7 Best Fishing Bobbers: Reviewed & Compared For All Fish

by Andrew

7 Best Fishing Bobbers: Reviewed & Compared For All Fish

by Andrew

by Andrew

Fishing bobbers are an essential tool for any angler. They allow for more accurate and responsive fishing. If you don't use them, you should, and if you already do, you need to make sure you have the best bobbers available.

For any fisherman looking for quality fishing bobbers and to improve their fishing techniques, this review is for you!  

Preview

Product

Type

Ideal For

Check Price

Eagle Claw Snap-On Round Floats, 12 Floats,...

Eagle Claw

Snap-On Floats

Ball Bobbers

Catfish, Salmon, Steelhead, Striped Bass

Leland Lures 164900-Maurice Ez Trout Float...

Trout Magnet E-Z

Float

Trout, Panfish

Lazer Ready RIG-18 WITH1-1/2OZ Egg Sinker

Eagle Claw Balsa Style Oval Fixed Float

Pencil Float

Panfish, Trout, Crappie

Thill Wobble Bobber - 1/4 oz.

Thill Wobble Bobber

Slip float

Catfish, Crappie

QualyQualy Electronic LED Fishing Floats and...

QualyQualy Electronic LED

LED Pencil Bobber

Crappie, Panfish, Walleye

Thill Gold Medal Ice 'N Fly Special Float -...

Thill Ice 'N Fly

Slip float

Steelhead

Frabill Titanium Spring Bobber

Frabill Titanium Spring Bobber

Spring bobber

Bluegill, crappie

thkfish Fishing Bobbers Fishing Floats and...

thkfish Fishing Bobbers

Slip Bobber

Crappie, bluegill, walleye


Why Use Bobbers When Fishing?

Plain and simple, using fishing bobbers improves your fishing technique. Here are the top five reasons you should be using bobbers.

  1. 1
    Be more accurate. You can use a bobber to help suspend a bait or lure at a predetermined depth.
  2. 2
    Attract fish. Some bobbers make noise, which can attract certain fish.
  3. 3
    Get bait into hard to reach places. Use a bobber to help float a bait to otherwise inaccessible areas.
  4. 4
    Don’t miss a bite. Bobbers are great bite/strike indicators!
  5. 5
    Increase your casting distance. Bobbers can lend you extra casting distance because of the weight they add.

5 Types of Fishing Bobbers Explained

  • Slip Bobber
    These bobbers travel, or slip, up and down the fishing line and are great for floating a bait in deeper water.
  • Ball Bobber
    These classic strike indicators are shaped like a ball and traditionally come in red and white.
  • Pencil Bobber
    Shaped somewhat like a pencil, these bobbers are sensitive strike indicators and work well in tough bite conditions. 
  • Spring Bobber
    This is another very sensitive strike indicator often used for limited visibility ice fishing. It sits at the end of your rod with the line passing through it, so even the most gentle strike can be seen.
  • Popping Cork
    The concave shape of these makes a topwater popping noise to attract fish. They work very well on grass flats.

How to Choose Quality Fishing Bobbers

Fishing Preferences Vs. Bobber Type

When you are fishing, you will benefit from having a variety of bobbers to choose from. When you pick one to use, you should know what kind of fish you are going after. Do you need a sensitive strike indicator like a pencil bobber or something a little hardier like a ball or slip bobber? Maybe a popping cork is in order if that topwater noise might entice the fish you want? 

Fishing Environment

Will you be fishing in a calm lake or rough seas? Maybe you’re going ice fishing through a small hole. The environment determines the kind of bobber you will need and the quality you should aim for. Repeated use of a bobber and application in extreme environments indicates you should splurge for a higher quality bobber.

Accuracy & Precision

Spring and pencil bobbers are more accurate strike indicators than say, a ball bobber. A ball bobber can be better suited for floating bait at a specific depth than a slip bobber. The degree and type of accuracy or precision you need will determine the kind of bobber you should have. 

Visibility

Some bobbers light up, others glow in the dark, and some you can barely see even in broad daylight. Once you consider when and where you will be fishing, you can think about the kind of visibility you'll need. Bright yellows, oranges, and reds are common along with white. Neon yellow is one of the most visible colors and is one of the best options to go with. 

Material Type

Bobbers have been made from a wide range of buoyant materials, including plastic, balsa, cork, foam, and even yarn. Natural materials are the better choice when possible because they are biodegradable and less harmful to the environment if they become detached from your line. Balsa and cork will break down fairly quickly while foam and plastic will still be floating somewhere years from now.  

Cost

It's important to consider all of these factors together with the price to make sure you are getting a good value for the bobber you need. Most bobbers are relatively cheap, so you shouldn't end up spending a lot, no matter what you get. Some specialty bobbers with LEDs or special materials such as titanium can be a little pricer, but even they aren't too expensive.


