Floats and bobbers

Floats (also called bobbers) are designed to attach to the line and suspend your bait at a selected depth. They are also used to indicate when the angler gets a bite. The most common type of bobber is a globe-shaped red/white plastic model. Typically, they are attached with a spring-loaded clip that pinches the line and holds the bait at a pre-selected depth. Some models have two clips that attached to the line.  These types work fine for relatively shallow depths. Most novice anglers choose this type. Their size should be matched to the size of the bait used, and should be just big enough to suspend the bait being used. Most novices select a bobber too large for most pan fishing situations.   

Setting these types of floats for deeper water results in a long length of line suspended below the float, which makes casting difficult. For deeper water situations (more than 3 feet, or so), a “slip bobber” is a better selection.  The slip bobber is designed to slide up the line until it is stopped by a “bobber stop” (typically a piece of rubber, cotton line, or rubber band) that is tied to the line that stops the bobber from sliding any further. The bobber stop is small enough to be wound onto the reel, so it will not interfere with the casting. Slip bobbers are typically longer and narrower that the red and white globe-style bobbers. They often have a larger round section in the middle. They can be used in shallow water by setting the bobber stop at that depth. They are often more sensitive than the globe-style bobbers, and can detect very light bites.

Slip bobbers may have a hollow straw-like center where the line is threaded through rather than clipped on.  The bobber stop is large enough that it cannot fit through the center “straw.”

A third type of float is available that is relatively new in the US, but common in Europe. These types are called “wagglers” or “pencil” bobbers. They are very long and thin; shaped like a pencil with an enlarged end.  When set up with the correct amount of weight on the line, they are extremely sensitive to very light bites.

Typically one or two split-shot-type weights are pinched on the line between the bobber and the hook. In most situations, the amount of weight used is not critical, but it is better to err on the lighter side than on the heavy side. In some advanced angler situations, where slip bobbers or wagglers are used to catch spooky fish, the amount of weight pinched on the line may be a critical factor, because it may influence how sensitive the bobber will be in detecting a bite.

Resources

Fishing With Hooks, Sinkers, Bobbers & Basic Rigging

With all of the advancements made today in the fishing world with "new lifelike fancy expensive lures that flash and swim on their own" sometimes just a plain ol' hook, weight and bobber with a hunk of worm, minnow or leech will catch more fish. One of the biggest mistakes made by the novice angler is over rigging, using too large of a hook, heavier than needed weight with a oversized bobber presenting a unnatural look, reduces the ability to detect fish strikes in their fishing presentation.

Bobber Fundamentals

Bobbers, corks, floats... depending upon where you live, fishermen have different names for the buoyant device that suspends a bait below the surface. But no matter where you go in North America or what you call it, the venerable bobber rig is one of the most popular presentations in fishing. And deadly too!

There's a magic to bobber fishing. The sight of that float twitching, popping, or shooting down like a missile in reverse is one of the most exciting experiences in fishing - whether you're a little kid catching sunfish or a muskie man using a sucker minnow under a big cork.

Traditional Fishing Floats: The Bobber

Besides the most critical component, the hook, there is no more traditional piece of fishing tackle than the bobber. Sometimes called a “float,” it is helpful for holding bait at an exact depth and a great way to detect fish biting activity. The classic round, red and white model occupies every kid’s tackle box but bobbers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.