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.
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.
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!
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!
Zach Merchant with a 23.5inch Brown Trout caught recently while fishing from the Round Valley shoreline. The trout fell for a live shiner suspended under a slip bobber in the early morning hours.
Zach was using his ultralight spinning setup with 4lb. test mono when he connected with this beast. The trout made some strong runs and leaped out of the water at least four times, that he can remember, but to no avail. Note – when fighting a fish, it’s important to keep your rod tip UP which allows the flex of the rod to act like a shock absorber.
Zach and the trout later photographed (above) at Behre Bait & Tackle on Route 22 in Lebanon, NJ where he bought the live shiners and slip bobbers. If you’re looking to get into this kind of shore fishing this Fall, head on over there and get hooked up!
With Winter now in full swing, the majority of fisherman and woman have put their rods away for the year. But for those of us that brave the cold weather, Round Valley can offer some great shoreline fishing to hold us over until the Spring! So in this series articles, I’m going to explain the basics for fishing the shoreline at Round Valley, which can be applied during the Fall, Winter, and Spring for Trout!
There’s a wide selection of baits you can use when fishing from shore. Though the two most widely used, and successful baits are Powerbait and Shiners, so I’m going to mainly cover using these in this article since we’re covering the basics of shoreline fishing. I’ve often found that the time of year does effect which bait the fish will be hitting more readily. Usually Shiners fished under slip bobbers work better during the Spring and Fall, while Powerbait and Shiners fished on the bottom work better during the coldest months of the year.
If targeting Rainbow Trout, your best bet would be Powerbait on the bottom, or Shiners fished both under slip bobbers as well as on the bottom. For Brown Trout, Shiners fished both under slip bobbers and on the bottom will produce. As far as Lake Trout go, they’re a little trickier at times. I’ve caught them on Shiners fished one foot under slip bobbers as well as fishing Shiners on the bottom casting to about 40-50 feet of water, and everything in between. Though the most consistent way of catching Lake Trout from shore would be Shiners on the bottom. While this is what I’ve observed while fishing Round Valley through the seasons, of course this isn’t always the case. So just to be on the safe side, even if the bite is hot on say Shiners under slip bobbers, I’ll almost always have one rod out with Powerbait as well just in case the bite switches to that throughout my trip (You never know what can happen!).
So pretty much to sum things up:
- Shiners under slip bobbers in Spring and Fall, when there’s warmer water temperatures. (But not too warm of course)
- Shiners and Powerbait fished on the bottom during the coldest months, usually between November/December and March/April. (Depending on water temperature)
- Powerbait, nine out of ten times will produce Rainbow Trout.
- Shiners under slip bobbers will produce Brown and Rainbow Trout.
- Shiners fished on the bottom will produce a mix of Brown, Rainbow, and Lake Trout.
- When in season, Shiners can be replaced by live Herring, which can be a more effective bait.
Also, in addition to the baits that I went over in this article. They are not in any means the only baits that will produce Trout from shore at Round Valley. A few other baits that are commonly used while fishing the shoreline are:
- Marshmallow and mealworm combos fished on the bottom
- Garden worms or Night-crawlers fished on the bottom or under a bobber
- Cooked salad Shrimp fished on the bottom
Stay tuned in for more shoreline fishing 101 articles! Next I’ll be covering things such as; rigs for shoreline fishing, finding a good shore fishing location, and casting lures from the shoreline!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!