cork. Caught my biggest red, trout and black drum that way. I mainly use artificial now, but after watching your live bait mastery course, I kind of want to learn how to use live bait more. The only issue is, my area is covered in pinfish. Can I just use the pinfish as bait? I have drifted one across a flat on a cork and gotten a small slot red. But is it a technique you would use? I don’t see people using pinfish as often as other baits?

3 years ago

I was fishing a popping cork Friday. Took 3 small trout and 2 solid red fish. My favorite was when I threw the popping cork out and the shrimp was basically jumping out of ten water, a few second later fish on😉. Lot’s of fun and an easy way to cover a lot of ground on a grass flat.

Matt Price
3 years ago

haha here i was thinking i was the only one measuring water depth with my rod


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