Fishing With A Slip Bobber

Whether you are age 8 or 80, your fishing journey probably began with a bobber. It’s a timeless and effective setup that everyone can use and enjoy. While you can still use a classic float clasped to your line to indicate a strike, bobber designs have evolved into much more useful setups. We have found that not a lot of people know about slip bobbers, much less how to use them, so I decided to share that with you here.

The biggest issue with a regular bobber is that it is fixed on the line. This makes it quick and easy to set up, and you can see every bump and nibble on your bait, but it makes it difficult to cast. Because of the fixed position, it is often very difficult to cast any amount of distance, especially if you are fishing deep.

Isn’t A Fixed Bobber Good Enough?

While using live bait with an ordinary bobber is a great way to fish, it is definitely limited. You will need to be careful with the power you use while casting, and you will also need to be extra cautious when reeling in. You really only have about a rod length of depth to fish with a fixed bobber, both for casting and for reeling. For example, let’s assume that you have caught a larger fish and you are trying to reel it in. However, the bobber reaches your rod’s guides, and the fish is still a few feet away from your boat. This situation is very easy to mess up, especially when you give the fish more time to try and escape – you should try to avoid it whenever possible.

Why Is Fishing With A Slip Bobber Better?

Thankfully, there is still a way to use a bobber and eliminate the downsides mentioned above. The piece of equipment you need is, however, slightly different – a slip bobber. The slip bobber looks just like a normal one, but there is one major difference – there is a small, hollow tube in the middle. Your line passes through it, allowing the bobber to slip freely up and down your line. It comes with a small bead and string, which you tie on your line to set the depth of the bait. The bobber slips down to your terminal tackle to cast, and then slips up to the string when your bait is in the water. The string knot is very small, and will not get in the way of your spool whenever you are casting or reeling in fish – in fact, you can even reel it up.  

By far, the biggest advantage of slip bobbers is how easy they make it to cast. Your slip bobber will sit tight to your bait, so you will not face difficulties casting, in fact it makes it easier with all of the weight end-loaded on your line. As soon as it hits the water, your line will slip through the bobber until it reaches the stop you have pre-set. This allows you to control the depth you want to target ideally and allows you to adjust it easily before every throw. You can fish in 2 feet or 20 feet of water with the same ease and casting motion. Last but not least, the easier the throw, the better your aim will be – and this is essential if you have done the research to choose the best spot.

Another advantage of slip bobbers is that they tend to be made out of better materials – popular models are typically made of balsa wood and high-end plastic, allowing them to last for years of fishing trips. They might be a bit pricier than the plastic bobbers you are used to seeing, but I assure you that the investment is worthwhile. Think about it… you hardly ever lose a bobber!

various slip bobbers

How Easy Is A Slip Bobber To Set Up?

We already gave a brief explanation of the way this whole thing works. However, is it easy to set up for the first go? The answer is – yes. It will always be an easy task, but some kits might make it even easier! For example, some slip bobbers come pre-packaged with a ready-to-use piece of string, which is tied on a hollow tube, as well as a small bead. So, what do you do now?

Feed your line all the way through the tube, and then slip the tube out – so that just the string remains. Now, tighten the string so that a knot is formed – clip the ends after this is done. Now, you have a knot on your line. If you have tightened it properly, it should be fairly difficult to move without using extra force – this is ideal because the next step is to get the bead onto the line. The bead is now your stopper, and there is only one thing left to do – put the slip bobber on.

Once you have put the live bait at the end of the line, the slip bobber will slip down to it. After you make the throw, the line will feed through the bobber until the stopper is reached. And there you have it – an easy-to-throw and easy-to-adjust setup. Even if you have purchased a slip bobber that does not come with the small accessories mentioned above, you can see that it is very easy to make the setup yourself. All you need is a small hollow tube (e.g., a straw,) a piece of string, and a bead. All you’re trying to do is tie thread or thin string into a small knot that you can then slide up and down to change your depth, and is strong enough to hold its position while the bobber is floating.

Keep in mind that if you plan on using a slip bobber without live bait and with a smaller hook, then you might need to place a small weight below it. This is to ensure that the line will slip through once it hits the water.

If you're interested in trying out a slip bobber, find the best price here.


Anything Else to Know About Slip Bobbers?

If you have not used a slip bobber before, then you should definitely change this on your next fishing trip. They are a few dollars more than the fixed bobber, but they are well worth it. Once you have your setup ready to go, you will probably end up reusing it hundreds of times before you need to re-supply. Thanks to this piece of equipment, you can present your bait at any depth, with just minimum adjustments – simply slide the knot a bit further up or down the line.

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Fishing Report from TPWD (Nov. 30)

GOOD. Water stained; 59 degrees; 4.25 feet low. GOOD. The water level is 167.7 with no generators running. Water temperature at the Dam is 59 degrees. The back feeder creeks are stained and muddy with lots of Fall leaves floating on the surface, and the main lake remains clear. We were blessed with some rain this week 2-3 inches. Not much has changed on the pattern this week. Chatter baits are still producing in 3/8 to 3/4 ounce white, chartreuse, watermelon pepper, and red/black skirts. To cover a lot of water, use a square bill crank bait or a flat side crank bait and smaller rattle traps from 0-8 feet in shad and perch imitation colors and the Rayburn red traps are still working. For deeper Bass, cast a Carolina rig with a worm or lizard. Jigging spoons are still producing quality bass on 1/2 to 3/4 ounce (silver with a white or yellow accent tail feather or a deep diving crank bait in citrus shad and Tennessee shad colors). The jig and pig bite has been strong. Cast your jig to long tapering points that drop off into deep water, the best colors are black and blue, PB&J football jigs 3/8 - 3/4 ounce with a 3-inch matching color craw trailer, and a green pumpkin jig with a chunk style trailer. The Crappie bite is still good in 12-20 feet on the edge of the river channels using 1/16- and 3/32-ounce Wager Baits, #46 Bluegrass, #3 Monkey Milk, #09 Electric Chicken, #10 Black and Chartreuse and small minnows depending on the cloud cover and cooling night temperatures. Now that the lake is at a Winter drawdown, it's prime time to go out scouting for new areas for Springtime fishing. Look for areas like feeder creeks, ditches, man-made structures, creek bends and undercuts, etc. Reminder: Keep and extra set of clothes in a dry bag stowed away on your vessel just in case you get caught in the rain, heavy winds, etc. Hypothermia happens quickly. Good luck and keep casting forward! Report from Master Captain Steve “Scooby” Stubbe, Mudfish Adventures LLC, Orv

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