8 Best Fishing Bobbers Reviewed

1. Eagle Claw Snap-On Floats

Our Top Pick

Type

Ball Bobbers

Color

Green/White, Pink/White, Orange/Yellow, Red/White

Length

1", 1-¼", 1-½" and 1-¾”

Ideal For

Catfish, Salmon, Steelhead, Striped Bass 

Material

Plastic

The Eagle Claw snap-on floats are a fishing classic and our top pick. When you picture a traditional red and white ball bobber, this is what you see. These bobbers are very affordable and come as a multipack so you can select the exact bobber you need for the situation. They are also available in less traditional colors like green and white, pink and white, and orange and yellow. This fishing staple is very easy to attach to your line, just as easy to adjust or move, and works well to keep your hook at the exact depth you need. 

One angler who uses the Eagle Claw snap-on floats had this to say,

“Good variety of different sized snap-on bobbers. Easy to use and holds up well in any type of water. Trust me, you'll know when the fish start biting!"

These bobbers are great strike indicators, so when the fish start biting, you definitely will know. Then it's just up to you to catch them.

Pros
  • Classic and easily visible colors
  • Easy to use design
  • Good strike indication
Cons
  • Not as durable as other bobbers

2. Trout Magnet E-Z

Best Bobber For Trout Fishing

Type

Float

Color

Bright red, green, yellow

Length

1-¼”

Ideal For

Trout, Panfish

Material

Foam

These Trout Magnet E-Z trout floats come in packs of 4, or more economically, 36 floats with stoppers as well. The larger pack includes the usual vivid green and yellow floats but also includes bright red as well. The colors make these floats easily visible even at a distance, so each nibble from a trout is easily detected. The floats themselves are the perfect small size to drift baits or lures so you can access even the hardest to reach fishing spots.

They are also very easy to put on and to take off. The slot design allows you to adjust or remove the float without having to cut the line or remove your lure. Simply slip on the float and secure it with a stopper. This setup also means it is effortless to adjust the float to the exact depth you need to fish at. Fish won’t be able to hide or evade your lure with the precision and access granted to you by the Trout Magnet E-Z floats, our best bobber for trout fishing.

Pros
  • Very easy to put on and take off
  • Ideal for floating your bait or lure
  • Highly visible colors
Cons
  • Not ideal for rougher waters

3. Eagle Claw Balsa Style Oval Fixed Float

Best Bobber For Panfish Fishing

Type

Pencil Float

Color

Bright orange and yellow

Length

6”

Ideal For

Panfish, Trout, Crappie

Material

Balsa

Here we have another great fishing product from Eagle Claw, a U.S. based company with over 85 years of experience making products like these. These balsa style oval fixed floats are beautifully crafted pencil floats that offer amazing strike sensitivity. They are lightweight enough to detect light bites yet durable enough to withstand casting in all sorts of environments. The vivid orange and yellow tops offer high visibility at a distance, too, so you know exactly where your bait or lure has landed.

The float attaches to your line with a built-in spring bobber, so all you have to do is pull down the spring, slip the line in where you want it, and release. It's that easy. This allows you to reposition the float quickly and as needed so you can rapidly fish different depths as situations change on the water. If panfish are what you are after, this float has proven especially useful, and it is one of the best bobbers on the market for just that purpose.

Pros
  • Environmentally friendly balsa construction
  • Easy to attach to your line
  • Bright, vivid colors for easy visibility
Cons
  • This is very lightweight so it won’t help with casting

4. Thill Wobble Bobber

Best Bobbers For Crappie Fishing

Type

Slip float 

Color

Orange and yellow

Length

~1” depending on weight

Ideal For

Catfish, Crappie

Material

Cork and plastic

The Thill Wobble Bobber float has made a name for itself in certain fishing circles and has become essential in some angler’s arsenals. The aerodynamic shape and internal weighting system make this what is, arguably, the longest-casting slip float on the market.

Fishermen who have used the float certainly seem to agree,

“This is by far the longest casting float I have ever used. The brass grommet allows the line to slide through easily. The weight designations seem to be right on."

No matter where you're casting from this float offers distance and accuracy, unlike any other floats. As a bonus, the unique design of the Wobble Bobber transfers the motion of each wave into a jigging action for your bait or lure in the water.

If you're fishing for catfish or crappie, they don't stand a chance. Sizes are available to handle everything from panfish to walleye and salmon to steelhead too. This bobber is versatile, durable, and highly visible on the water. Once you try it, you'll see why so many anglers swear by it.

Pros
  • Adds great distance for casting
  • Highly visible colors
  • Creates jigging motion for bait/lure
Cons
  • Line catches when threading

5. QualyQualy Electronic LED

Best Lighted Fishing Bobbers

Type

LED Pencil Bobber

Color

Green and orange

Length

5.1”, 5.5”, 5.9”

Ideal For

Crappie, Panfish, Walleye

Material

Plastic and rubber

The QualyQualy Electronic LED fishing float is the best bobber you can find for fishing at night and in low light scenarios. The orange and green tops of this pencil bobber shine very brightly so you can see exactly where your cast has landed and when a fish is biting in the darkest of nights. The bobber itself is made of lightweight nanophase materials, and it has been engineered to be durable and waterproof so you can continue to use it again and again.

