Nothing brings you back to your childhood quite like sitting in the boat on a warm, summer night watching a bobber.
While many things have changed, one thing has stayed the same: slip bobbers catch fish.
During the hot summer months, walleyes will often move out to deeper water and school up over deep structures. It can take some time to locate fish, but once you find them they will often be in big schools and be ready to bite.
Let’s start with the set up for a slip bobber. I like to use a seven-foot or longer rod with eight- to 10-pound braid in order to get a good swinging hookset into the fish.
First, thread your bobber stop, bobber, and bullet weight on your braid and then tie off with a swivel.
Next, tie a two- to four-foot fluorocarbon leader onto your swivel. Finish it off with a small, short shank jig tipped with a leech or crawler.
Now that you have it all rigged up, time to get on the water!
Catching fish starts with finding fish. During the summer months, walleyes like to hang around deep points, humps and saddles in the 20- to 30-foot depth range, depending on the lake. Once you have identified these areas on a map, drive around and use your electronics to locate schools of fish.
Finding a school does not mean you will always catch them right away. Try to develop a pattern that you can use to locate more areas around the lake that are holding fish. There might be a specific depth, type of structure or bottom content that fish are relating to all around the lake. When you find a school, anchor with your trolling motor or traditional anchor, cast back to the fish, and get ready for that bobber to pop.
Once the bobber goes down, you will have to fight your natural instinct to set the hook right away. In order to make sure you hook the fish, wait five to ten seconds, then reel down and get your line tight. Once you start to feel some weight, use a long, sweeping hook set in order to make sure the hook will stick. After that, simply net the fish and repeat.
Fishing with slip bobbers is a great way to present your bait to the fish for an extended period of time, which can be crucial during the “dog days” of summer.
It is also a great way to allow multiple anglers an opportunity to fish with minimal tangles.
On windy days, I like to increase the size of my weight as well as my slip bobber in order to allow the bait to get to the bottom quicker without being blown away from the fish. Get some slip bobbers tied up, get out on the water, and have some fun!
T. J. Erickson is owner of TJ’s Guide Service.