Slip bobbers, while spoken about often in the fishing community, are a tool of the trade that not all anglers understand or utilize. The concept behind slip bobbers is simple, being able to use the “bobber” concept while fishing deeper water.
With a slip bobber, your fishing line slides through a hole in a float until an obstacle such as a knot and/or bead stops its progress. The knot/bead is placed a pre-determined distance from your bait or lure to allow you to fish at a precise level, regardless of how deep it is.
When it comes time to rig up a slip float, put your fishing line though the straw, slide one of the knots onto your line and move it to the desired depth level, then pull the tag ends to tighten the knot and trim it as closely as possible to eliminate any line-catching tag ends.
If the slip knot slides through or hangs up in the hole in the float, then a small bead is needed between the knot and float. If the hole through the float is large, which often is a benefit because line can more easily pass through it, then a bead larger than the hole in the float must be used as a buffer between the knot and float.
Slip floats usually are fished with live bait or a lure such as a jig or spoon, or often with a live bait and lure combination. Live bait generally is used below split shot to help "balance" the float. Balancing is using enough weight to make the float stand upright in the water, ideally with most of the float submerged, so a fish feels as little resistance a possible when it takes your offering.
A jig, dressed with live bait or plain, can be used effectively below a slip float. Because the weight and attractor are at the same point, this set up has certain advantages over a standard weighted live-bait float rig. Every movement of the float, whether caused by waves or angler, activates the jig.
You don't have most of the action absorbed by a weight clamped a foot or two above a hook. A jig adds bulk, color and action to your presentation. My favorite presentation for use below a float for crappie or walleye is a marabou-tailed jig.
Mister Twister type tails need more action to activate them, while even the gentlest current or wave action causes a marabou tail to wave seductively in the water. In colder water, a minnow often is added to the jig for crappies or walleyes, while in warmer weather, a leech is tough to beat for walleyes or bass.
Slip bobbering can be a dynamite method for scoring on crappies, walleyes, catfish, and bass relating to deeper water and/or structure. If not already a part of your late summer and fall repertoire, make it so; you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results! I’ll see you on the water …
Joel DeBoer is owner of Wisconsin Angling Adventures Guide Service, www.wisconsinanglingadventures.com.