SLAMMIN POPPING CORKS – Flounder, Trout, Slot Reds and Bull Red spawn fun

The weather has been sporty with 25 knot wind and huge seas. This Northeast blow has been a hurdle but, we've been doing what we can to work around it. Lures have been my "go to" for the light tackle fix but, with the weather we're having, it's not a realistic option. Instead, we've been casting Carolina Rigs to drag for Flounder, and drifting popping corks for Slot Reds and Speckled Trout. Given the constant low barometer and Spring Tide situation, fishing has been solid, albeit challenging.

I fish a lot of snaggy structure and for the most part, well, you win some and you lose some. You do what you can to limit the hang ups but some days you spend more time rigging than fishing. In half way decent weather, I can work around the problem with suspending twitch baits like the Rapala X Rap. But, with double the current and atrocious winds, plugs are out the window. The logical answer to the problem, floating a popping cork baited with feisty Pilchards.

I stage the boat up current, either inline with the target location or at an angle favorable to the direction that the wind is blowing. I try to fish water no deeper than 5 feet. Any deeper and I switch to a Slip Cork. If I don't get bit the first dozen or so drifts, Ill add a 1/4oz Split Shot a few inches above the hook to keep the Pilchard lower in the water Column. Cover as wide of an area as you can. The smallest bottom changes such as Random rocks or debris will hold fish. When you get it right, the action can be nuts! There were a few days this week that we hooked a Slot Red nearly a dozen drifts in a row. We were getting our limit in Reds in less than half an hour. The Trout were on fire a few trips out as well. Same deal, drifting a popping cork baited with a live Pilchard. We got some real nice fish. The average was 18-20 inches. Many were 22-23 inches and a few were over 26 inches. Also several Slams with the biggest being a legal length of 74 inches.

The Bull Red spawn is in full swing. The males are outnumbering the females 10 to 1 and leaving a sticky mess in the boat.... The fish are averaging 36-39 inches with the majority of the population being young, adult, males. The bigger fish are mixed in but, you have to weed through the schoolies to get to them. The best baits at the moment have been Blue Crab. Live baits also produce but not as well.

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