Type of Floats/BobbersThere are variations in styles and types of floats. Matching the live bait, larger bait requires a larger float or a fishing presentation such asdrifting a float over a flat or fishing a targeted piece of structure, rock pile, hump or crib. For night fishing there are LED lithium battery tipped lighted floats. You should have variety of floats enabling to fish in various situations and conditions.
Round Basic BobberThe round attached bobber comes in a rainbow of colors made of hard plastic or Styrofoam that have a spring clip on the bottom attaching to the line. Fishing with attached bobber limit’s the amount of line to a few feet for shallow water. Great for kids who fish off a dock. The best bobber size is about 1 inch or equal to a quarter for small worms.
Pear Shaped Slip FloatThese are the most common, made of Styrofoam or balsa, easy to cast, and will work in waves or still water conditions. They come in a variety of sizes to match the live bait, smaller for leeches and worms larger for minnows.
Cigar Shaped Slip FloatsFor light biting fish, these have a thinner profile and offer the least resistance on a bite. Easily cast and best used when fishing calm water over structure. Made of Styrofoam or balsa
Pencil Slip FloatThis is the lightest and thinnest float used to detect a bite, often referred as a shy bite or a waggler float. A popular float in Europe for light biting fish. Made of balsa.
Oval Slip FloatsA larger float used for larger minnows small suckers and red tail chubs. They are a good choice for (drifting) covering an expanse of water as the increased profile will drift along pushed from the wind and waves. Made of Styrofoam or balsa.
Bobber Stops/Stop KnotsThere are three common types of bobber stops that are sold in shops. Rubber pellets that come attached to a fine wire loop, they attach by running the line through the loop and pull the stop onto the line. Vinyl/Plastic strips that have small holes that you weave the line through and the Dacron knot stop that come on a small tube which is threaded onto the line, the knot is pushed off the tube to the line then tighten, the tag ends are trimmed off. All three come with stop beads if the hole on the float is too large for the stop. The Dacron stop is the most universally used as well as the easiest to adjust on monofilament just wet the line and slide the stop to the proper setting.
Weight/SinkersProper weighting and placement are the utmost important when using a slip bobber. Start by placing the split shot 8 to 12 inches from the hook, if more than one split shot is used always place the smaller split shot closest to the hook, this will allow your bait to appear more natural. Each size and type of slip bobber will require different sized split shot weights. The correct weight and placement will keep your line vertical through the water allowing the float to indicate even the lightest bite. All fishing shops and discount stores sells split shots, purchase the assortment pack that comes in a round case for a selection of sizes and weight. Split shots come in standard round once pinched on your line they can be difficult to pry open to remove or reusable which features tiny wings that you can pinch between the thumb and forefinger to remove or move on the line which we recommend to start out with.
HooksUse the smallest hook possible to maintain the natural action of the live bait. The Octopus hook is the most commonly used although circle hooks are equally effective. Sizes #6 and #8 for worms and leeches, size #4 for minnows for walleyes and bass. Crappies and bluegills try a gold Aberdeen long shank hook size #6 or#8 tipped with a small minnow or redworm. Another option is using a jig 1/64 to 1/8 ounce this offers color to the bait as well as a horizontal presentation. Try this for early and mid season walleyes.
Live BaitWorms, leeches, minnows. Minnows are the favorite during the spring and fall seasons with leeches and worm/night crawlers used during warmer summer months.
Many anglers began their first fishing experience using a red and white bobber rig off a dock or boat for panfish. While the basic bobber set-up is simple we have witnessed over the years many anglers over-rig this set-up by using a extremely large hook, connected to a pike leader attached to a tennis ball sized bobber. Unfortunately they never received guidance or advice for the correct presentation, but at least they are fishing. To properly fish a attached bobber or slip bobber rig the key is to use the smallest and lightest tackle in order to present the live bait as natural as possible, and to detect a bite from your bobber. By doing this your success and catch rate will increase dramatically.
For a bobber or float to work properly, there has to be some point to hold the bobber from movement on the line to float. Conventional round bobbers achieve this by attaching directly to a fixed point on the line using a snap, cigar shaped floats use a spring that is pulled back with the line inserted into a slot, by releasing the spring, will hold the line. The attached to line bobbers will work but are limited to very shallow water a few feet or so, in other words the amount of line from the attached bobber to your hook should be shorter than you’re rod length. Using a bobber to hook length longer than the rod will restrict your casting ability and the fish landing as the attached bobber stops the line at the rod tip hampering your efforts to net the fish, especially large ones.
The slip bobber can be fished at any depth, it’s design has a hollow tube through it and will slide freely from the hook or bottom weight to the stop. The stop point on the line is called a bobber stop, this can be purchased at a store as rubber pellets, small vinyl strips and dacron knots on a tube, or can be tied by the angler using this knot ( Stop Knot ) The bobber stop when used correctly is small enough to pass through the rod guides and reel mechanisms when retrieved or cast, but is large enough to stop the bead on a slip bobber. Thus the angler using slip bobbers can fish at any depth, only limited by the depth of the water and the amount of line on the reel.
How to Fish
Fishing a slip bobber is an effective way to catch almost any species of fish. To began, the slip bobber rig should be balanced with the correct amount of weight including the live bait. The bobber/float should only be large enough to hold your bait and float upright in the water, that way it will be sensitive to any type of bite. If your bobber lays flat on the surface, you’re probably on the bottom or need additional weight. Adjust the bobber stop upward or add weight. Setting the correct depth is critical for successful slip bobbering. Start at 6″ to 12″ inches off the bottom and adjust the bobber stop upward from there. Walleyes and perch relate to bottom structure, bluegills, crappies and bass often suspend higher. An inexpensive tool to use in setting the correct depth off the bottom is a ice fishing depth finder, a alligator clip attached to a lead weight. These can purchased at any fishing shop for under two dollars. Clip the depth finder on the hook release the line until reaches the bottom, set/slide the bobber stop accordingly.
Upon setting the proper depth and weight balance on the slip bobber. It’s time to fish. Once reeled up the slip bobber should rest above the split shot with the bobber stop on your reel. After the cast wait for the bait to sink and the bobber to go upright before reeling in any slack line. Keep alert for any movements, up, down, sideways, indicating a bite, if the bobber goes flat on the water, this means a fish has taken your bait and is swimming upward eliminating the weight that kept the bobber upright. In setting the hook reel in any slack line, use the rod in a sweeping overhead motion away from the fish this helps ensuring a good hookset.
How to rig a slip bobber
- Began by threading the stop knot tube on the line
- Push the stop knot off the tube onto the line toward the rod tip and remove tube.
- Pull the loose tag ends of the knot semi-tight to be adjustable. Trim off the tag ends close to the knot.
- Thread on the bead and slip float, be sure the top of the float is facing the rod tip.
- Pinch on a split shot below the float and tie on the hook on using a Improved Clinch Knot.
Add a small barrel swivel above the split shot using lighter line than the main line. For instance the main line is 8lb use 4lb or 6lb test from the swivel down to the hook. If you get snagged and had to break the line, you would only lose the hook and split shot by breaking the lighter line. This keeps the float as the swivel acts as a stop on your main line. It saves you time not chasing a floating bobber.