Leave that reel handle alone

When fishing for trout with a popping cork rig, slow down your retrieve so the lure settles back down on its leader before every pop of the cork.

When using popping corks in the Biloxi Marsh, allowing the current to position your lure is sometimes much easier and more effective than relying on casting accuracy alone. And just as the current carries baitfish along the edges of all the marsh islands, then crashes them into crosscurrents, eddies or slack water, it does the same with your lure and popping cork — as long as you allow it.

And because that’s where the baitfish end up, so do a lot of trout.

Instead of simply making a cast to a likely looking spot, then working your popping cork directly back to the boat, anglers can cast upcurrent, then just snap their wrists as their cork rides the tide. Instead of actively retrieving their lure back in, only reel enough to keep the line tight and let the current do the rest. This lets you cover a lot of productive water quickly, and keeps your lure in the strike zone longer.

Many anglers reel all the way in once the current pushes their cork even with the boat, choosing not to let the cork float downcurrent, but that’s not always the best option, especially if a visible oyster mound, tide line or small creek is nearby. Allowing the current to carry your lure creates a natural-looking offering as the pop of the cork also draws attention.

It’s worth noting again that Ronnie Daniels of Fisher-Man Guide Service cautions anglers not to reel too quickly after you give the cork a pop, even if it’s just to reel in the slack while allowing the current to do the work. The most-effective way is to snap your wrist, creating the popping noise, allow the lure to sink to its maximum depth depending on the length of the leader, and then pop it again.

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