Angler’s Guide to Fishing with a Bobber
There’s nothing worse than losing a bite. You just had it! You don’t want fish to keep slipping through your fingers but you’re not sure what’s wrong. Maybe you’re using the wrong bait? Maybe your bait isn’t in the right place? Maybe you need to use a bobber.
What Is a Bobber?
For all you beginner anglers, a bobber is a small float, usually round like a ball, that floats in the water to help keep your bait at the depth you desire. These floats are typically made of plastic, but, in some cases, can be made of cork or other buoyant material. In addition to these traditional fixed bobbers, there are other kinds including slip bobbers, which allow you to have more freedom when casting. Bobbers are widely used by anglers everywhere not only to suspend their bait at specific depths, but also to provide a more relaxed fishing experience as the bobber will move to alert an angler that they have a bite.
Should I Use a Bobber?
The pros and cons of fishing with a bobber or float are plentiful, and most anglers would agree there is a time and place where bobbers are beneficial. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if and when you should fish with a bobber:
Pros of Bobbers
- Suspending your bait: The main advantage of using a bobber is to suspend your bait at a desired depth. When fishing, you want to make sure your bait is visible above the fish, in their line of sight, and that it looks as natural as possible so you can maximize your chances of getting a bite. This is particularly challenging in shallow waters, like lakes and streams, because the length of the line could easily allow the bait to sink to the bottom. This is where bobbers come in! Bobbers are rarely used in deep waters because they’re frankly unnecessary, so the depth of water is an important consideration before deciding whether or not to fish with a bobber.
- Alerting you to a bite: Another convenient feature of using bobbers is that you have a built-in cue to when you’ve got a fish on the line! Feel free to sit back and relax and let the bobber do the work here because, as soon as it moves, you know something is down there pulling on your line. This is not to say that bobbers are for lazy anglers, they can be quite the opposite. They are, however, useful for fish with subtle bites to help ensure you never let one go!
- Navigating through difficult waters: The buoyant nature of bobbers allows you to navigate more easily through currents and brush at the bottom of the water in order to fish in areas you may not have been able to without a float.
Cons of Bobbers
- Limited depth: While bobbers are great for setting depth in shallow waters, this technique doesn’t work as well in deeper areas because you are limited to the length of your pole and line. This can make casting frustrating in deeper water if you’re using a bobber.
- Limited line length: Because you attach your bobber to your line, you are limiting the amount of line you can cast out and typically can only cast a shorter distance. If you secure the bobber too far up your line, reeling in a large fish might be close to impossible.
- Damaged fishing line: Sometimes, attaching a bobber to your line can cause damage, so it’s important to be careful when attaching and do it correctly. Here is a helpful video tutorial on attaching your bobber!
Tips and Tricks for Fishing with Bobbers
If you’ve never fished with a bobber before, you’ll want to make sure you know the basics so you can start catching fish right away! Once you learn how to attach your bobber to your line, here are a few tips for getting started with bobbers.
- Use live bait: Bobbers are most often used with live bait because the suspension of the bobber allows the bait to look more natural in the water, just as the live bait would if it weren’t…attached to a fish hook.
- Keep it small: Many beginners start out with a bobber that’s way too big for their bait, which results in too much resistance from your fish and ultimately some lost bites. Make sure your bobber size is consistent with that of your hook, bait, and desired fish.
- Shorten the distance between the bobber and hook: When using a bobber, the best results typically come when you secure your bobber just one or two feet from your hook. This allows for a wider range to cast your line and prevents your hook from hitting the bottom of the water. Shortening this distance allows for maximum control over the placement and depth of your hook.
What Type of Fishing Apparel Will I Need?
On any fishing or camping trip, it's important to wear performance fishing shirts when you plan to spend hours on the water in the heat, rain, or cold. The fishing apparel you choose ultimately affects your performance and health. Long sleeve fishing shirts should have UV protection, moisture-wicking, anti-odor, quick-dry, and ventilated features. You should also have fishing shorts with multiple deep pockets, 4-way stretch, moisture-wicking, and stain-resistant fabrics. Sun protection is extremely important, especially if you fish frequently.