If you’re new to the fishing or just a die-hard single species angler, you may not be familiar with every bobber option out there.
And from tiny wobblers for panfish to massive popping corks, you can pretty much guarantee that there’s just the right option for your needs.
Keep reading for a complete rundown of the best bobber designs on the market.
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The classic red and white is a simple, time-tested design. Available in pretty much every tackle shop and bait store, it’s the fishing bobber most anglers grew up with.
This is a design built around ease of use. You simply press the plunger to extend the metal snap, feed it over your line, and move it into position. When you release, the snap closes, keeping the bobber in place.
Reasonably buoyant for its size, the red and white is probably at its best with a hook dressed with a worm. Anything much bigger will challenge these little bobbers, though a variety of live baits--crickets, maggots, and perhaps tiny shiners--will work wonders on panfish under a red and white.
Unfortunately, that simple snap system is also this bobber’s greatest weakness: clamped firmly in place, you'll need to cast with the full length of line dangling below the bobber, leading to anything but precision.
But for many situations, that’s just not much of a problem, and if you can get by with wide, looping casts, these bobbers won’t let you down.
The bubble float is an ingenious solution to the problem of casting flies with spinning tackle.
On fly gear, the line provides the weight necessary for casting, launching the tiny, almost weightless fly as an afterthought. But try the same technique with spinning gear instead, and you get nowhere--fast.
But by filling a bubble float with enough water to allow a cast and either attaching your flies to the line before or after the float, your spinning tackle is transformed into top-flight fly gear.
Cigar floats are a saltwater staple. Providing more buoyancy than a red and white bobber, but using the same general principle, they can be an ideal option for working live bait from a pier.
And if you’d like to make your own fish finder rig for surfcasting, a cigar float is ideal. Your fish finder rig needs a float that stays put, and the cigar float’s spring-loaded clamps do just that. They’ll keep your hook suspended in the water rather than buried in the sand, and the foam this style of bobber is made of can take the punishment of sharp shells, rough rocks, and the general abuse surf and pier fishing dish out.
They’re just as at home on freshwater, where their ability to float a fat minnow can be just the thing for catfish.
Micro-mini jigs and soft plastics are all the rage in ice fishing, and matching the hatch in size as well as color and action is always a good idea. The challenge of those micro options is a good bobber to hang them under, meaning one that’s light enough to pair perfectly with a tiny jig and soft plastic.
A good ice fishing float matches these micro jigs in size, offering very light weights. You simply run the line through it, using a wooden peg to lock the float in place.
Through the hard water, casting isn’t an issue, so there’s no trouble whatsoever with this system.
The idea behind the waggler is as simple as it is genius. By extending the length of a float, you create far more action with a bite, allowing anglers to detect even the smallest nudge.
This makes them perfect for detecting strikes, and when you arm them with reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark options, they’re ideal for night fishing.
Wagglers like these are easy to rig with a silicone bobber stop and a simple bead, allowing them to slide along your line like a slip float.
Popping corks are designed to create vibration and flash, attracting predators to your live bait.
From redfish to catfish species like blues and flatheads that like to hunt live prey, a popping cork is hard to beat. And there’s no reason in the world that this popping cork won’t be murder on walleye, pike, and muskie for the same reason.
Popping corks are built around the need for a leader, allowing you to run your main line to one side and your tooth-proof leader off the other.
Slip floats get their name from their ability to slide. You simply run your line through them, attach a stop and bead or a simple knot stop, and adjust its depth. The result is that you can accurately set the distance between the float and your terminal tackle while reeling all the line in for a cast.
A slip float solves the issues you’ll have casting a red and white bobber and ups the ante a bit with a shape reminiscent of a waggler. The combination is just dynamite for panfish like crappie, and you can cast a live minnow or Marabou jig with no trouble whatsoever.
With the availability of products on the internet, anglers are spoiled for options, and that’s certainly true of bobbers and floats.
And while there’s no one best style for all types of fishing, the right option for you is certainly out there.
We hope that this article has helped you find the right fishing bobber for your needs, and we’d love to hear from you if it has.
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