UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Popping Corks for Schooling Bass

Popping Corks for Schooling Bass
Brandon Perkins

During the Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake, both Joseph Webster and Brandon Perkins utilized a popping cork and a fly to tempt schooling bass.  Webster only tossed the rig on the weekend, but it was part of the primary game plan for Perkins, and it’s something he’s been incorporating into tournament success for a number of years. Though it didn’t result in the win, it absolutely demonstrated how an out-of-the-box technique can put fish in the boat.

 

Popping Cork

The setup

The reason the popping cork is an effective rig for schooling fish is simple: it allows an angler to present a very small bait a very long way off. A popping cork is something like a floating Carolina rig. The cork itself comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and it rides on a wire that runs through it. You tie your mainline to the front of the wire, and then a leader with whatever bait you plan on using to the back of it.

Perkins uses a unique setup for the popping cork technique, going with a 7-foot, 11-inch, medium-heavy-action Hammer Rod and a mainline of either 50-pound-test braid or 17-pound-test fluorocarbon. For the actual rig, he likes a 5-inch popping cork and a 4-foot or longer leader the same as his mainline tied to a homemade fly with a beefed up hook made by Kelly Readhimer (the co-angler winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on Kentucky Lake).

“I had two rigged up for the Cup,” says Perkins. “I had one rigged with straight braid for those smallmouth, because the way they were eating it I couldn’t tell when they bit because of all the splashing going on and I knew that without having a net man, I was just going to swing them if I knew they were hooked well.”

Perkins doesn’t worry too much about fluorocarbon sinking his flies, and says that because you’re usually fishing the bait quickly it doesn’t matter. His rod choice is geared for maximum distance and cushion, and it’s actually the same stick he throws crankbaits like a Strike King 6XD with out on the ledges.

If you don’t want to delve into making your own flies, or simply want to test it out, the most popular commercially made option is the Betts Pop N’ Stripe, a small, cork popper that is commonly referred to as a “fly.” For colors, Perkins says that white or silver usually work best, but that anything shad-like will do.

 

Joseph Webster

Putting fish in the boat                                           

The reason the popping cork played on Wheeler during the Forrest Wood Cup was a simple one – nearly all the shad were very small. All over the lake, it was easy to see swarms of tiny shad working the calm waters, and tiny flies trailing behind a popping cork imitated them perfectly.

“I’ve messed around with the popping cork for a lot of years,” says Perkins. “I started out catching big stripes below Pickwick Dam on it. When they’re schooling and chasing bait it’s just like that typical bait in the fall on the Tennessee River – they’re all bitty shad.

“That’s exactly what they were eating, but just like everybody was saying, you had to hit them in the face when they were blowing up. What’s cool about the popping cork is that you can launch it and hit those fish that nobody else can reach.”

The ability to cast a small fly a mile was key, but the action possible with a popping cork is also unique. At Wheeler, and in general, both Perkins and Webster worked the cork hard and fast, splashing water everywhere and bringing the trailing fly along at a rapid pace.

“I didn’t really want them to have time to look at it,” says Perkins. “It seems like with the Sammy and poppin’ cork, the faster you would bring that thing the better you got bit.”

 

Joseph Webster

Give it a shot

Though the popping cork didn’t threaten for the win at the Forrest Wood Cup, Perkins says it’s been responsible for several paychecks elsewhere for him and Webster vividly recalls catching a 6-pound smallmouth on it before he was old enough to drive a car. If you’re looking for a different way to catch bass chasing small bait, you may want to break out a popping cork and a fly.

Tags: summer  schooling-bass  jody-white  article 

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

B. Lat, MDJ Win Pan Am

Brian Latimer and Mark Daniels Jr. are best friends off the water, and it looks like they’ve got the makings of a deadly team on the water. Weighing five smallmouths for 21.16 pounds in the first session and 23.92 pounds in the second session, the pair totaled 45.08 pounds to win the individual competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. READ MORE »

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Canada Wins Gold at Pan Am

Though Team USA locked up the top three places, Team Canada placed six teams in the top 10 and averaged 38.98 pounds to win the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis. Results were tallied based on the average weight brought in by each team in the two sessions of fishing, which almost guaranteed an extremely close finish. Earning a silver medal, Team USA finished just a hundredth of a pound back with a 38.97 average. READ MORE »

Canada Leads at Pan Am

Canada Leads at Pan Am

The first session of competition in the Pan American Bass Championship on Lake St. Francis was a roaring success. After the morning weigh-in, Team Canada is leading with an average of 21.16 pounds, Team USA is in second with a 19.6 average, Team Akwesasne First Nation is in third with 18.62 and Mexico had an up and down morning to accrue a 17.24-pound average. READ MORE »

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

It’s not often an angler wins a Strike King Angler of the Year title in a Costa FLW Series division by chance, and while skill is what carried Jake Morris to his first Costa AOY title, chance definitely brought him to the opportunity. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

The final Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks – which is presented by Evinrude – was originally slated to begin at 7 a.m. CT this morning, but Mother Nature had other plans. A massive thunderstorm has been rolling through Osage Beach, Mo., this morning bringing heavy downpours and lots of lightning. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to an extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.  READ MORE »

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

The Thursday announcement of Major League Fishing’s acquisition of FLW signifies a historic shift in the landscape of competitive bass fishing. Here’s an overview of how the competitive circuits of FLW will operate. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

Hunting Big Bronze in Wisconsin

“On a normal day, if the best five aren’t over 25 pounds, it isn’t a good day,” Stefan says. “My best days with a buddy have been where the best five have gone 29 to 32 pounds. We get lots of 6-pounders a year, and we’ve caught some right at the 7-pound mark. I’ve had a few on that we haven’t landed that were bigger.” READ MORE »

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Eyes on the Weather at Lake of the Ozarks

Wrapping up the Costa FLW Series Central Division with an early fall stop at Lake of the Ozarks has become a tradition over the last few years. This year, the final stop of the season is presented by Evinrude and takes place Oct. 10-12, which should be good timing for a number of patterns to play. READ MORE »

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

How to Fish a Blade Bait for Smallmouth

You can catch smallmouths on a lot of baits in the early fall, but one of the most consistent producers later in the year is a blade bait, and Scott Dobson is an expert with it. His go-to is the old-fashioned Silver Buddy, but he has some distinct preferences and tweaks for better success. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Join FLW for a Rapala Varsity Bass watch party on Friday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. CT for the premiere of Episode 3 in the series. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

The final five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournaments took place over the weekend, bringing BFL regular-season competition to a close. Regional tournaments will kick off Oct. 10, and by the end of the month the majority of the field for the 2020 All-American will be set.  READ MORE »

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Fishing League Worldwide, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, announced Sunday that the 2019 T-H Marine BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, Nov. 8-9. The two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will launch from the Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville. READ MORE »