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How To Setup a Slip Bobber Rig

While blues and flatheads are active hunters, channel cats use their super senses to find dead prey items, detecting their stink in even microscopic amounts, even at great distances.

And where live minnows are perhaps the best bait option for hunting cats, prepared stink baits like Catfish Charlie’s or Secret 7 are pretty much ideal for scavenging channel catfish.

But if you’re just adding a bit of sponge to your hook, tying on some weight to help it sink, and tossing it out there, you’re not doing yourself any favors!

If you really want to fill your cooler with channel cats for your next fish fry, you need to up the ante a bit and think about a Slip Bobber Rig.

Easy to assemble and very effective, a good Slip Bobber Rig is essential gear for serious cat-men.

Want to know more?

Keep reading!

Related: Best Fishing Rigs

How to Rig a Slip Bobber

Experienced cat-men know that channel catfish love a terrible stink, and what better presentation is there than a free-floating treble wrapped in something awful?

The Slip Bobber Rig is simple to assemble, easy to cast, and a snap to adjust to a different depth.

To assemble a Slip Bobber Rig, follow these steps:

  1. Attach a float stop to your line and follow it with a bead. This must come first!
  2. Slide a slip float onto your line behind the stop and bead.
  3. Follow the slip float with an egg sinker.
  4. Add a second bead to your line.
  5. Attach a heavy-duty barrel swivel with a Uni or Palomar, wet it, and tighten it down, trimming the tag end.
  6. Cut approximately 18 inches of tough leader.
  7. Using a Palomar Knot, attach a strong hook. Wet your knot, tighten it, and trim the tag end.
  8. Attach the leader to your barrel swivel using a Uni or Palomar. Wet it, tighten it down, and trim the tag end.

Why Use a Slip Bobber Rig

Slip Bobber Rigs are popular with charter fishermen for a reason: they work!

Because the float is free to move to the bottom of the rig, they’re easy to cast - unlike most catfish rigs. This allows for both distance and precision - things every angler wants.

And because you’re not fishing the bottom, you’ll have less line out - and in combination with a good float - you can expect fantastic sensitivity. Where you might be left guessing on the bottom, a Slip Bobber Rig is going to immediately tell you when a cat has taken your hook.

Slip Bobber Rigs also allow you to easily and immediately change the depth of their presentation, making them versatile tools when working different structures or changing locations.

When you summarize their virtues, you can see why they’re a go-to option for channel cats, given that they’re:

  • easy to rig
  • easy to cast
  • very sensitive
  • easy to adjust to different depths

Basic Supplies to Create a Slip Bobber Rig

South Bend Catfish Float

Some anglers prefer less expensive foam floats, but I prefer a big, bright stick float that lets me see when a catfish is toying with my hook.

South Bend’s Catfish Floats are the best I’ve found. They come with a bead and a float stop, but you’ll want to have a few on hand as well.

South Bend Catfish Pole Float


Thill Premium Bobber Stops

Thill’s Premium Stops are the old-style knot, and for my money, I find they slide through the guides of my rod better than silicone alternatives.

Thill Premium Bobber Stops for Fishing Floats, Fishing Gear and Accessories, 40 Pack, Fluorescent Yellow


Mustad Classic 4 Extra Strong

If you prefer chicken livers or garlic-infused chicken breast, you may well want to run a “simple” treble hook. Mustad’s classic 4-X in #6 is sharp, deadly, and strong enough for any channel cat you’ll ever catch.

Mustad Kingfish Treble, 4 Extra Strong - Black Nickel 1


Magic 21-48 Treble Hog Wild Sponge Hooks

If, on the other hand, you like a loose dip bait, Magic’s sponge hooks are very hard to beat.

They sport durable sponge material that really lasts, and they soak up the stink like no other. Armed with a #4 treble, these work well on larger channel cats, helping you keep the dinks to a minimum.

Magic 21-48 Treble Hog Wild Sponge Hooks, Yellow


Team Catfish TC97Q Dip Bait Treble

For gooier dip baits and punch baits, Team Catfish’s unusual tube design holds stink fantastically, and you can really pack bait in those holes.

They come with a standard-strength, red #6 treble, so if you want a stronger option, just switch out for the Mustad 4-X.

Bullet Weights Egg Fishing Sinker

Egg sinkers are essential for Slip Bobber Rigs, and these are available in a variety of weights to suit your needs.

Bullet Weights EGI3-24 Egg Fishing Sinker (5-Pack), 3-Ounce


Eagle Claw 8 mm Beads

Plastic beads are an important component of Slip Float Rigs. In addition to arresting the movement of an egg float, they add a bit of color and vibration to the mix.

Eagle Claw A8BEAD20R Plastic Beads, 8 mm, Red, 20 Piece


Trilene Big Game Leader

For channel cats, I like to run 30-pound Trilene Big Game in clear. This premium-quality mono has everything I want in leader. It’s very abrasion resistant, knots hold like they’ve been glued in it, and it has just enough stretch to provide some shock absorption when I have a real monster on my line.

Berkley Trilene® Big Game™, Clear, 30lb | 13.6kg, 440yd | 402m Monofilament Fishing Line, Suitable for Saltwater and Freshwater Environments, Coastal Brown


Dr. Fish #7 Barrel Swivels

You’ll need a god swivel to join your leader and main line, and Dr. Fish has you covered.

The #7 can hold 49 pounds, which is more than enough for a channel cat. If you’re really fishing monsters, you can always step up a size or two.

Dr.Fish Barrel Swivels Fishing Swivels, Saltwater Swivels Fishing Tackles, Stainless Steel Swivels Rolling Fishing Swivels Black Nickel 30Lb to1500 Lb (#7_49Lb-50pack)


About The Author
John Baltes
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.