Shore Fishing 101 – Slip Bobber Rigs

In my last “shore fishing 101” article we covered bait selection for fishing the shoreline of Round Valley for Trout, so I’m going to continue to cover the basics in this article by explaining the proper way to use a slip bobber while fishing from the shoreline.  Now, there are two basic rigs that I use when I’m fishing the shoreline for Trout, slip bobbers and slip sinker rigs; however I will be covering slip sinker rigs in my next article. Both of these rigs are simple and will produce a lot of fish if used properly.

Slip Bobbers
Slip Bobbers come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, materials, and rigging options.

Why Use a Slip Bobber?

The slip bobber rig will allow you to suspend your bait at virtually any depth you want, while still allowing for easy casting. If you’ve ever tried to cast a traditional bobber setup with the hook any more than three feet away from your bobber you know it gets awkward to impossible.

When to Use a Slip Bobber?

In the hot summer months, trout go deep in search of cool water and your bait presentation is typically on the bottom. In the Fall, Winter, and Spring trout start moving around more in search of their comfort zone and it’s easiest to find that zone with a slip bobber.

Materials

To start out fishing with slip bobbers, you will need a fairly short, as well as cheap, list of tackle to set up your rig;

  • A small barrel swivel
  • Slip bobber (make sure it’s big enough to prevent your live bait from pulling it under)
  • Bobber stop (typically a small plastic tube with thread spooled around it, some also come with beads)
  • Small egg sinker or split shot
  • Size #6 or #8 bait holder or circle hook
  • Approximately 12-inch long fluorocarbon leader (Maximum 8-lb test)

Rigging the Slip Bobber

Visualize how the completed setup will look: hook > leader > swivel > sinker > bobber > bead > bobber stop > rod > reel > you!

Slip Bobber Rig
A complete slip bobber rig consists of a hook > leader > swivel > sinker > bobber > bead > bobber stop .

1. Start putting this rig together by opening the bail on your reel and threading your fishing line through the plastic tube of the bobber stop. The plastic tube needs to come off so it’s important to do this now before you forget. Slide the thread off the tube and gently pull the tag ends so you get a nice looking knot directly on your mono. get it snug but do not tighten it yet, you’ll want to do that after setting the depth. Discard the plastic tube.

2. Next, thread a bead onto your line and then your slip bobber. If your bobber stop came with beads, use one. The bead is there to prevent your knot from slipping through the opening in the top of your bobber. It’s a rare case when the bead should not be used.

3. Next, thread a small 1/8 or 1/4-ounce egg sinker onto your line after your slip bobber. Then tie on your barrel swivel. The swivel acts as a stop for you egg sinker and can help with line twist when bringing in a fish. If you chose to use a split shot, instead of the egg sinker, it should be placed directly above your swivel, above the knot. don’t clamp down on your knot!

4. Now, all you need to complete your slip bobber rig is a leader and hook. For a leader, as stated before, you will want to be using about a 12-inch long fluorocarbon leader made of up to 8-lb test fluorocarbon. I personally won’t use anything heavier than 4-lb because of Round Valley’s crystal clear water and the fact that Trout are very line shy. As for hooks, I always use size #8 Gamakatsu Octupus Circle hooks since the purpose of those hooks is for use with live bait, and the way they’re points are angled they usually end up setting right in the corner of the fishes mouth when used properly making for easier hook removal and is better for catch and release. But if you don’t have any of those, a size #6 or #8 Gamakatsu Octopus or any regular bait-holder hook will work perfectly fine.

5. You should now have everything on your line in the proper order and all you need to do before you start fishing is set the depth of your bobber stop. The way I usually go about this is using my rod as a measuring tool. So if you know you have say a 5-foot long fishing rod and want to set your bait down 20-feet, you would just simply slide out line from your reel while measuring the length of the rod four times since you have a 5-foot rod and want to get down to 20-feet. After you’ve done that all you need to do is slide the bobber stop knot to the 20-foot mark, pull the tag ends tight this time, clip off the excess and you’re ready to fish with a slip bobber!

Round Valley Brown Trout
23.5-inch Brown Trout caught in September 2014 on a shiner under a slip bobber; my first Fall 2014 slip bobber catch!
Round Valley Brown Trout
23-inch Brown Trout that caught on a Shiner under a slip bobber in December 2013.
Round Valley Rainbow Trout
23-inch Rainbow Trout that fell to a Shiner under a slip bobber in December 2013.
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3 thoughts on “Shore Fishing 101 – Slip Bobber Rigs”

  1. Shoreline fishing is back in swing…..off the point on Wed. Oct. 8th got two nice rainbows, one 16″ , the other 19″, weighed 2lbs. 14 oz. between 10AM and 1 PM on mealies and marshmallows

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