The slip bobber rig is a staple when it comes to fishing for catfish, especially channel catfish. They can be effective for blue catfish and flathead catfish in certain applications but for channel catfish they are the “go to” catfish rig for many anglers.
I’ve used a lot of slip bobbers over the years but rarely use them any longer as I rely on the Secret Catfish Rig almost exclusively for channel catfish. The increased sensitivity helps my clients catch more fish and it outperforms slip bobbers every time.
In the absence of using the Secret Catfish Rig, you need to know how to rig and fish with a slip bobber if you are going to fish for channel cats, and you just might find situations when fishing for blues and flatheads where you want to fish with slip bobbers as well.
The Advantage Of The Slip Bobber Rig
When you think of fishing with bobbers you may think of someone fishing lazily on the side of the shore with one of those big red and white plastic bobbers that clips on your line, but the slip bobber is nothing like this.
Slip bobbers have an advantage over other traditional bobbers because when you choose the right kind they are much more sensitive than others, like those old red and white plastic ones.
Outside of the advantage of sensitivity, they are also easier to cast. The biggest benefit of slip bobber rigs is the depth is easily adjustable.
Unlike most other types of bobbers, you can adjust a slip bobber to fish at any depth and can even fish it in very deep water. This is all done by adjusting the bobber stop up or down on the line.
Finally, the streamlined design makes for much easier casting and allows you to get your slip bobber rigs in and near very tight cover.
Choosing The Right Slip Bobbers
There are many options when it comes to slip bobbers. I’ve used just about every type over the years and the key to choosing the best slip bobbers is pretty simple.
I’ve paid as little as a couple of dollars (or less) for slip bobbers and as much as ten dollars for one over the years and my experience has always been that the more expensive they are, generally they do not perform as well.
You’re looking for a few key features when choosing slip bobbers:
They need to be light
They need to be streamlined
They need to be inexpensive
They need to be sensitive
After trying everything out there, or at least close to it I have found that the Comal Tackle 2” Slip Stick float outperforms everything else available. Not only does it work better than anything else but it is the cheapest option I have found as well at less than $1 each.
Items Needed To Rig The Slip Bobber Rig
Comal Tackle 2” Slip Stick float or your preferred slip bobbers
Preferred catfish hooks. For channel catfish use a size #6, 4x strong treble hook.
*You can find all of these items on the suggest tackle page
Bobber Stops – The Critical Device
Bobber stops are critical when it comes to the slip bobber rig and fishing with slip bobbers and are often the piece of tackle that confuses everyone the most.
The bobber stop slides on the fishing line before any of the tackle and then the small bead follows. The bobber stop and bead are what sets the depth of the float and allow you to adjust how deep you fish.
The bobber stop can be reeled into the fishing reel so you can fish the slip bobber rig as deep or as shallow as you need to.
How to Rig the Slip Bobber Rig
Rigging the slip bobber rig is very simple.
Slide the fishing line through the plastic tube of the bobber stop and then carefully slide the bobber stop off the plastic tube. Then slowly pull the two strings so the knot tightens and cut the excess line from the strings with a pair of scissors.
Now, slide the bead (included with the bobber stops) onto the fishing line.
Slide the slip bobber onto the fishing line.
Attach your preferred catfish hook to the fishing line using a Palomar knot.
Add a split shot sinker 2-3 inches above your hook. The amount of weight you need to use will vary depending on the type of slip bobber you use. You only need to use enough weight to make float stand up in the water, no more. Adding too much weight will cause the slip bobber rig to not perform as well.
Once you have finished the slip bobber rig you adjust the location of the bobber stop on the fishing line based on how deep you want to fish by simply sliding the bobber stop up or down the fishing line. The bobber stop will have little impact on casting and it can be reeled onto your fishing reel so you can fish the slip bobber rig as deep or as shallow as you would like.
To get more information check out the catfish rigs tutorials to learn everything you need to know about catfish rigs for all species of catfish and techniques.
If you really want to increase the number of channel catfish you catch and get the very best rig for channel catfish check out the Secret Catfish Rig. Many anglers report catching as much as 500 to 600 percent more channel catfish using this catfishing rig. The Summer Channel Catfish Techniques eBook is also a great place to start if you want to learn how to catch more channel catfish.