How To Rig A Shrimp Under A Popping Cork Like A Pro

By: Tony Acevedo on May 6, 2019

how to rig a shrimp on a popping cork

You know that feeling…

When you’re fishing with a popping cork…

And all of a sudden it disappears!

Then you’ve got about half a second before your rod doubles over and your reel starts screaming.

The thrill of seeing a strike happen before feeling it makes fishing with popping corks an exciting way to fish.

Plus, it can be a simple way to fish for children, less experienced anglers, or people who just don’t want to cast a lot.

In the video below I’m going to show you the best way to rig a shrimp under a popping cork to catch more fish while saving time and money.

If you have any questions about rigging shrimp under a popping cork let me know down in the comments!

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

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Rigging The Popping Cork

popping cork

I prefer the standard, weighted styrofoam corks without the wire or beads.

The reasons I like these are because:

  • They are easily adjustable, so if you go from fishing in four feet to two feet of water, you can adjust the placement of the cork accordingly without having to re-tie or change the leader (unlike the corks with the wires, beads, and weights)
  • The weight allows for more casting distance

When rigging popping corks, remember these tips:

  • Rig the cork on the fluoro or mono leader, avoid rigging it on braided line
  • Don’t rig the cork too close to the knot (it may slide up and put pressure on the knot, causing it to pop off)
  • When corks are worn out and don’t hold their position very well anymore, double up the line in the cork

Live Shrimp Rigging

I like to rig shrimp on 2/0 Owner light wire circle hooks.

This is because the small size and light wire doesn’t weigh down the shrimp, but allows the shrimp to move around freely.

Also because these hooks are plenty strong enough to handle a large fish.

Now, when it comes to actually hooking the shrimp, I like to hook them in one of two places:

1. In the head between their eyes and the organs. When you pop the cork, the shrimp will twitch forward in a natural swimming motion.

rigging shrimp in the head

2. Up through the bottom of the tail. When you pop the cork, the shrimp will dart backward, as if in a fleeing motion.

rig shrimp through tail

Bonus Shrimp Rigging Tip: when using shrimp, pinch off the tail before you cast it out.

That will release extra scent to attract predators.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a thrilling, yet easy way to catch fish, consider using a popping cork.

Standard, weighted styrofoam popping corks work best because they are easily adjustable and allow for maximum casting distance.

And when using shrimp on the popping cork, hook it through the head or the tail

For extra scent release, pinch off the tail before you cast it out.

Have any questions about fishing with shrimp under a popping cork?

Let us know in the comments below!

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Richard Doane
Member

The only popping cork I use now is a “Coastal Cork”. I have tried all different kinds and brands. This one works the best for me day in and day out.

Albert Orozco
Member

Can I use the pooping Corp with shrimp for pier fishing at night ? Or just use a bottom rig with the shrimp.

Joshua Peterson
Member

What brand of soft plastic shrimp is that?

Thomas Ross
Member

Super video Tony. Well done. Your input is spot on. Loved the concept of doubling the line when it starts to slip. Popping corks have been a “go to” for me for many years. Here are a few comments/ideas:
1: I love it when the shrimp starts to jump OVER the cork! Something bad/good is gonna happen!
2: When drifting a flat and working a jig, I will often throw a cork way out and just let it trail the yak. Pick up some nice bonus fish.
3: Another application I have used them for is flood tides. When the snook and reds are up in the mangroves, sometimes putting a cork on and working it can “call them out”. I think they think another fish is feeding?
4: Similarly, along a channel edge or mangroves, I to toss a cork way up along the edge and I can watch it come back – tightening or freeing line – to keep it on the edge.
5: Speaking of noise – you are spot on again. Sometimes in clear water or calm conditions I think they may spook bigger fish. Kind of pick your spots, or pop it less frequently. Kind of like picking the right topwater plug.
6: Hooks – if shrimp are “shrimpy” I will sometimes even go down to a #1 wire light hook. Let it work. Won’t hold up for big fish.

