Bobbers/Floats for catfishing

The traditional stationary catfishing bobber rig is probably one of the first styles of rigs people will use when first starting to fish for catfish or any fish that matter mainly because of the simplicity and the popularity the rig has gained over the years as it’s been depicted to generations in numerous books and TV shows from Huck Finn to the Andy Griffith show.

Truth be known, this is probably the first rig that we all used in our first fishing experiences. The vision of a little fella wearing bib overalls sporting a straw hat, sitting on the edge of a dock with a can of worms and cane pole with red fishing bobber in hand is virtually everywhere. It’s truly an American symbol of good times and lazy days.
This the rig will catch catfish in certain situations, it’s generally considered a novice rig and is better suited rig for pan fish however there are modified versions of the catfishing float rig that catfish anglers will use with great success.

Although there are hundreds of shapes and sizes of fishing bobbers there are only two styles to choose from.
1. Stationary bobber: attached to the fishing line with spring tension or pegs to hold the bobber in one place.
2. Slip bobber: is the most popular rig for catfishing and is attached to the fishing line by threading the line through the hole in the center of the bobber, leaving it to move freely up or down the fishing line. A bobber stop is used to stop the free movement at a desired depth.

The traditional stationary float rigs and usesShallow water presentations: The traditional red and white plastic fishing bobber is very well known however when I fish with a stationary bobber I will opt to use a more slim line long stem float which seems to have less resistance and easier to detect the bite. I’ll use this type of float rig when I’m fishing flats void of cover in shallow water, 5 foot or less and keep my depth around 18-24 inches in depth. This is not a good rig to fish around cover.


Santee rigs: a stationary Styrofoam peg float in used on the leader line or main line to help keep the bait off of the bottom also to help keep the components of the 3-way rig separated and free of tangles. This rig is normally dragged across the bottom contour of a river or lake.

Rattle bobber rig: is a traditional red and white stationary plastic bobber loaded with bb’s and is attached to the mainline; its main purpose is to add sound and vibration to the bait presentation and typically used on Carolina and 3-way rigs where water movement is present whether it be current or dragging the rig using the trolling motor. To make a rattling bobber simply drill a small hole in a small plastic bobber carefully and insert 4or5 ball bearings, buck shot or B.B.s into the bobber and seal the hole shut with silicone and let dry for two hours.

The slip float rig has several uses and advantages when it comes to catfishing. The slip float allows you to adjust the depth at which the bait will be presented and still maintain great cast ability no matter what depth you have it set at.

The slip float rigs and uses
Shallow water presentations:
I mainly utilize this rig when I’m fishing in and around visible cover in lakes and reservoirs; flippin as I call it, is a well known bass fishing technique that made a catfish crossover. The idea is to flip/pitch/present a slip float in and around the visible structure, thoroughly covering several pieces of structure along the banks. Flippin a slip float allows me to present the bait exactly where I want it.

Trophy lairs:
Size matters, the size of the bobber/float you use should be tailored to the size fish you are targeting. There are many different types of large catfishing bobbers available for trophy size catfish. Most anglers that use the large cat bobbers are using big live bream or suckers as bait and are targeting the large flathead catfish, drifting the baits at many depths around likely lairs. The large bobbers will create more float resistance to the rig for a good hook penetration and to keep the lively bait in the strike zone.
Weighted slip float rigs: are typically used when fishing from shore and casting long distances is required. The set up is the same however the extra weight allows you to really get it out there where you want it.

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