There’s a lot more to fishing slip bobbers for walleyes than meets the eye. In this video, Joel Nelson breaks down EVERYTHING you need to know to catch walleye dangling bait below a float.

I think slip bobbers kind of evoke this thought of panfish when you’re younger, but when it comes to being used as a walleye technique there’s so much to it. I’m just gonna cover a couple of the finer points of why I do what I do and when I choose to do those things.

The first thing I do is determine when to Cork. I think one reason to throw slip bobbers for walleye is if the fish are a little bit finicky, a little bit slow, really any time they’re a little bit sluggish. It’s really nice to dangle bait in front of their face. The slow presentation can really trigger the bite. 

Another time to power cork is if you’ve got pods of fish scattered in different places. You can literally mark them with the side imaging or on your sonar and pitch over to them drop bait in their face see. If they don’t eat it, literally reel up and get it to another fish. It’s a high percentage efficient way to go after multiple pods of fish.

When it comes to a rod I tend to like a rod that is pretty long usually in excess of 7 feet that is a medium-light power with an extra fast action. I don’t think that action matters as much the length. 

The key to me is for the rod to have a good solid backbone and the big reason for that is when you have that bobber down sometimes it is over 20 feet of water, sometimes 25 or more feet of water, and if you’re away from your float at all not only do you have to take the slack out from the angle from you to the top of the bobber. You’ll need to take the slack out and cover the angle from what’s going on from the bobber down to the bottom where the fish is hooked.

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 When it comes to line a good low stretch mono is great. Some guys will run braid all the way up to maybe a swivel. I think a good reason to run braid is that it is low stretch. That’s a good thing about it, one of the bad things is that sometimes slip knots bobber stops don’t work as well on certain kinds of braids so just experiment find out what works best for you.

This is the suffix advance so it doesn’t stretch very much. I feel like it’s a really good line for all right bobber stops. 

Visibility is key, whether you use a tall slip bobber or leave the tag ends of your knot, you want to make sure you can see your bobber from a distance. There are a lot of instances Walleyes will come up and eat it and they’ll grab it before the bobber stop even gets to the bobber. That’s where the visibility comes in handy. 

If it’s the kind of slip bobber bite where you really feel you need to stay off of the fish in shallow clear water and you need to really get the distance that’s when I’ll clip those tag ends of that bobber knot all the way down to the line, otherwise I tend to leave it for visibility.

The moment of truth comes when you actually have to set and figure out what depth to put your whole slip system at and that can be challenging because depending on where the fish are showing you on the graph and on the screen you might choose to do things a little bit differently.

If fish are active off of bottom, it’s a prime scenario in some respects, but you need to be careful to stay above them. Those walleyes will love to come up and feed especially if they’re already you’re seeing them on the graph scattered above the bottom. If you were to drop it below them you could miss bites or it may even cause the fish to miss your bait. 

 When I do active fish a few feet off the bottom, I will set my hook two or three feet above bottom. It’s a really common scenario especially if I’m using something that’s slow falling like a plane hook system.

If I’m using a jig on the end of this and I’m trying to figure out exactly where to set my float and if I’m seeing those fish on the bottom; I need to make sure to be within six inches maybe a foot off bottom.

That’s where a depth bomb can come in handy to basically set things right next to the side of the boat, but it becomes a little tricky if you’re fishing a shoreline break situation where depths will vary depending on your cast.

That’s where it pays to do a little bit of experimenting. A good slip bobber angler I feel is always, always double-checking and kind of adjusting where their slip knot is going right and trying to figure out exactly where is bottom.

As far as leaders go I actually like running fluorocarbon a 10 pound test for no other reason then it’s a little bit stiffer and it actually stays stiff and away from the main line quite a bit in your cast and I just tend to have less foul-ups that way. Its not necessary but if you’re gonna get really technical sometimes a little bit stiffer line will keep that bait from falling up against your main line. If you don’t have that problem then I would just us ten pound suffix advance. You can use the same stuff that you’re using for your main line for the leader as well. 

The two main hook sizes for walleyes are four six somewhere in that range. The same hooks that you would use for Lindy rigging work just fine.

If you’re using a jig I usually use 1/4 once or less. Maybe 1/8 once or even 1/16 ounce if you’re shallow enough. You just want to make sure your bait can get down there quick enough but still have a slower fall rate. It really depends on what depth you are fishing at.  

I just run a standard slip float and you want to make sure the slip bobber is big enough to support some extra weight and here’s why. I will run two systems on the business end of this. I’ll either run a leader with the plane hook and a weight above a swivel right. The weight helps that whole unit get down and stand my bobber up getting to the fish quickly.

Now the reason I’d run a plain hook and maybe a leach, crawler, or a minnow is when I want that bait to fall enticingly slowly. I want the whole thing via the slip sinker to get down quickly, but when I want that bait to fall ever so slightly into a walleyes face that’s when I’ll use a plain hook scenario.

 When the bite is on or things are going pretty well fish are fairly aggressive you don’t need that amount of enticement, so I run instead of a slip sinker her I’ll just run direct tie to a jig of varying weights.

 So you’ve got everything that you need to throw some slip bobbers for walleye. You’ve got the long rod, you’ve got the reel line, all the rigging components and you’re ready to go out and fish. 

There are kind of two main ways to slip bobber in terms of how you fish it and how fast to fish it.

The first is kind of that power corking variety where guys are really actively looking for fish on their graph casting to them giving them maybe 30 seconds to a minute no more and then move onto the next fish.

 Then there are other guys that fish more in terms of finding a good structure, something that fish will work their way up to. Maybe its a good rock pile, or a  good reef or sunken island. Some type of fishy structure that walleyes will be moving around on. They will set up on the good structure and play the wait g game letting the fish come to them. Both strategies can be very effective depending on the conditions. 

 Typically I’m more of a power corking guy around and giving the walleyes 20 to 30 seconds at least. Then reeling up a little bit bringing a little bit closer to the boat and then letting it settle out again choosing the cover water that way.

Slip bobbers for walleye is a great tactic and I think it puts more baits in front of more fish’s mouth than most other techniques. 

I think if you go ahead and check out all these components. Get yourself some of the right equipment and some of the right tools for the job and take some of these tips to heart; I think it’ll really help you catch more fish and maybe even make the slip bobbers for walleye a favorite technique for you.