Tag Archives: Shiners

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.

February 22, 2014 – Spruce Run Ice Fishing Report

Went out and hit the hard water again at Spruce Run Reservoir a few weeks ago on Saturday, February 22 with a few other people for the NJFishing.com meet and greet.  I got out a little late, around 8:00 a.m. and most other people had already set up their tip ups, or were almost finished doing so by the time I made it out to everyone.  Between all of us, we had a pretty good spread around us and had pretty much every type of depth and structure covered; from five feet of water, to about 15 or 20 feet of water, river channels, drop offs, and everything in between.  For bait, most people were either using live Shiners, or big dead baits.  It didn’t take all too long for us to get our first few flags, which was on Matt J.’s (The same Matt that taught Chris and I how to fish for Carp) tip up with a big dead bait on the hook.  While this was happening, I was on the other side of our tip up spread finishing up getting my lines in the water, but Matt landed a nice fat 32-inch Pike.

Spruce Run Pike
Matt J. with his fat 32-inch Pike caught on a large dead bait.

Before all that somebody else landed a decently sized Channel Catfish on a live Shiner (Which I missed as well), so we definitely started our day off pretty decently.  About an hour or so after that, Matt got another flag on another dead bait on the bottom, so we started our journey over to his tip up and about half way there the guys that stayed by our stuff started yelling that we had another flag, on the opposite side of our spread of tip ups, and this time it was one of mine.  So Rob J. and I started our way back over that way to my tip up, and by the time we got to it, it had all the line spooled off of it and was doing a little dance in the hole for us.  So I got the tip up out of the hole, immediately felt a fish on the line and set the hook.  After pulling in what felt like a mile of line, I finally got the fish to the hole and the first thing we saw was the big head of a nice Largemouth Bass, and with the help of Rob J. we got it through the hole and onto the ice.  While we didn’t take any exact measurements since we were a good distance from our gear and I wanted to get the fish back into the water, we estimated it to be somewhere around 4 or 5-lbs.

Spruce Run Bass
Me and my 4-5 pound Largemouth Bass caught on a live Shiner about two feet off the bottom in 10-12 feet of water.

Meanwhile, after we took a few pictures and got the Bass back into the water we found out that while we were handling my fish, Matt had landed another 25-inch Pike on a dead bait fished on the bottom.  After that, the action slowed down for probably about an hour or hour and a half.  Though soon enough we got another flag, this time on one of Dave’s tip-ups rigged with a live Shiner, conveniently (For me at least, haha) Dave was too far away from his tip-up when the flag went up, so I was able to get in on the action.  When I got to within 20 feet or so of the tip-up, I could see the spool spinning out like crazy as the fish stripped the line off the spool.  So I got the tip-up out of the hole, set the hook, and started taking line back.  Once I was able to get the fish within reasonable distance of the hole, it went on a pretty strong run and took a few more yards of line back out.  Though that was it’s last big run, we ended up landing a decently sized 25-30 inch Pike.

David Allen with his 25-30 inch Pike caught on a live Shiner.
David Allen with his 25-30 inch Pike caught on a live Shiner.

That ended up being our last fish of the day before I headed out, but I know the guys that stayed behind landed another nice 30+ inch Pike shortly after I left.  Overall I’d say it was a great day of fishing; met some new people and saw a few people I haven’t seen or fished with in a while, catching fish on top of that was really just an added bonus for the day.  All of the fish we landed were in pretty shallow water, about 10-12 feet of water or less, and were all on either live Shiners on or close to the bottom, or big dead baits on the bottom.

