Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Bobber stops: an off-season DIY tackle project

Follow the basic instructions in wrapping used braided line around the straw, then tie off and cut to the appropriate length. DIY bobber stops are simple and easy to make – a perfect winter project when ice fishing is slow. (Photo courtesy of Jim Edlund)

If there’s one thing the Green Movement has right, it’s “reuse, reduce, recycle.” But in some ways, many anglers have been living by this slogan for decades.

Years ago, I discovered a great way to re-purpose old, spent braided line and build my own easy, cheap, (and green!) bobber stops. For anglers who fish with slipfloat rigs for catfish, panfish, and walleyes, it’s a trick that can save time and a little bit of money – a perfect winter workbench project.

The basic tools to make your bobber stops readily are available: cocktail straws, some 8- to 10-inch lengths of old braided line, and a braid scissors.

Another advantage is these slip-bobber stops just work well. Any angler who fishes with slip floats is familiar with the various bobber stops sold at tackle shops. The small, spherical rubber stops have the tendency to burn through when adjusted up and down the line more than a few times, requiring re-rigging – a time-consuming chore when you’re on the water.

Another style of bobber stop is hard plastic and requires you to thread your line through it several times. This style is notoriously hard to adjust and can fray your line, leading to dumped fish.

The best bobber stops are those made of line wrapped around a small, plastic tube. You simply thread your line through the tube, push the knot onto your main line, and pull the tube off.

You can make these line/tube bobber stops ahead of time so you always have one ready for quick rigging – or, in a pinch, fashion one on the water with nothing more than a small piece of braid tied directly to your main line in the manner described below, just without the straw.

What you’ll need

• Small 5-inch cocktail straws

• Braid scissors

• A dozen 8- to 10-inch lengths of old braided line

Step-by-step

Before tackling the steps below, learn the uni knot – the basis for the do-it-yourself bobber stop. You can find tutorials online. Just type in “uni knot” in your search engine. Now, onto the steps:

1) Thread your line parallel to the straw, form your loop, do four to six wraps over the braid and straw, and cinch the knot (see photo). Go with five or six more wraps with lighter braid; heavier braid may require only four.

2) Cut the tag ends to one inch per side.

3) Slide the completed bobber stop to the end of the straw, but do not slide it off.

4) Repeat steps 1 through 3 until the straw has a good number of bobber stops on it with a 1⁄16-inch gap between each.

5) Cut the straw into as many sections as you have knots. Or leave all knots on the straw and simply slide a single stop onto the line as needed.

You now have a bunch of homemade bobber stops. Just don’t forget to add a smallholed bead after you slide on your bobber stop!

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