Types of Fishing Bobbers and Floats
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Types of Fishing Bobbers and Floats

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Bobbers and floats should be in every tackle box. In fact, keep a variety on hand. The main purpose of these simple and inexpensive gadgets is controlling the baits depth. But, they also help spot the baits location and alert you when a fish bites. Floats are typically long cylinder shapes while bobbers are round. This article will cover the various types of fishing bobbers and floats. And, how to utilize them when you are freshwater fishing. Using bobbers is also called float fishing. Available in two styles, fixed and slip. Common materials used to make bobbers include plastic, balsa wood, cork and styrofoam. A large assortment of colors & sizes are available so they can be used for most fishing adventures.

The Basics: Fishing With Bobbers And Floats

Colors of bobbers and floats help you spot your line. Choose a bobbers size based on the species of fish you target. Fixed are best for shallow water. Use for crappie, bass and panfish. The clips, also called claws, clamp down onto the line. This keeps the bobber in one place on the line.  They hold the bait at a pre-set depth but they are also harder to cast. Slip floats are best used for walleyes, trout and pike. Because they are easy to cast, use slip bobbers at any depth. Don’t go to big with your bobbers and floats. Use the smallest float available that will get the specific job done. Correctly match them to the size of your bait so small for light and large for heavy baits. The best baits to use with the following types of fishing bobbers and floats are crickets, worms and minnows.

#1 Ball or Push Button Bobber

The Classic Type Of Fishing Bobbers And Floats

How To Use a Push Button Bobber Fishing
Agool Fishing Bobbers

Ball bobbers are easy to identify by their classic round red and white design and are the most buoyant bobbers to use. So, when fishing currents and hard to access areas buoyancy is key. This traditional bobber holds heavier bait but also requires greater force to be pulled underwater. Also referred to as strike indicators or snap caps, they attach to the line with a spring loaded clip inside the ball. And, will remain in a fixed position. A perfect bobber for novice anglers because they are easy to use and inexpensive. They are made of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) which makes them durable. Because they won’t cast well, use ball bobbers in shallow water that is 2 – 4 feet deep. Problems with ball bobbers are the limited amount of line you can reel in because of the fixed position and they tend to damage your line

#2 Popping Cork Bobbers And Floats

Not Just For Saltwater Fishing

Hurricane Slotted Popping Weighted Floats
Hurricane Slotted Popping Weighted Floats


Popping corks are usually between 3 and 5 inches long. Typically made out of cork, Styrofoam and hard plastic. The indent on the wider side causes the popping sound. These floats are effective in shallow waters where fish tend to look towards the surface. Cork floats have two varieties, weighted and unweighted. Preferred by most anglers, weighted are easier to cast and sit upright. Both saltwater and freshwater anglers use popping bobbers. The sound they make resembles bait fish busting the surface so targeting schooling fish is ideal. Most anglers fishing with corks use live bait and fish for trout, bass and pike. Try using a popping cork around structures and grass flats.

#3 Slip Bobbers

The Versitle Type of Fishing Bobber And Float

thkfish Fishing Slip Bobber How to Rig
thkfish Slip Bobber

Slip bobbers slide freely on fishing lines. A benefit is being able to adjust the baits depth. So, this makes them ideal choice for using in deeper waters. Suspend the bait at your desired depth using a bait stop. Place your stop low for walleye and catfish. Midway for pike and panfish and higher for shallow waters. Set a small bobber stop and bead where you want to suspend your bait. Slip bobbers are easy to cast, sensitive and won’t damage your line. Grab yourself a glow slip for night fishing. Pole float slip bobbers used with circle hooks are perfect for catching catfish. Three types of fishing bobbers and floats stems are carbon, wire and fiberglass. Carbon is strong and light. Wire is heavy and stable. Fiberglass is weighted and strong. Slip bobbers allow you to reel your line in all the way when you land that big catch.

#4 Wagglers or Pencil Bobbers

The Anglers Go To Fishing Bobber Float

thkfish Pencil or Waggler Bobber how to use for fishing
thkfish Pencil Bobber

Wagglers, also known as pencil bobbers, are a popular choice among anglers because they are easy to rig and provide good stability.  These types of bobbers connect by threading the line through the bottom of the float. There is a large variety of shapes and sizes to choose from.  Simple to set-up and resist tangling.  Wagglers are great for targeting walleyes, bass, trout, crappies and perch.  These floats are also a fantastic choice when fishing weeds, rocks and other structures.  A great option for fishing calm waters because they are very sensitive.  The two sub-types of wagglers are straight and bodied.  They come with three different stems: carbon, wire and fiberglass. Carbon is strong and light, wire is heavy and stable and fiberglass combine both because they are weighted, stable and strong.

#5 Balloons as Bobbers

Adjustable Natural And Effective

Balloon Fishing using the Balloon Fisher King

Same concept as traditional bobbers, they keep bait raised at the depth you choose. But, they can get you to otherwise non attainable areas. Adjust the balloons size to take advantage of larger surface areas. Balloons allow the bait to move naturally in the water opposed to simply standing. The more inflated the balloon, the faster it will move. But, don’t over inflate because it will cause the balloon to pop. Balloons are a top option for bank fishing because it will float the bait long distances. Make sure you are in a position that the wind directs the bait away from you. They are inexpensive and easy to find. A package of balloons cost less than one standard bobber. Balloons have less resistance than floats. Balloons that are inflated correctly help the bait more natural movement when windy. Try a balloon bobber on stripers, catfish and panfish.

Balloon Fisher King 400 Pro Pack with 5 balloon clips and 10 5 inch balloons

Add balloons to the mainline above a sinker. They attach using rubber bands, balloon clips or small sting (dental floss). When fishing deep water use a stop, sinker and snap swivel. The sinker and stop will keep the depth of the balloon set similar to that of a slip float. Checkout Balloon Fisher King products. The clips are re-usable. And, the balloons are made from 100% plant-based biodegradable latex. Their latex balloons are biodegradable and have no harmful chemicals.

#6 Bubbles

Fishing Flies Without A Fly Rod

Double X Tackle A-Just-A Bubble Bobber for Fishing
Double X Tackle A-Just-A Bubble Bobber

Bubble bobbers are clear and hollow. The weight is adjusted by filling the bubble with water. They have a removable rubber stopper, attach to the main line and typically made of plastic. The line is feed through the tapered center of the float. Pull the rubber core out and fill with water to obtain desired buoyancy. Adding yards of distance, they are a great choice when fishing from shore.  Cast dry or wet fly, jig or live bait with accuracy. Bubbles have a natural appearance avoiding scaring the fish. The more water added to the bubble the further it will cast. But, it floats lower and is harder to spot when there is a strike. Good targets for bubble fishing are trout, catfish and panfish.

How To Use A-Just-A-Bubble for Fishing Bobber
How To Use A-Just-A-Bubble

In Conclusion

Bobbers and floats are old school but still provide an optimal fishing tactic. There are numerous types of fishing bobbers and floats.Haven’t used one in awhile? Then use bobbers and floats, make the catch and embrace the nostalgia.

FUN FACT: First Known Mention Of Fishing Bobbers

A book named “Treatyse of fysshynge wyth an Angle” written by Juliana Berners in 1496 is the first known mention of fishing with a float.

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