How to set up a fishing pole with a bobber is a concept that most anglers will consider at some point. After all, fishing with bobbers, or floats as they are also known, is probably most basic fishing method imaginable.

Additionally, it lends itself well to a multitude of fresh and saltwater fishing scenarios making it extremely versatile to boot.

Knowing this, what exactly is a bobber and what makes them so valuable and simple to use?

How to Set up a Fishing Pole with a Bobber: The Bobbing Background

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Not only is bobber fishing ultra simple and effective, but it’s also one of the oldest recorded methods of catching fish. The earliest written accounts of using bobbers for fishing date as far back as the late 1400s.

And angling history thereafter is liberally seasoned with details of the evolution of the fishing bobber into the angling stalwart it is today.

This is all well and good, but the question of what bobbers are and how they work still remains. So without further ado let’s get to answering it.

What are bobbers?

A bobber is any buoyant object that you connect to your fishing line to indicate bites or suspend your baits at a predetermined depth. People use a wide variety of materials to make bobbers including wood, plastic, or foam, the only real requirement being that it floats.

Bobbers are also made in an equally large range of shapes and sizes ranging from simple stick floats to elaborate line-through-body types with built-in illumination.

For all this diversity, bobbers only serve two purposes namely bite indicators and bait suspension aids.

Bite indication

Bite indication is certainly the bobber’s most prominent function. It will give a clear indication that there is activity at a suspended bait by bobbing around in the water.

If a fish runs with your bait, the bobber will either move across the water or be pulled below the surface.

Bait suspension

Fish often feed in clearly defined “zones” in the water. If you use a bobber, you can suspend your bait in these zones increasing your chances of getting a bite. In addition, you can keep your bait off the bottom to reduce the chance of getting snagged up.

What Are the Main Types of Bobbers

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As we have mentioned previously, there are an astounding array of bobbers available today. However, they all fall into one of two broad categories namely captive and sliding, or slip bobbers.

Captive bobbers

Captive type bobbers are locked onto your line at a fixed point and don’t move while you’re fishing. The captive bobber is the quickest and simplest rig to set up and is great for shallow fishing applications.

So, here are a couple of examples of captive bobbers.

Ball bobber

The ball bobber is one the most common and easy to use bobbers. It locks onto your line using a spring-loaded wire clip and requires no other gear to keep it in place.

Companies make ball bobbers from a variety of materials including plastic and foam.

Waggler bobber

Waggler bobbers are an iconic design which has been around for almost as long as bobbers have been in use.

They are typically made of light woods such as balsa and feature a small wire loop at one end. The fishing line is tied onto the loop holding the bobber in place while fishing.

Spring bobber

The spring bobber is similar in design and working principle to the waggler bobber. The main difference is the spring bobber’s spring and notch line locking system.

Sliding or slip bobbers

Slip bobbers differ from their captive cousins in that they are free to slide up and down the fishing line. It’s possible by inserting a plastic tube through the bobber body for the line to pass through.

The range of travel they have along the line can be limited by using a range of adjustable bobber stoppers.

Slip bobbers take a little longer to set up but are great for situations where you want to fish your bait a long way under the surface.

These are good examples of slip bobbers.

Slip stick bobber

Narrow-bodied slip stick bobbers are most often made of a combination of balsa wood for the body and plastic for the antenna, flags, and inserts.

Slip body bobber

Although similar in most respects to slip stick bobbers, these have an additional ball, or body, built into the stick. This makes the bobber a bit more buoyant and suitable for suspending heavier baits.

How to Set up a Fishing Pole with a Bobber: Setting up a Basic Slip Bobber Rig

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The slip bobber rig must figure as one of the most popular and versatile bobber setups. It is relatively simple to set up and offers some great benefits and flexibility.

One of the best things about slip bobber rigs is that you get to set your baits really deep if needs be. The bobber can slide all the way down to the terminal tackle eliminating long, unwieldy lines when you cast. That allows you to set your bait presentation depth as deep as you like and still be able to cast effectively.

So, what do you need to set up the slip bobber rig?