Haven’t seen it in years, but we used to get big schools of reds fired up and they would actually hit the corks! That was cool.

Lastly, don’t real men always BITE the tail off the shrimp? LOL!

Thanks so much! Tight lines!

Pcreanza@yahoo.com
Member

If live shrimp is not available can Berkey gulp shrimp be used?

Les Baron
Member

Tony, what time of year do you typically start fishing with popping corks? Thanks

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

When fishing this way is it necessary to use a leader? If so why? Why not just attach the hook to your main line? I have caught many reds and trout without a leader. The only time my braid ever broke was when I hooked a ladyfish or Spanish. It is true that the cork does slide on braid but as soon as this starts happening I just do as the video instructed and double wrap it.

Marvin Puckett
Member

On your video above nothing was said about using a weight to get the shrimp down in the water. Do you recommend using a split shot weight or no weight at all?

Billy McDaniel
Guest
Billy McDaniel

I love using the loop knot its quick and easy. I use it in all situations.

Joe Files
Member

Have some friends that think using old fashioned freshwater round plastic cork is easier and effective. Of course you lose the popping noise.?????????

James Roach
Member

Tony, what do you think about using a loop knot to attach the hook?

Dean Perez
Member

Should to not be using a split shot, to keep the shrimp down, giving the fish an easier target.

Bob Thompson
Member

Another way to keep the line from slipping is to wrap the line around the pin 4 or 5 times then put into cork, also do an under hand loop and loop it on the top part of the pin after you put the pin in the cork.

Tom Davis
Member

Love the standard corks and have used them for many years catching lots of fish with them. I like the ability to quickly adjust depth. Another option I found a while back is the Harper’s super striker adjustable popping cork. It uses a bead on the main line to adjust the depth. There are weighted and unweighted versions and I would think someone other than Harper’s makes these floats. Only downside to these is that you cannot take them off as quickly as with the standard cork, but I think a lot of us have a rod dedicated to just a popping cork anyway. Altamaha River Trading Company is a good place to get the Harper’s rigs.

Chris Wynimko
Member

Can you use a swivel between main line and leader

Daniel Vader
Member

Styrofoam popping corks with pins. How do I hate them- let me count the ways. They always fall off. The line comes out the side and they twist when you reel them and twist when you cast them. They especially like to fall off just when you have positioned your boat perfectly and then you have to decide whether to chase them and wreck your spot or let them pollute the environment. I use the wire ones with beads and have baggies with pre-cut leaders with hooks in different lengths. The leaders have clips on them. I switch the leader out depending on the depth I want. I know it sounds like a pain but it works and it is so much less frustrating than using the cheap styrofoam bobbers that ALWAYS fail right at the most inconvenient time.

Donn Christy
Member

Hi Tony. Nice video. Where do you get the H&H floats?

Dave Otte
Member

Tony, this is exactly how I caught my personal best 24″ speckled trout back in April. I use the same brand of popping corks and I use a 4/0 circle hook. I noticed that the shrimp don’t seem to live very long, maybe it’s because the wire for the hook is pretty big? I’ll see if I can find some of those 2/0 owner hooks you use and see if that helps. If you really want to catch fish, sometimes you have to include live bait in your arsenal!

Dave Otte
Member

Tony, I found 5114T “tournament” hooks at Academy. Are these the same ones, and if not, what’s the difference and which one would you recommend?

Reggie Norton
Guest
Reggie Norton

Have you used the Versa max bolt? It is an adjustable depth popping cork that is durable and no more expensive than the bomber, Betts, h&h or other similar corks. They work well for me when I fish those transitional areas where the sound helps but I need to work the whole column from 3 to 6 feet. It won’t replace your slip cork but it does offer versatility and durability when trying to find fish.

Keep it tight… Reggie

Bill Zimmer
Member

I’ve heard that it is good to include a small weight six or eight inches above the hook so the shrimp sinks, is this really necessary?

