Slip-Bobber Techniques: Best Bet for Walleyes
Over the years many different techniques have
evolved for catching the rather elusive
walleyes. But none as formidable as the slip
bobber. Many fisherfolks have an aversion to
"bobber fishing" due to childhood
memories but slip bobber fishing is a whole 'nother
ballgame. A slip bobber set-up with a lively
leech hanging from it is deadly ... simply
If you're not familiar with a slip bobber rig
I'll try to explain it. With the old fashioned
bobber if you wanted to fish at 12 feet you had
to try to cast the entire 12 feet of line with
your bobber and bait attached. This was not fun.
With a slip bobber rig you have a moveable
dacron knot, which comes pre-tied by the way,
that you put on your line as a stop mechanism.
The bobber itself is hollow so it can slide up
and down to your bait, as you cast, and to your
stop, as it settles into the water.
The sequence, in case you're not following
this is (1) the line from your rod and reel, (2)
the slip bobber knot firmly tightened on your
line (with long ends snipped short), the small
bead that comes with the rig which keeps the
knot from going through the bobber, the hollow
bobber, a small barrel sinker, then a swivel of
some sort, and then a 2 foot piece of 6 pound
test line tied to the bottom of the swivel, with
a small (#6 or #8) hook tied at the very end.
Hook your fresh leech near the sucker end and
away you go. A long, whippy rod (my slip bobber
rod is 9' long!) allows you to cast further,
without losing your bait, and to get a good arc
when you set the hook.
Again ... stop knot, bead, bobber, barrel
sinker, swivel, piece of light line, small hook,
If your bobber doesn't sit upright in the
water then your bait is on the bottom or your
weight is too light. If you switch to another
technique leave the stop knot on your line as it
won't interfere with anything and you can easily
go back to bobber fishing later. As always,
retie that hook periodically as it can become
frayed and weak. Also, try to remember to wet
your stop knot before you move it as the heat
you generate can weaken your line significantly.
What you want to do, and this is IMPORTANT,
is to fish where the wind is hitting the
structure (shoreline, rockpike, or submerged
reef) or where it WAS hitting the structure ...
this is where the walleyes, and other species,
are! The more wind the better! Start out in the
8-10' range and go from there ... I seldom get
out of that range even though I might see the
fish deeper on my locator screen. Because I
know, from experience, that this is the range
walleyes tend to feed in.
If you want to become an advocate of slip
bobber fishing get yourself set up on your
favorite reef about two hours before sundown on
your next trip. Try to position your canoe or
boat so you are casting straight downwind to the
reef. This eliminates any unnecessary slack in
your line so you get a good hook set! Be patient
because those walleyes will come ... and before
dark you'll have walleyes in the boat! I
Roger Hahn, Editor
P.S. This technique works great on smallmouth
bass, too. From your campsite, from your canoe,
or from your boat. Bear in mind that the
smallies are usually a little shallower than
your walleyes ... so if you're catching
walleyes, and want to catch bass (hey, it could
happen?), then move your slip knot up a couple
of feet. Or vice-versa to find the walleyes.
A depth finder is a very handy tool for later
in the summer as those walleyes, and bass, head
to humps (submerged reefs not visible to the
naked eye or connected directly to shore). If
you can find those humps, and there are
thousands in this country, you'll find the fish.
Have an anchor to hold your position and a
couple of small marker buoys to mark the top of
the reef and you're in business. Reel in the
slack and set that hook hard!