 

Round Valley Fishing Report

I personally have been going to Spruce Run to fish for Pike the past few weeks, so I’m not certain of the current ice condition at Round Valley as of March 6th.  Though I do know that over the past few weeks people have been catching Lakers out in deeper water on Shiners on the bottom under tip-ups, as well as jigging with lures such as Swedish Pimples and Binsky’s.  I’ve also heard that people have been catching Browns and Rainbows in close on Shiners under tip-ups in 5-15 feet of water.  As far as the swimming side goes, I haven’t heard much buzz about fishing on that side, but last time I fished there around mid-February the Pickerel bite was still going strong.  We were having success with them in 5-10 feet of water or less, and were catching on live Shiners under tip-ups set about a foot off the bottom, as well as on jigs such as Binsky’s, Rattle Traps, and Rapala Rippin’ Raps.

Me with a nice Chain Pickerel I caught on one of my last Round Valley trips in mid-February on the swimming side.
Me with a nice Chain Pickerel I caught  (and released) on one of my last Round Valley trips in mid-February on the swimming side.

December 19-21, 2013 – Three Day Shore Fishing Report

Very excited to be able to share a consecutive three day fishing report with everyone!  It’s been a great past few weeks of shore fishing at Round Valley, and if you’re looking to fish anytime soon, now would be the time to do it while the action is hot!

Thursday, December 19

Baits of choice:

  • Salmon peach PowerBait fished approximately 12-inches off the bottom
  • Live Shiners fished five to seven feet under slip bobbers

Zach Batren and I decided to head out to Round Valley a little later than usual, just to kill some time before the Round Valley Trout Association Christmas party, and wet our first lines around 1:30 p.m.  We started out fishing the rocks by the cement boat launch, just for a slight change of scenery and to stay out of the wind, and were fishing with Shiners fished  five to seven feet under slip bobbers, as well as salmon peach Powerbait fished on the bottom.  At first we were a little unsure how our luck would pan out seeing as we were starting in the middle of the day, with no cloud cover, while we were usually out fishing early in the morning and out by 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. after the bite died down.  Though we only had to wait about 20 minutes or so until we started getting some action, which started off with Zach B. catching and releasing a nice 16-inch Brown Trout that took a Shiner under a slip bobber, while I had a swing and a miss on my slip bobber.

Zach B. with his 16-inch Brown Trout caught on a live Shiner 7-feet under a slip bobber.
Zach B. with his 16-inch Brown Trout caught on a live Shiner 7-feet under a slip bobber.

 Pretty much from then until we left at 5:00 p.m. we had a hit at least every half an hour to 45 minutes or so, which wasn’t anything too crazy, but definitely made for a fun day!  We ended our day right as we ran out of sunlight for the day with Zach B. landing a 15-inch Rainbow on salmon peach Powerbait and a 16-inch Brown that took a Shiner 7-feet under a slip bobber.  Meanwhile, I was only able to land one beautifully colored 13.5-inch Rainbow, though I missed a good amount of fish, and at one point had constant hits on both of the slip bobbers I had out for about five minutes straight, but nothing stuck the hook.  Everything was released that day, seeing as we were practicing some CPR, or catch-photograph-release for those of you that aren’t familiar with the term.

Round Valley sunset
Beautiful Round Valley sunset we got to enjoy for the last hour of our day!

Friday, December 20

Baits of Choice:

  • Live Shiners fished three to seven feet under slip bobbers
  • Rainbow and salmon peach PowerBait fished 12-inches off the bottom

Made it out for day two of shoreline Trout fishing at Round Valley with Zach Batren and Chris Moran.  As stated above, we were fishing with live Shiners fished under slip bobbers, as well as rainbow and salmon peach PowerBait fished about 12-inches off the bottom.  We finished wetting the last of our lines by 6:30 a.m., and we eagerly waited to see what the early morning bite would give us, and soon enough we were into fish!  I was the first to get a good hook up with a fish, and landed a 15-inch Rainbow that took a live Shiner about 5-feet under a slip bobber.  Right after I was able to get the hook out of the Rainbow, I saw my second slip bobber, set about 7-feet down, start bouncing.  After about a minute of being toyed with, it went under and I set the hook on another fish, shortly followed by a nice Trout jumping out of the water, and I landed a nice 17.25-inch Brown Trout!