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

thanks Tony! As far as leader length, should i aim to have the shrimp just off the bottom? if so, roughly how much? I feel that usually it’s not and the crabs get my bait. Of course, it could just be me and the fish are nibbling away at it!…haha

Jason Stewart
Member

Great tips and instruction, as always Tony. I only get to come fish in Florida twice a year, and I’ve caught a lot of quality fish on popping corks when nothing else was working. It’s kinda funny, but it’s become my “confidence lure” on the flats….and it really is a fun way to fish. Thanks for taking the time to make this post.

Thom Ray
Member

Another rigging option for the weighted corks is to run the line through the plug, and add a bobber stop to your line above the cork. Bobber stops come in small beads or small precut line knots…Easily adjustable to change the depth of the bait.

Tommy Delcambre
Member

How well does fresh shrimp (not live) work on a popping cork?

Tom Watts
Member

Captain, Several great ideas. I know may people feel fishing with a popping cork is for kids, but I really enjoy fishing with a popping cork and have caught a lot of fish with. Particularly Trout and Mangrove Snapper a even Redfish and Snook. Thank you, Tom Watts, Naples, Fl.

Sam Sheffield
Member

Good info for everyone! 👍🏼

Mark Huling
Member

Hi Tony,

Great video! Would you rig artificial shrimp the same way? Any thing else we should do if using artificial shrimp.

TIA

David Christenson
Guest
David Christenson

Thanks for posting. I learn something new with every post.

Joseph Lancaster
Member

Pretty much the same way I rig them when using a cork. Gives me an idea of testing that out with artificial that way just for fun! Great tips Tony!

Roy Noblin
Member

one day i hope to learn the use of all the artificial you and everyone else do so well with but i grew up with a cane pole, cork and live bait and can’t seem to give it up. i have used the traditional popping cork as you show but somewhere i saw to rig using a weighted cork and love it. the weighted will stand up as it should making it easier to see with these old eyes of mine. as water temperature changes, and other reasons, the trout and others will move to deeper water so the depth you fish will vary. what you show will work but if you need to be 5 or more feet down it can really affect your ability to land the fish without a really long rod. i used to change size of leader but 3 feet was my limit. deeper and i’d free line. as you say warping the line around the cork will be goodbye cork even with a small trout. anyway to keep from getting to long i have found the old popping cork made to much noise and would spook big trout. i assume also reds and snook but i haven’t fished for them in awhile. most my trout hits are when cork first hits the water. i hope i can say this to be visual as i don’t know how to show picture. my rig is first a rubber bobber stopper on the braid. then a small bead to keep stopper from lodging in the cork. then run the braid through the plastic tube in the cork. now another small bead below the cork so the cork can’t catch on leader to braid knot. now about 18 inch fluorocarbon with 1/0 or 2/0 circle hook. hook the shrimp in tail as you show. this way live or dead you can make it look natural as they jump backwards when in danger. now you have a rig that you can vary depth as needed. you can pull line until the bottom bead stops on bead at leader knot and give a little pop. much more natural sound and now let shrimp drift back down. in current you may want to use jig head or add light split shot at the hook. this rig will let you fish really deep water and still not have a cork stop at the first eye of rod. gulp shrimp will also work with this rig but until they make gulp tuff like they used to be i now just buy 50 shrimp.

Paul Blake
Member

Nice tip Tony! Especially the double the line can’t tell you how many corks I have lost because it was too loose.

James Tintle
Member

Tony great video. I will be saving my Chasebait Shrimp that have a torn nose or lost their rattle just for this application. Add a little shrimp ProCure and I’m all set!

Marcus Lane
Member

Comment: Well done.

Marcus Lane
Member

Question: Where is my awesomely handsome profile pic on my comment?

Darrell Odum
Member

How about gulp shrimp under a popping cork? Does that work well? Any tips on the difference?

Stephen Rothman
Member

So you have no swivel anywhere on that setup?

Charles Phillippi
Member

Another great video. The basics are the best. This is how my dad taught me and I have taught my sons the same. When all else fails nothing beats a nice shrimp on a popping cork! Thanks again.