In this blog post I will discuss how to use a bobber to fish for salmon and steelhead as well as talk about when, where and why this method should be used. Bobbers work great as a tool used to catch salmon and steelhead.
When talking about bobber fishing let’s not be confused with bobber dogging(awsome by the way).
Classic bobber fishing is my go to method for fishing tight clear water like the upper trinity river or slow, deep swirling waters were salmon hold up.
When casting from the bank I cast above the water I want to drift pointing my rod tip at the bobber as it goes by. When it passes I open my bail so not to tighten the line and pull it (the bobber) out of the seem. Remember you must have your line up stream of your bobber once it has passed you and is making it’s way down stream. The technique for this is called mending. To mend properly you must have at least a 9′ rod and braided or floating line. Use the rod tip to make a circular motion up stream of your bobber moving your line above your bobber at all times. Once your bobber is down stream of you and your line is above watch the angle of your float(bobber) it should be straight up and down. A float angling up stream may indicate you need more weight. A float angling down stream may be a indication you are catching bottom and your stop will need to be adjusted. I will leave my bail open and let it go as far as I can see it once that bobber goes under I put the rod tip in the air and start reeling!
When in a drift boat (most of the time) I will set an angler in the bow and one in the stern. I will have them cast at a 45 degree angle towards the bank I want to fish in front of the boat so we stay away from the Salmon and Steelhead downstream, normally suspended in the current. This allows me to send my gear down river in tight water before I float over the Salmon and Steelhead, displacing them as they flee for cover. If I am above something I want to fish, I will hold the boat in place while my anglers send there floats down stream. For this there is little to no casting needed. Much like one would fish plugs.
I always like a high quality bobber and an inline weight. I run a 3 foot leader some times with a split shot some times with out. Every stretch of water will require your bobber stop to be moved up or down depending on depth. The only difference for me between salmon and steelhead head is leaders and hook size. The set up is exactly the same. This technique is very important for small rivers or clear water. It allows you to float your gear through holding fish with out making a large commotion in the water as well as adjust your depth with ease. I hope this has been helpful on your quest to catch more Salmon and Steelhead with less headache.