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Reintroduce yourself to slip bobbers

Posted on July 23, 2012

Terry TumaI’m seeing renewed interest in slip-bobber fishing for walleyes, a technique that can be extremely productive along inside weedlines, rocks, and reefs – especially in wind-blown areas.

A prime way to fish, for example – if you have wind coming into a rock pile, reef, or weed edge – is to drop a jig or hook with some live bait under a slip bobber. Use a lively leech, minnow, or crawler in tandem with a long rod, and generally use 8-pound-test line.

Some might ask, “Why not just use a regular bobber?” Well, the slip bobber allows you to set up for a specific depth plus cast your bait farther. You can’t do that with a fixed bobber, because all the line in front of the bobber would prevent you from casting very far. Another issue with a fixed bobber is that as you reel it up, with too much line out, you can’t net the fish.

A bobber stop sets the specific depth, and materials really have improved in bobber stops. There are alternatives to threaded bobber stops these days like neoprene. That material works well because it slides through your rod guides and spool easily. It’s easy to use and secure.

Many anglers believe slip bobber use is only for over rocks and reefs, but it works on many bodies of water where we have walleyes in the weeds. You can cast it into pockets. I use them in tandem with a plain, small jig with no dressing, or a colored hook and bead and leech.

To set depth, check your depthfinder, then adjust the bobber so you think you’re at about 4 to 6 feet, and if the bobber is upright, then go deeper until it lies down. That tells you you’re on the bottom. Then pull it up a foot or so.

I like my weight 12 to 18 inches above the minnow when targeting more aggressive fish. In a tougher bite, place that weight about 6 inches above the hook.

Leeches are great slip-bobber bait. Hook them through the sucker end. With crawlers, experiment with hooking them through the center, and hook minnows near the tail.

Don’t force yourself to cast to the fish. You can drop a bobber rig over side of boat!

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