What you’ll need

You are going to need the following tackle and equipment to set up your slip bobber rig. Please remember that you need to match some of these items to the thickness of your mainline and your target species.

  • Appropriately sized bobber stops
  • A slip bobber
  • Plastic or rubber beads
  • Split shot or small egg sinkers
  • Appropriate barrel swivels
  • Appropriate hooks
  • Leader line of choice
  • A pair of fishing pliers with line cutter

Setting the bobber stop

Getting your bobber stop correctly set is an important part of how to set up a fishing pole with a bobber. We will assume you already know what species you are targeting and at what depth you want to present your bait.

Now, your first step is to thread the bobber stop onto the main line that comes off your reel. The distance you move the bobber stop up the line depends on how deep you want your bait to be presented. This is how you work it out.

For instance, let’s say you want to hang your bait 10 feet below the surface and plan to use a 2-foot leader. In this case, you’d move the bobber stop about eight feet up your main line. That, along with your 2-foot leader will present your bait at around 10 feet.

Once you have your bobber stop set you can thread a plastic or rubber bead onto the line. This bead will prevent the bobber from riding over the bobber stop. You need to make sure the hole in the bead is smaller than the bobber stop for this to work.

Right, now you have your bobber stop and bead set you can put your bobber onto the line.

Setting up the bobber

Slip bobbers will typically have a plastic tube running through the bobber body. One end of the tube will be shorter than the other and probably have a grommet in its opening. This is the end you’ll thread your line through from.

When you’ve got the bobber on the line, put it down on the deck or your tackle box so it doesn’t slide off again. Just remember, if you want to use a sliding sinker on your rig, you’ll have to thread it onto your main line before you tie your swivel on.

Setting up your terminal tackle

Your terminal tackle consists of a leader, sinkers and your hooks. To set up this part of your rig you’ll start by tying a swivel onto the free end of your main line. Now you can tie your leader and hook onto the free end of the swivel.

If you haven’t used sliding sinkers you’ll need to crimp a couple of split shot onto your main line above the swivel. The sinkers or shot lend weight to your terminal tackle and will help to set your rig after you cast.

How your slip bobber rig works

Now that you have the low-down on how to set up a fishing pole with a bobber, you’re ready to get a bait in the water. When you cast your slip bobber rig into the water, the magic happens!

The weight of the sinkers or shot pull line through the bobber until it pulls up against the bobber stop. And that suspends you bait at exactly the right depth.

Now all you have to do is watch that bobber like a hawk for the first signs of a bite.

Handy Bobber Fishing Accessories

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We’re wagering that our how to set up a fishing pole with a bobber guide will see you tackle shopping soon. To help out in that regard here are some great accessories for your bobber fishing efforts.

Mimilure Rubber Bobber Stoppers

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These rubber thread-on bobber stops are among the most effective and convenient types out there. Available in large, medium and small sizes, the bobber stops are a great addition to your tackle box.

JSHANMEI soft plastic luminous bead selection

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Beads are an essential part of any tackle selection. They serve as buffers between terminal tackle components and stop bobbers from riding over bobber stops.

The luminous beads in this selection not only protect your tackle but add an effective attractant to your bait.

Water Gremlin Removable Split Shot Pro Pack

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Along with sliding sinkers, split shot is a terminal tackle weighting component you’ll be reaching for regularly while bobber fishing. The Water Gremlin 124 piece split shot assortment has a good selection of sizes of removable split shot conveniently presented in a sturdy plastic case.

While you’re shopping, you may want to check out Paul Duffield’s great book Float Fishing Tackle and Techniques for Stillwaters and Rivers. The book has lots of advice about bobber fishing makes for good waterside reference reading.

‚ÄčHow to Set up a Fishing Pole with a Bobber: The Summary

That’s it for our how to set up a fishing pole with a bobber guide. Hopefully, we’ll have helped you learn the basics of what bobbers are and how to use them. And we hope you’ll have many enjoyable hours of bobber fishing using what you’ve learned.

Good luck and tight lines!

If you have bobber fishing tips or advice you’d like to share, please use the comments section below.

Last update on 2022-12-15 at 04:39 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API