Brown Trout
My 17.25-inch Brown Trout caught on a live Shiner fished 6-feet under a slip bobber.

Shortly after that, we had a slight lull in the action for about 30 minutes or so, during which we were joined by Zach B.  Probably about 20 minutes or so after he arrived, Chris was into his first fish of the day, which took a Shiner under a slip bobber and ended up being a short 14-inch Brown Trout.  From there on, we had constant action for the rest of our time out, and finished it off with Zach B. landing a beautifully colored 18.5-inch Rainbow Trout that took a Shiner about 7-feet under a slip bobber.

Round Valley Rainbow Trout
Zach B. with a beautiful 18.5-inch Rainbow Trout he caught on a live Shiner 7-feet under a slip bobber.

Our final tally when we ended our day around 12:30 p.m. was three Rainbows to 18.5-inches, three Browns to 17.5-inches, and about ten hits that didn’t take.  Everything was caught on live Shiners under slip bobbers, with the exception of one 16-inch Rainbow that Chris landed on rainbow Powerbait.

Round Valley Trout
Our keepers between the three of us. (Left to right) 18.5-inch Rainbow, 15-inch Rainbow, 17.25-inch Brown, 17.5-inch Brown, 16-inch Rainbow

Saturday, December 21

Baits of choice:

  • Live Shiners fished about 5-feet under slip bobbers
  • Salmon peach and yellow PowerBait

Round Valley seems to have save the best for last for us in this three day shore fishing report, and I’m very grateful for it!  I arrived at Round Valley a little before 6:30 a.m. and wet my three lines shortly after, one with salmon peach PowerBait and two with Shiners 5-feet under slip bobbers.  Within ten minutes of arriving, one of my slip bobbers goes under and I’m into a fish, which unfortunately spit the hook about half way in.  While I was a little bummed I wasn’t able to land him, he didn’t feel like anything too special and I decided to take it as a good sign that fish were there and feeding, rather than another fish lost.  Five minutes after that, I landed a short maybe 13-inch Rainbow that also took a Shiner under a slip bobber, which was released.  About another five minutes after that, something slammed my PowerBait and my pole was doubled over, though by the time I made it to my rod, my pole was straight and my line slack.  So I waited a few seconds, slowly reeled in the slack, and felt my sinker bounce on the bottom.  But the same second I began to think I just missed yet another fish, I felt two taps on my line, and I get a good hook set on a fish.  Now, taking into account that I was fighting the fish with a 4’6″ ultralight rod with 4-lb test and a 4-lb leader, I wasn’t sure exactly what sized fish I was fighting.  Though it was peeling a good amount of drag so I figured it was at least a decent sized fish, that was until I got it about 20-feet out and was able to get a decent sideways view of it and saw it was definitely a good sized Rainbow Trout.  Luckily I had Round Valley Fishing reader Mitchell fishing next to me, who quickly grabbed my net when he saw I was into another fish, and was able to help me land the big Rainbow once I got it close to enough to shore.  The Rainbow ended up measuring in at 24-inches and weighed a hefty 4-lbs, 4-oz, and was a Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged trophy Trout!

Round Valley Rainbow Trout
My 24-inch, 4-lb 4-oz Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged trophy Rainbow Trout, caught on salmon peach Powerbait!

A little while after that, I was joined by Robert I., who brought some much needed coffee!  He got his lines into the water and after about half an hour or so of waiting, he got a hit on yellow PowerBait fished 2-3 feet off the bottom, though the fish was lost shortly after the hook set.  After that, the bite completely died off and we were joined by Zach B. and Holly E.  We had no action at all after the hit on Rob’s rod a little after 8:00 a.m. all the way until 3:35 p.m. when Rob get a hit on yellow PowerBait again.  Rob’s rod got a few good pulls, but just like with my tagged Rainbow, by the time Rob reached his rod and picked it up, his line went slack for a few seconds, shortly followed by him setting the hook on a fish.  We knew it was a good fish within a few seconds of him hooking up, but when we finally got a glimpse of it’s head breaking the surface, we all immediately  thought of the possibility of it being another tagged trophy Trout.  Now this fish definitely gave a better fight than my fish, and actually managed to tangle lines with another one of Rob’s lines while going on a run during the fight.  Though Rob, coincidently also fighting his fish on a small ultralight rod with 4-lb test, was able to wrestle the fish in to be netted by Zach B. (I was manning the camera).  The fish ended up being yet another large Rainbow which weighed in at 3-lbs, 15-oz, measured in at 24-inches, and was also an RVTA jaw tagged Trout!

