Fishing Bobbers

How To Use A Fishing Float/Bobber for Beginners

Using a fishing float or bobber can be a very exciting and productive setup to fish. This type of fishing rig has many distinct advantages and only a few disadvantages.

As we have discussed before in “Trout Fishing for Beginners“, trout feed on other fish, worms, insects, and crayfish, as well as plankton in order to survive.

The truth is that fish feed at every level of the water column. Most fishermen only fish the bottom level of the water column abandoning two-thirds of the potential fishing area.

In this article, you will learn how to tap into that mostly un-fished potential and how to catch more fish using a fishing float or bobber.

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Bait for Fishing Floats and Bobbers

Using bait when fishing with floats and bobbers is ideal. These baits are natural and are among the most enticing for fish. Presenting a more natural meal will result in more bites and more fish.

The best bait for bobber fishing include the following:

  • Worms
  • Minnows
  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Mealworms
  • Salmon Eggs

Look for live bait around the area where you are fishing. More times than not you will find what the fish are feeding on near their habitat.

best bobber fishing baits and what fish you will catch with them.
The best bobber fishing baits to use and what species are best to target.

What Is A Fishing Float?

Other than being a great method of catching fish, Wikipedia defines fishing floats as; A fishing float (or bobber in the US) is an item of angling equipment.

Usually attached to a fishing line, bobbers can serve several purposes.

Advantages to using a bobber fishing setup include:

1. Fishing floats and bobbers suspend fishing bait at a predetermined depth.

2. The Buoyancy can carry the baited hook to otherwise inaccessible areas of water by allowing the float to drift in prevailing currents.

3. A fishing float serves as a visual bite indicator allowing an angler to see when a fish is eating the bait.

Fishing with a float is sometimes called float fishing.


perch sun fish caught on fishing hook with fishing float

How To Use A Fishing Float

There are a few different methods of using a fishing float but the principle is the same with each – to suspend your bait off the bottom.

In addition, some bobbers have rattles to make noise.

diagram of fishing float set up

Fishing floats are a great tool to visually see a strike. Some floats allow you to fish quite deep while others are only as deep as a few feet. Either way, you will be able to visually see your bait’s location while fishing. 

How to Start Bobber Fishing

1. Start by deciding what bait you will be using.

2. Depending on the bait, select an appropriate hook and attach it to the end of your line.

3. Select an appropriately sized fishing bobber. Bobber sizes vary, try to use the smallest bobber possible that will still keep your rig at the surface. Heavier baits require bigger bobbers.

4. Determine the depth at which you want to fish. Usually 2-3 feet from the hook will suffice. This is where you will attach your standard fishing bobber.

5. Attach your bobber. A standard fishing bobber has a top and a bottom. The top has a protruding piece of plastic. When you push down on the top, a small hook will emerge from the bottom of the bobber.

6. Simply place your line inside of that hook and release pressure on the top. The hook will retract and in turn grasp your line.

7. Now attach your line to the top of the bobber. This is slightly trickier. Again we have to push the top piece of the bobber down, but this time carefully place your fingers on the edges of the plastic. This will allow the hook at the top to be exposed.

8. While holding this down, place your line through the top hook and release pressure. This will allow the bobber sleeve to cover the hook and grasp your line.

9. Place your fishing bait on the hook. I like to do this last to prevent your bait from getting beat up or dislodged.

Now you are ready to make your cast. The standard Bobber sets your bait at a predetermined depth. This can be adjusted to some extent in between casts if you so wish.

Sometimes fishermen may want the bait to be fished deeper in the water column. To do this we must use a slip bobber or float.

These fishing floats make a great option for kids. They add enough weight to cast and allow a great visual indication of a strike.

fishing bobber floating on lake

Here is a less than one minute video that illustrates how to attach a bobber to your line. 

What Is a Slip Bobber Fishing Float

thill pro series slip bobber

A slip bobber does just like the name implies. It slips up and down your line to a distance that is predetermined by you.

Slip floats or sliding floats are preferred when you wish to fish deeper depth with your bait.

The key is being able to determine the desired fishing depth. This will vary depending on the situation.

Once you have decided the valued depth, it’s time to attach your sliding float.


How to Rig a Slip Bobber Fishing Float

At first glance rigging, a slip bobber may appear to be daunting. In reality, this is a very simple process that I will outline below.

1. Gather Materials – Start off by gathering all the materials needed for a slip bobber rig. You will need a bobber stop, the float/bobber, one or two split shot weights, your hook, and your bait. A good slip bobber will come with the float and the bobber stop.

2. Decide Depth and Attach Bobber Stop – Some stops are made to be pinched onto your line and some are made to be tied onto your line. attach the stop where you wish for the bobber to stop while sliding up your fishing line. This can also be explained as attaching the stop at the depth in which you want to fish.

EXAMPLE: If you want to fish at a depth of 20 feet, attach the bobber stop 20 feet from the hook.

3. Attach the Fishing Float – Run your line through the float. There is a hollow tube that runs the length of the float. Simply run your fishing line through that tube starting at the top of the float.

4. Attach a Fishing Hook – Select the appropriate hook and size, and attach it to the end of your fishing line.

5. Add Weight – This step is optional but I DO RECOMMEND it. This will help your bait sink to the desired depth faster and it will allow for a longer cast. Use split shot weights for this. Use one or two split shots about 2 feet above the hook. These simply pinch onto the line and are very easy to use.

6. Bait your Hook – By now you already know what bait your will be using. Simply attach the bait to the hook.

7. Casting the Slip Bobber Rig – Now comes the fun part. Cast your rig to the area you wish to fish.

8. Catch Fish! – Cast that baby out there and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Conclusion – How to Use a Fishing Float or Bobber

Well, there you have it. A tutorial on how to use a fishing float/bobber. To recap, here’s a list of why we use fishing floats. 

  1. Suspend bait in a target depth. 
  2. Make noise to attract fish
  3. Adds casting distance
  4. Visual strike indicator 

Want more great fishing content? You may also enjoy How to Catch Rainbow Trout In a Lake. An in-depth trout article designed around catching trout in lakes.

Thank you for reading this article. If you want to catch more fish you may want to read 5 Killer Trout Lures That Crush Fish