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Bobber Mania – Making Sense of Steelhead Fishing with a Bobber!

September 12th, 2010 @

Bobber fishing has become increasingly more popular in the U.S. for steelhead since the mid 1980’s. My first attempt at this method was nothing more than a disaster. Not knowing how to adjust for depth with the Bradbury bobber and jig system I lost a lot of tackle which was not cost effective. Mr. Bradbury, however, was a master jig fisherman. Make no mistake bobber and float fishing with proper instruction is a deadly approach to fishing for both salmon and steelhead. In recent years a slip bobber has become more common.

"Riverside Russ" Iott with another "Hawg" caught while Bobber Fishing on the Clearwater River!

"Riverside Russ" Iott with another "Hawg" caught while Bobber Fishing on the Clearwater River!

Let’s make some sense out of bobber fishing. Steelhead and Salmon are bottom dwellers. They will suspend 2 inches off the bottom keeping their belly from touching the rocks or gravel bottom. Most fish are 6 to 10 inches in depth so you want to keep the jig about 12 inches above the river bottom. This method will invade the comfort zone of the steelhead or salmon, enticing more strikes. Slip bobbers have seven components: bobber stop, bead, corky, bobber, lead weight with swivel attached to a 30 inch leader line with jig. (I use northwestjigs.com)

Always throw your bobber jig setup well ahead of your intended target at a 2 o’clock position. This gives the jig time to sink to the right depth before entering the fishing zone. As soon as possible begin to mend your line to a tight line position. At this point the river current will take your bobber down stream. Continue to mend and keep back pressure on the bobber until it rides straight up in the air or preferably leaning up stream or toward the fishermen. This forces the jig out ahead of your terminal tackle. Providing you the ability for an immediate hook set when the fish strikes the jig and takes the bobber down.

Without a doubt, smooth level-wind reels with at least an 8 ½ 10 ½ foot rod works the best. (I use warlancerods.com) Spinning reels with a long rod can also work fine in the hands of a skilled angler. Remember the reason for mending your line and putting back pressure on the bobber is simple. By placing back pressure on the entire system we force the jig out front for a faster and more solid hook set. Bobbers can also be fished with beads, eggs, shrimp, and other baits, more on that to come. Find your depth, mend your bobber and fish on!

Category : Bobber Fishing &Steelhead Fishing Tips

4 Comments → “Bobber Mania – Making Sense of Steelhead Fishing with a Bobber!”

  1. biott

    7 years ago

    Wow! That is a definitely a HAWG! I can’t wait for you to take me bobber fishin’! I loved the last trip you took me on down the river and am looking forward to learning the proper techniques for bobber fishing next!

  2. Randy Iott

    7 years ago

    Just want to say thanks to Riverside Russ for guiding me on a great trip down the Clearwater in 2009. I caught my first Idaho steelhead on that trip. I had never bobber fished for steelhead until that day! The accommodations at the Riverside Motel were comfortable as well. Also a special thanks to Russ’s wife for the great food and hospitality.


    7 years ago

    As i sit home and reflect on the great weekend i spent on the Clearwater River, with Riverside Motel guide Russ Iott, i am amazed at the lessons i learned while fishing, the quality of fish caught, and the kindness and hospitality i recieved from Russ and Courtney Iott. Time always seems to be something i have little of, and to maxize the time i had, i chose an experienced guide to help me enjoy what little i had of it.
    I had an amazing time drifting the Clearwater and listening to the instruction of my guide Russ. He would tell me, ” do this and you’ll catch a fish in this hole .” I would do it and ” BAM!!” a fish would nail it. You have a lifelong client and friend at the Riverside Motel and Guide Service. Now, it’s back to enjoying the Steelhead i prepared for dinner. Thank you Russ and Courtney, i will see you soon.
    Randy Knadle

  4. Jordan

    7 years ago

    Wow! That’s a Monster, I’m on my way! See you soon

Contact Info

Riverside Guide Service
11360 Highway 12
P.O. Box 1369
Orofino, ID 83544

Tel : (503) 871-1339
Email : russiott@yahoo.com