Round Valley Rainbow Trout
Robert I. with his 24-inch, 3-lb 15-oz Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged Rainbow Trout caught on yellow PowerBait!

After that, Zach B. and Holly missed a hit on PowerBait, and that was it for us for the rest of the day.  We packed it in at 4:30 p.m. after a painfully slow, yet very successful third consecutive day of shore fishing at Round Valley!

Trophy Trout
Rob and I with our two RVTA jaw tagged Trophy Trout!

December 10, 2013 – Shore Fishing Report

Despite the cold weather, shore fishing continues to be warm! Made it out to fish the Round Valley shoreline again this morning in the snow with Chris Moran, from 6:30 a.m. until about 10:30 a.m.  We both started off fishing with two rods with Shiners under slip bobbers, and one rod fished on the bottom (PowerBait on mine, and a Shiner on Chris’).  Since it was still dark when we got our lines in, we had glow sticks on our slip bobbers so we could see them.  Though about five minutes after casting them out, I couldn’t find my second bobber and figured it was just hard to see since the glow stick I had on it wasn’t too bright.  So I decided to reel in my line to recast so I could at least have a general idea of where my bobber was.

Round Valley Rainbow Trout
My 15.25-inch Rainbow Trout caught on a live Shiner 5-feet under a slip bobber.

After a few cranks of my reel, my rod bent over and I figured I was snagged in some weeds, so I gave it a good tug to see if I could pull it free, and to my surprise, my rod responded with a few strong pulls back, shortly followed by a Trout jumping out of the water and I knew I was into a fish.  After giving me a short, but fun fight, I landed a 15.25-inch Rainbow Trout.  Unfortunately, that was the only action we had until about 10:00 a.m. when I hooked into another decent sized Rainbow Trout that hit a Shiner 2-feet under a slip bobber, but it shook the hook about 10-feet from shore after a brief fight.  Shortly after that, the cold was finally getting the better of us, so we decided to pack the fishing stuff into our cars, and finish our day with a little bit of hiking in the snow. As I previously stated in this article, the only action we got this morning was on live Shiners under slip bobbers.  A few weeks ago, we were getting Trout on both Shiners as well as PowerBait, but with the colder weather it seems that the Trout have begun to prefer Shiners over PowerBait.  Overall it was a painfully slow day of fishing, but I beat the skunk with one Rainbow landed, and lost another on the way in. Also, not to mention the fact that Round Valley is a beautiful place in the snow, and I love fishing in the snow, so I definitely enjoyed our morning fishing from the shore!  Round Valley Fishing

December 3, 2013 – Shore Fishing Report

Pretty excited to share this latest fishing report with you all. Got a nice early start this morning (Tuesday, December 3) for another day of shore fishing at Round Valley with Zach Batren and Chris Moran. We finished getting our lines into the water at 5:15 a.m., and were fishing with salmon peach and rainbow PowerBait about two feet off the bottom. A little while before 6:00 a.m. Chris left to go grab some Shiners from Behre Bait & Tackle and got back a little while later. So with nothing on the PowerBait except one tap Zach B. and Chris decided to switch over one of their rods to slip bobbers with Shiners instead of PowerBait on the bottom. Right after the sun came up around 7:00 a.m., I got a hit on one of my rods with rainbow PowerBait on the bottom and landed a nice 15-inch Rainbow Trout.

