Corks – Bobbers – Floats

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Corks – Bobbers – Floats

A bobber does not mean someone poking their head into a tub of water trying to grab an apple. Cork is more than a stopper for your favorite bottle of wine. And a float is not just a thing people ride during a parade. Actually, they often pertain to a method of fishing used by millions of anglers throughout the years. It seems every angler has their own method or style and one of the most productive showed up several years ago… the popping cork.

Historical papers indicate people used various floats, bobbers, or corks as early as mimid-1800sith evidence that somewhere around 1844 Norwegian fisherman used small egg-sized floats. Into the 1940s, glass floats became popular and were used to support larger commercial fishing nets. However, for today most commercial and sport fishing applications have been replaced by aluminum, plastic, natural cork, and Styrofoam.

Corks, bobbers, floats or whatever you call them still serve the same purpose for today’s anglers. Whether a small boy with a cane pole and a can of worms, sitting on the bank, fishing for bream, a family fishing for bass, snook or redfish or a commercial trawler night fishing for swordfish…at some time or another they use some form of tackle suspension or strike indicating floatation.

Over the last few decades, someone came up with the idea of popping their corks on the surface like a lure. To their amazement, they discovered it could serve more than one purpose. Not only could the bobber indicate a strike, but when popped on the surface it attracted otherwise uninterested fish. This new method of attracting fish also attracted the attention of tackle manufacturers. And soon capitalized on the idea by creating what is known today as a Popping Cork.

A relatively simple design it soon became the must-have a float in every anglers arsenal, especially those targeting saltwater species like spotted sea trout and redfish. The idea was to generate enough attention to attract an unsuspecting fish. As they investigated the commotion there was a tasty morsel of food.

This new method worked so well in fact, the cork soon took on a shape of its own and almost immediately began showing up in tackle shops everywhere. Each brightly colored oval or cigar-shaped cork had a stainless steel wire shaft threaded through round plastic and brass beads. Now when popped it not only created a commotion on the surface but as the cork slid up and down the stainless steel shaft striking the beads it made a clicking sound.

This little fishing novelty helped anglers catch thousands of fish throughout the world. It did, however, have one drawback the stainless steel shaft. After a period of time, it would bend and the cork would not slide properly.

For years after the invention of popping corks, all was well in the fishing industry and they sold like hot cakes on a cold winter’s morning. Just think… now we had it all, a strike indicator, a fish attractor and the small brass beads added weight which meant further cast. Could our fishing lives get any better?

Sensing a need for new and cutting-edge product several tackle manufacturers revolutionized the popping cork market by creating a totally new design. This completely new style of popping cork not only offered the standard oval and cigar shapes but one had a concave top designed specifically to move more water.

Not only did we have a new design it went a step further and corrected the one existing drawback. Instead of using stainless steel shafts they used Titanium which enabled it to spring back to its original shape.

We now understand more about floats and popping cork how do you use it? Everyone quickly develops their own techniques, but here are the basics.

1. Tie fluorocarbon leader, under the cork to keep your bait about a foot off the bottom. Depending on the bait you’re using you might also place a small split-shot 8 to 10 inches above the bait.

2. Make your cast allowing everything to settle in the water, much like using a topwater lure.

3. While keeping your rod tip down at about a 45-degree angle periodically snap the rod tip using your wrist. This allows the cork to displace the most water and when done properly the cork should make a gulping sound.

4. Allow the cork to settle for about a minute or two and repeat the process until everything disappears.

5. Finally, when the strike comes do not snatch back on the rod, instead quickly take up the slack, get the line tight and give a short quick tug to set the hook.