How To Use Bobbers To Catch More Panfish, All Year Long

A float-and-jig combination has been a longtime tried-and-true technique for catching crappie. Fishing with a bobber has always been one of the simplest ways for beginners to catch panfish, but the tactic can become pretty sophisticated when savvy anglers tinker with floats.

Carlisle Slip Float

A fixed float comes in handy for fishing shallow, open water areas however the slip bobber is preferred by pros for long-distance deliveries, pitching into tight spots or presenting their baits to suspended fish. Panfish experts can present their lures or live bait in a wide range of situations when they use the proper bobber setup.

When winter crappie in clear water burrow into deep brush, try a slip bobber rig to lure the fish out of the cover. Slide a bobber stop, stop bead and slip float onto your line followed by a split shot and a long shank number 6 or 8 hook to complete the rig.

Set the bobber stop to the same distance on the line as the depth of the brush and then add a minnow to the hook. The rig allows you to cast 25 to 30 feet away from the boat to keep a safe distance from the brush piles, yet you can still make a deep vertical presentation to keep your minnows in the
strike zone.

stans slip bobbers

Attaching a fixed round or pear-shaped bobber like Stan’s Slip Bobbers about 1 to 4 feet above a plastic tube, doll fly or horsehead jig is an effective rig for catching crappie suspended above shallow brush piles in the spring and fall. Cast beyond the submerged brush and slowly reel the bobber back to the cover. Twitch the bobber over the cover or let waves roll the bobber to impart action to the jig.

While trolling with minnows in rough water, excessive boat and rod movement can cause the bait to bounce around too much. You can solve this problem by using a slip bobber above a double minnow rig anchored with a 1/4-ounce bell sinker. The bobber holds the minnow rigs still in the rough water and keeps the bait in the strike zone and out of snags while trolling over stump fields.

A weighted bobber is ideal for pitching minnows into tight places such as low-hanging tree branches. Crimp a split shot about 3 inches above a number 2 hook and set the bobber about 1 to 2 feet above the float for your pitching rig.

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