Round Valley Rainbow Trout - December fishing report
My 15-inch Rainbow Trout caught on rainbow color PowerBait.

Not even five minutes after that, Chris and Zach B. started getting hits left and right on their slip bobbers. Chris lost a few Trout shortly after the hook set, and Zach B. landed a nice 15.25-inch Brown Trout. So I decided to switch one of my rods over to a slip bobber and see if I could join in on the action.

Round Valley Brown Trout - December fishing report
Zach Batren with his 15.25-inch Brown Trout caught on a live Shiner under a slip bobber.

After I had my bobber in the water for maybe ten minutes or so, we were all talking and I looked over to where my bobber was and couldn’t find it. I walked over to my rod and as soon as I picked it up, my line started shooting out into deeper water! [PUBLISHER NOTE: This exact scenario is why our tagline is, “dude, your bobber’s gone.”] I set the hook on what I immediately knew was a good fish, but I didn’t know just how nice of a fish it was yet. After fighting the fish for a bit, it started heading towards a weed bed so I fought it up and over the weeds before it had a chance to get me tangled in the weeds. Right about then, the fish went sideways and I saw a flash of the white on it’s stomach and finally knew I was into a really nice Trout, though I couldn’t tell if it was a Brown or Rainbow. Immediately after rolling over, the Trout did a nose dive right into the middle of the weed bed and I thought my line was going to get tangled and snap. Luckily I was able to horse it out of the weeds and it came out about 15-feet or so from shore. After the Trout got clear of the weeds, I eased up and enjoyed the fight a bit before bringing it in so Zach B. could net it for me, and he guided what I could now see was a brown Trout into the net nice and easy head first. Right off the bat I knew it was the biggest Brown I had caught in a while at Round Valley, and ended up measuring 24-inches and weighed 3-lbs, 6-oz (Though we all agreed it looked more like 5-lbs).

Round Valley Brown Trout - December Fishing Report
My 24-inch, 3-lb 6-oz Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged Brown Trout caught on a live Shiner under a slip bobber.

The fish also was a Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged Trout which was an added bonus, especially seeing as exactly one week ago (last Tuesday), I caught a 3-lb, 10-oz RVTA jaw tagged Rainbow Trout. After that 30 minute blitz, the bite seemed to completely die all at once and it was very slow pickings for the rest of the day. For the next three hours or so, all I had was two swings and misses on my PowerBait rod, one fish that I broke off on the hook set, and what I’m pretty sure was another Brown Trout toying with my slip bobber for a while but never stuck the hook. Though one of my swings and misses knocked the PowerBait off the hook, which floated to the surface, immediately followed by a Trout which sucked it off the surface. Chris, thinking fast, grabbed my slip bobber rod which had a Shiner on it, that I didn’t get a chance to cast back out, and cast it right to where the Trout hit the surface. Maybe five seconds after hitting the water, the bobber shot under and Chris landed a 14.5-inch Rainbow Trout, which was released since it was short of the legal size limit. Definitely one of the more interesting stories of landing a fish I’ve had in a while. Maybe about half an hour after that, I finally got a good hook up on a fish that took my rainbow PowerBait and landed a 15-inch Rainbow Trout.

Round Valley Smallmouth Bass - December Fishing Report
Zach Batren with his Smallmouth Bass he caught on a live Shiner fished on the bottom

That ended up being the last Trout we landed for the day, but Zach B. landed a nice Smallmouth Bass on a Shiner fished on the bottom. We didn’t bother measuring it before we released it, but it looked to be about 15-inches and somewhere between two and three pounds.  Even though the majority of our fish were landed within a 30 minute window right after the sun broke the horizon, we all definitely had another awesome day of fishing, and it definitely seems that the shore fishing at Round Valley has really picked up for us over the past two weeks. Better late than never!

Round Valley Brown Trout - December Fishing Report
My 24-inch Round Valley Trout Association jaw tagged Brown Trout.