How to Use a Bobber Stopper: All Types Explained

Bobber fishing is a very popular way to fish for a variety of fish, from largemouth bass to aggressive walleye, and for both beginners and experienced anglers alike. If you …

Bobber fishing is a very popular way to fish for a variety of fish, from largemouth bass to aggressive walleye, and for both beginners and experienced anglers alike. If you are new to bass fishing, or perhaps just new to fishing with slip bobbers, you might be unfamiliar with bobber stoppers and how they are used.

There are a variety of different ways you can use bobber stoppers during bobber fishing to help you catch fish, but their main and basic purpose is to adjust the depth at which your bait rests in the water column.

Making adjustments is much easier on you when you’re out on the boat or sitting on the shore at your favorite fishing spot when you use an easy-on bobber stopper.

What Are Bobber Stops?

As you may have guessed from the name, bobber stops are small fishing gear that are used to restrict your bobber from sliding up and down the full length of your line. Bobber stops are normally made from rubber or plastic, but wood and string bobber stops are not uncommon.

If you’re fishing with a slip bobber, but don’t use a stopper of some kind, you will notice your bobber slides up and down the fishing line freely. This makes having that bobber on your line somewhat useless since it wont tell you when a fish is nibbling at your bait.

Additionally, bobber stoppers are extremely useful for quickly and easily adjusting the depth of your bait in the water. If you head out on the lake in the early morning and fish are down low, you can adjust your bobber stoppers to let your bait hang in the water column around 15 feet low.

But if fish start to move towards the surface in the afternoon, you may need to adjust the depth of your bait up to 3 feet. Adjusting your bobber stoppers can do this quickly and easily, without having to set up your rigging again or spend a lot of time retying knots.

How are they Used for Bobber Fishing

Bobber stops are the number one tool an avid angler will use when they want to set the depth of the hook and bait. They allow for easy switching of depth throughout the day as well, making this a very useful tool to keep in your tackle box.

When it comes to setting up a bobber stop, it will depend on the style of stopper you are using. There are four different types of stops and each one has its own best use with fishing techniques or rigging. Selecting the right bobber stopper for your fishing technique can mean the difference in setting a hook or missing out entirely.

How to Use Rubber Bobber Stoppers?

As one of the most commonly found and easiest to use bobber stoppers, the rubber type can be found in three different sizes. The size you choose will depend on the thickness of the fishing line you are using.

For a fishing line that is around a 4-pound test or less, a small-size rubber stopper is perfectly suited. If you are using a fishing line up to an 8-pound test, you should go for a medium stopper. And for those using fishing line around 12-pound test, the large size stopper is most likely what you need.

Once you have selected the right size of bobber stopper, you need to set it up on your fishing line. This is extremely simple to do, and can be done before you head out onto the boat or while you are on the boat.

Run your fishing line through the center of the rubber bobber stop, and slide it to your desired depth. At this point, grab a stop bead which is included with the rubber bobber stopper and slide it onto the line as well. 

This will set the fishing depth in which you want the slip bobber to stop moving. It is easy to adjust at any time. Simply use your index finger and thumb to pinch the stop bead and slide it up or down your line to the new position.

How to Use a Slip-Knot Bobber Stopper?

The slip knot bobber stop is a piece of string secured to a short piece of rubber or plastic tubing.

This style of bobber stop is extremely common with both new and experienced bobber anglers, though it can take a bit of practice to learn how to use. It’s not uncommon for you to purchase a slip bobber that includes one or two free slip-knot bobber stops in the package.

The slip knot bobber stop is much different in shape from the previously mentioned rubber bobber stop. Instead of being a little bead, the slip knot bobber stop is a piece of string secured to a short piece of rubber or plastic tubing.

In order to secure this style of bobber stopper to your line, you will first run your fishing line through the center of the rubber or plastic tube. Position the tube at the length you want the bobber to stop and then slide the string off of the rubber or plastic tube and onto your fishing line.

You should see two longer strings. Pull these tightly until the string closes around onto your fishing line. You can trim the line to make it more presentable. Many anglers will also add a small bead near the bobber stop string, but this is not always necessary depending on the size of the slip bobber you are using.

How to Use 4-Hole Bobber Stoppers?

Another uniquely shaped bobber stop, the 4-hole style is not as commonly used but it is extremely easy to rig and works perfectly well for a variety of different bobber sizes.

Normally made from plastic, a 4-hole bobber stopper is a flat oval piece of plastic around ¼ to ½ inches long with four holes placed down the center. The plastic it is made from is extremely durable yet also quite flexible which makes it able to fit through line guides as well as onto your pool without any issues.

In order to secure a 4-hole bobber stop to your line, you will start weaving your main line through each of the holes in a back and forth motion. Once all four holes have had your line woven through them, take the included stop bead and add it to the line right after the 4-hole bobber stop.

Adjusting the 4-hole bobber stopper takes a bit more time and effort than others on this list, so it is not suitable for making quick adjustments through the fishing day. 

How to Use a Dogbone Bobber Stopper?

Made from soft and pliable plastic, this dogbone bobber stopper is extremely easy to get on and off your line.

Similar to the 4-hole  bobber stop, the dogbone stop makes use of just two holes instead. The biggest benefit here is that it is much easier to adjust on the fly than the 4-hole bobber stop would be.

Made from soft and pliable plastic, this bobber stopper is extremely easy to get on and off your line. Simply run your line through one hole, and out the other. Place the included stop bead on your line after the bobber stop to help secure it in place and you’re done.

If you want to make it more secure, but more difficult to adjust, start in the same way you would normally. Then wrap your fishing line around the center bar of the dogbone bobber stop three to five times before running your fishing line back through the second hole on the opposite end from where you started.

This adds extra security, but makes it very difficult to adjust the position of your bobber on a whim so you may need to plan ahead or simply keep fishing at the same depth all day.

Bobber Fishing Tips

  1. Keeping your hook 2-3 feet from your bobber gives you the best chance of getting your bait into the strike zone of many fish.
  2. Fishing with a bobber of any type does not limit the live bait or artificial lure options you can use.
  3. When using a bobber, the wind can help carry your baited hook into heavy cover areas you may not be able to cast into.
  4. All slip bobbers will need some form of bobber stop, but the traditional style round line-punching bobbers will not.
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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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