HOUMA, La. (AP) — Aaron Pierce's wife thought her husband was crazy as she walked into the backyard to find him with his head submerged in the pool while his friend popped a half dozen fishing corks in the water around him.
The sight had become a familiar one at the Pierce household. A couple weeks would go by and Pierce and Roger Dowdy would inevitably get back in the water, listening to the sound of the corks.
For 23 years Pierce has been a fishing guide in south Louisiana, and for 23 years he's searched for the perfect fishing cork. It had to mimic the sound of the tiny fish popping along the surface. It had to be durable. It had to be castable and it had to be easy to use. He tried to get several companies to make such a cork, but never with any luck.
So one day in early 2017 he decided to just do it himself.
It became somewhat of an obsession. He would try adding a little extra epoxy, a different shape, maybe even a different material, long wires, short wires — anything he could think of to get the sound of those pops just right.
For about a year Pierce and Dowdy tried 100s of prototypes. Each time they got close, they would head out to the nearest pool or pond where Pierce would dunk his head and listen for that perfect sound.
By January 2018 the two friends debuted the 4 Horseman popping cork.
"I knew people would like it but I didn't realize what the power of Facebook and social media would do to it," Pierce said. "I didn't expect this and how people were obsessed with it. It almost created a cork war on social media with people going back and forth between my cork versus this cork. It was pretty comical for a while."
Pierce — who lives in Cut Off — never meant for his cork to become a full business. He mainly wanted something he could give to the more novice anglers he took on trips, something simple they could use and that would keep them engaged.
It was only after he let a dozen other guides around Louisiana try them out and received rave reviews that he realized he may have something special on his hands. Everyone who tried the cork loved it, he said.
When he introduced the corks — primarily used for speckled trout and redfish — on social media, they took a life of their own with people comparing it to other products and buying up the stock.
Almost two years later and the 4 Horseman cork is sold in 88 different tackle stores and 12 Rouses Markets from Texas to the Carolinas, selling more than 25,000.
"Almost every trip we fish with our customers we use a popping cork," Pierce said. "And we'll change our corks out every trip. That takes up a lot of time and a lot of money. Being a fishing guide, you want to be as efficient as possible. That's why I came up with the 4 Horseman popping cork."
There were three main objectives Pierce had in building the cork: sound, durability and castability.
The sound was the most important part and the one that took the longest. As for the castabilty, Pierce attached a 3/8 ounce weight for easy casting and strong materials that make it durable for 100s of trips. They also sell an additional casing for the cork that adds to its durability.
And while the color of the cork doesn't make much difference, the company sells them in orange, pink, yellow, green and red.
Corks and other fishing gear can be purchased online at 4horsemantackle.com
"By putting that epoxy on the bottom, it creates a sound that I worked on for a year, to mimic fish that are feeding on the surface," Pierce said. "When they come to the surface they create an air pocket and when they close their mouth, it creates a popping noise. That's what I wanted to recreate to help attract the fish to the bait. And by combining a certain amount of epoxy — not just any amount — the shape of the epoxy and the special beads I have on the cork, I create a sound that's pretty close to a fish feeding on the surface."
Information from: The Courier, http://www.houmatoday.com
Posted on Mon, December 30, 2019
by By MIKE GEGENHEIMER The Houma Courier undefined