How to Fish With a Bobber

Some fish, like the small pan-size fish sunfish, crappies, or Bluegill like to hang out together at a certain depth and location in a lake environment. They are prolific spawners who repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. Using a Bobber fishing setup to fish for them is the best and easiest way to do it. A Bobber can improve your odds of finding & catching schools of fish if you apply these rules. How do you fish with a Bobber?

  • Use right size Bobber/Slip Float
  • Slip type for deep H2O
  • Fixed type for shallow H2O
  • Tie bobber to rig 3-4 ft. above the hook
  • Adjust Bobber/Slip Float to hold depth where fish are
  • Add 1-2 split shot sinkers to mainline between Bobber and Hook
  • Knot Bobber on both sides
  • Keep Bobber in view to indicate a hit


Fishing with a bobber is one of the most common and simple setups. It is what I used to learn to fish and now it is what my Grand-daughters used for their first-day fishing. The bobber or float presents the bait at a pre-set depth and acts as a strike indicator when a fish bites. There are various colors, shapes, and sizes of bobbers available today, lighted or glow for nighttime fishing, slip bobbers that the fishing line passes through for deep water fishing, and the fixed bobber that uses a spring lock or snaps for shallow water fishing.


1. Round Attached 2. Lighted Slip 3. Weighted Spring Attached 4. Glow Slip 5. Slip
6. Antenna Slip 7. Shy/Light Bite Slip 8. Waggler Slip 9. Large Bait Slip

When to Use a Bobber

There are many instances that would be advantageous to you adding a Bobber to your fishing line. This is especially useful when you’re targeting fish that tend to suspend in schools like crappie, bluegill, and perch. The faster you can pull them in-the faster you get the bait out to the same place and in the same depth of water for another hit.

  • A Bobber can keep your hook on the surface away from dreadful snags that happen on the bottom of the water where there are rocks or debris that will catch your line.
  • Fishing tight spots between trees and branches can give you more visual signals while staying clear of obstructions on the surface.
  • A Bobber can act as an Indicator of where the fish are biting at the actual depth so you can adjust to that depth until you find where the fish are.
  • Used with live bait the Bobber can give the bait movement attracting fish.
  • A Bobber can visually show you if your bait is being hit even farther away from shore in deeper water
  • A Bobber can cover more surface water if you allow for the wind, drift, and water current


How to Tie a Bobber On a Fishing Line


Bobbers usually have a pop-up hook that can be exposed by pressing the top button on each opposite end. The first thing you’ll want to do is choose how far up your line you want to place your bobbers. Reveal the hook by pressing the button and threading your mainline through the hook at the top of the Bobber.

Then expose the bottom hook by depressing the top button.  I usually just wrap the line a few winds around the bottom bobber hook, this way the line will stay loose enough where I can adjust the depth of the bait in the water by adjusting where the Bobber is located on the line.

If you know the depth and want that consistency, then, tie an overhand knot onto the line. In an overhand knot, you make a circle with your fishing line and pull the end through it. Then just tie another knot to prevent your bobber from moving in the opposite direction. Finally, add on split shots between your hook and floater to modify how deep you want your hook to be.



Types of Fishing Bobber


Floats and bobbers help suspend your bait more easily at the level of the fish, while sinkers take your line to lower depths where fish reside. If you are taking the kids out on the lake for their time out big Bobbers can make their day more successful. Kids can easily see fish hitting their lines and can react faster to a bite.

When a fish is hitting your bait the Bobber will bounce up and down until the fish takes the bait then the bobber will stay under the surface of the water. Sometimes bigger Bobbers are not better where they may scare fish away. Choose the right size and type so that it won’t interfere with casting or reeling in your line.

When choosing a Bobber, consider a Slip Float type Bobber that offers the angler the most versatility and allows them to cast freely, and allow the bait to float at any depth they desire. A fixed float will limit the depth at which the bobber will suspend. So if you are fishing into deeper holes in lakes or rivers consider the Slip Float type Bobber that will allow for it. If the water or the environment is a factor use bright colors or bigger floats like a Cigar type there is a Bobber for any kind of situation.


Bass Pro Shops Round Plastic Floats Basic Round Plastic Floats are designed to snap on your line, but can also be used as a slip float. Extremely buoyant and easy to see from a distance, high-riding floats are made from high-quality plastic to ensure maximum durability and long-lasting floatability the fatter and bigger the easier they are to see on the surface of the water. Come in every kind of size and color imaginable but the brightest work best.


Bass Pro Shops Oval Slip Float   Oval Slip Float is made of premium balsa wood, allowing gentle presentations and smooth drifts. Easily adjusts to any depth; is extremely durable and won’t crack, as plastic floats often do. They come in different sizes and colors. Easily adjusts to any depth and enables smooth, gentle presentations laying upon the water’s surface. These will work well in deeper lakes and saltwater where the depth of water is deeper range. The idea behind the slip bobber rig is that you make one rig that can adjust to various depths with the quick adjustment of a bobber stop.


See the source image High Visibility Cigar Floats are blue-collar workhorses and come in weighted and unweighted styles. Cigar Floats are available in the weighted clip, unweighted clip, unweighted spring-stick, and slip-stick (slip float) styles. Easily adjust to a Slide bobber for correcting depth and come in assorted colors and sizes. These work well in choppier water where cloud cover and rough water can make it hard for the angler to see his/her line in the water.


Bobber Fishing Setup



For novice fishing, especially for children being taught to fish or beginner anglers, the easiest way would be the basic bobber rig. These are very simple rigs, and the bobber will show you when a fish is biting your bait. This rig can be used when fishing for panfish, crappie, perch, or any other small fish. Follow these steps to make a basic bobber rig:

  • Tie a hook on the end of your fishing line with one of your fishing knots. The simplest to learn is the Uni Knot
  • Pinch one or two small split shot sinkers to your mainline about 6-12 inches from the hook to add a bit of weight to your line (this will keep your bait suspended vertically). If there is current, you can add one or two more split shots.
  • For smaller fish, a Swivel and leader are optional-Sometime less is best, especially with taking kids fishing.
  • Finally, clip a circle bobber to the rig at least 3-4 feet above the hook. Where you place the bobber can vary depending on the depth of the water but remember not to make it too long or it will be difficult to cast.


  • A cork bobber can be used on a basic bobber rig as well. But remember to slide it on your line before you tie your hook.
  • Choose the right size Bobber-A bobber that is too large will cause the fish to experience more resistance and may lead the fish to drop the bait. If the bobber is too small, then the buoyancy will suffer, and the bobber will not float properly which may cause even the more experienced angler to lose a few bites.
  • Choose a Slip type of Bobber for deeper water or bigger fish they are easily adjustable by removing the center grommet and sliding the Bobber in place then replacing the grommet back in place.

If you need to Set the Depth on a Slip Bobber  The depth you want to fish at is set by the bobber stop. As You can actually slide it up and down your line, you can set the exact depth you want to present your bait at. The higher you slide the stop up your line, the deeper you will be able to fish.

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JimGalloway Author/Editor



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