OK, I’m in the middle of a vast wasteland and the zombie apocalypse has just taken place! The rules say ( I’m in a video game world!) that I can only select one type of fishing outfit to try to catch something to eat to stay alive out of the small lakes and rivers in this world! What kind of outfit should I choose? My life (at least in virtual reality) depends on it!
Why, of course I’d take the good ol’ bobber and “J” hook setup every time! Seriously, I think if I really only had one choice, I would take the bobber and hook over anything. It’s a deadly technique that works.
The first fish I ever caught by myself, at age 5, a bluegill, was on a bobber setup baited with an earthworm at my great uncle Spencer Kleinhammer’s farm pond in Lemoore. It was an epic moment for me! I had watched the red and white bobber disappear under the water as my father, fishing across the pond, yelled for me to set the hook. Reeling in the little ’gill, I proudly held it up by the line while running full speed through thick cattails to where Dad and cousin Jim were casting. It’s as if I were there right now. How many others have experienced the same thing: catching their first fish on the same kind of setup?
Today, there are tons of variations, like having BB’s inside, lighted ones, ultraviolet colors, or ones with pointed ends! Just give me a plain, old red and white medium-sized round bobber – with the push-down top and the tensioned wire holder. Simple, but not unsophisticated.
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I’ve caught everything from bass, crappie and stripers to trout, carp hardheads and catfish on the rig. You can tip the hook with almost anything – chicken livers, earthworms, minnows, crappie jigs, crickets or grasshoppers. Stealthy, the rig places a tender morsel where it appears to be an unassuming meal just waiting to be eaten in the strike zone. Many a wary bluegill have fallen for a suspended worm wriggling just above the underwater weed and algae jungles where they hide.
Is there a more fun way to fish? The technique combines a patient, quiet presentation that’s easy for young anglers to use. Most fishing is based on feel, but this is the epitome of sight fishing, where the floating bobber is affected by the slightest of nudges by a curious fish.
I can still feel the anticipation as I watched the bobber for any signs of a bite. Sometimes it would just kind of shake, then pause and shake again. Tiny ripples confirmed the activity. Something was there. What? That’s when the bobber would shake once, get pulled down suddenly, then pop back up before the red and white globe disappeared back into the depths! Watching a bobber go down is about as fun as it gets, for kids (and big kids) alike!
The thing you had to watch for was when a fish slowly pulled the bobber across the water without pulling it down. Pretty tricky maneuver. Here’s some little bass, bluegill or crappie tugging his newfound lunch, unable to pull the bobber down but unwilling to give up trying to take it home. Fun!
Simple, effective, versatile, quiet and a blast to fish, this technique accounts for tons of fish. If you’re looking for a way to put fish in the boat, it’s a no brainer, although many anglers consider it beneath them to use because they equate it with kids fishing. Summer is a great time to use this method, just don’t stand behind a kid casting a bobber with the line hanging down a couple of feet. Danger!
You need to take the kids or grandkids bobber-fishing, but let them set the hook when it disappears! Adults just get too excited. Ha! Never give up!