The float attaches to your line with flexible and robust rubber clips. These clips are included, along with batteries, when you purchase the floats, and the batteries are rated for 300 hours of use so you can get in plenty of fishing before you have to replace them. The bobbers come in various sizes and floatages for catching fish such as crappie, panfish, steelhead, walleye, catfish, and carp. This bobber is built to last and gives you the upper hand in the darkest situations. 

Pros
  • Highly visible at night
  • Long battery life
  • Easy to attach
Cons
  • Don’t hold up well against larger fish

6. Thill Ice 'N Fly

Best Bobbers For Ice Fishing

Type

Slip float

Color

Orange and yellow

Length

1-½”, 1-⅛”

Ideal For

Steelhead

Material

Plastic

Thill stands out in the world of fishing with their offerings of specialty floats. The Thill Ice ‘N Fly special indicator/float is a unique innovation designed to be fished year-round. For fly fishers, it serves as a fantastic strike indicator and is also small enough for casting under docks and trees. In winter, when everything has frozen over solid, this bobber serves as a perfect float for ice fishermen too. The dual nature of the float is what gave it its name, Ice 'N Fly.

This bobber is a good run direction indicator or "pilot float," too, when used above Thill's big fish slider floats. This all-weather float is designed to perform year-round and to be integrated with other tackle in innovative ways. We chose it as our best bobber for ice fishing, but it could easily qualify as one of the best bobbers on the market in general. It is simple, durable, highly visible, and performs as needed. What more can you ask for?        

Pros
  • Dual functionality for fly fishing and ice fishing
  • Highly visible
  • Easy to attach
Cons
  • Attaches using picks and they often need to be replaced 

7. Frabill Titanium Spring Bobber

Best Spring Bobber For Ice Fishing

Type

Spring bobber

Color

Red

Length

3.5”

Ideal For

Bluegill, crappie

Material

Titanium

The Frabill Titanium Spring Bobber is the much-needed answer to a long line of frustrating spring bobber designs from other companies. The Titanium wire construction makes this bobber remarkably lightweight yet highly durable at the same time. It holds up to all kinds of abuse, stores easily at the end of the season, and is ready to be attached to any existing combo you might want to try. The adjustable design also allows for varying weights of jigs. 

The versatility of the bobber, combined with its excellent construction, makes it stand out from others. Fishermen who have taken this bobber out on the ice and used it notice the difference.

One had this to say,

, “Try them out next to the other kind of spring bobbers and you'll notice a huge difference… You can only outfish the boys once or twice before they catch on.”

This is a bobber that changes how you fish.   

Pros
  • Well constructed
  • Sensitive strike indicator 
  • Highly visible tip
Cons
  • Challenging to attach to the rod

8. thkfish Fishing Bobbers

Best Bobber For Bluegill Fishing

Type

Slip Bobber

Color

Red, pink, black, orange, yellow

Length

6.73”, 7.2”, 7.87”

Ideal For

Crappie, bluegill, walleye

Material

Balsa

These thkfish slip bobbers are beautifully crafted from balsa wood and painted to be highly visible with red, pink, black, orange, and yellow all included. The slender design casts smoothly and works very well to detect even the lightest bites. The design also allows for jigging action without a lot of horizontal movement so you can stay in the strike zone longer. This bobber puts you right on top of the fish you want so you can work the spot and get them on your hook.

We chose this as the best bobber for bluegill fishing because it has proven so well against them, but you would also fare just as well against other species like crappie or walleye. These bobbers are also very environmentally friendly. The balsa wood construction alone is a significant plus but they are also painted with a low VOC paint scheme with water-based varnish. Not only will you catch the fish you want with this float, but you can do so without harming the environment around you.       

Pros
  • Casts very well
  • Slender design allows optimal jigging action
  • Environmentally friendly
Cons
  • Doesn’t work well in fast water

Comparing Bobber vs. Sinker

Bobbers, or floats as they are known, help keep your bait or lure suspended in the water, and sinkers pull it down. We have covered different kinds of bobbers here, and there are many kinds of sinkers as well. Usually, they are small heavy pieces of metal that attach to a fishing line. You can successfully catch a fish using only sinkers, only bobbers, or a combination of the two.

It depends on what you are trying to catch and how. If you need to cast your bait or lure to a specific depth in the water or you need an aid to tell when the fish are biting, then you should use a float. If you need something to weigh down your bait or lure and keep it from floating, then use a sinker. A combination of the two can be advantageous as well because a sinker can often help stabilize a bobber. 


Setting Up Fishing Bobbers

Now, let's cover how to put a bobber on a fishing line. There are a few different techniques depending on which type of bobber you have, but here we will cover the basics of attaching a traditional ball bobber to your line.

  1. 1
    Press the plastic piece on top of the bobber to release a small hook on the bottom of the bobber. Thread the line through the hook and then release the top. The bottom of the bobber is now attached to the line.
  2. 2
    Hold the line where it is attached to the bottom of the bobber, then press down on the outside edge of the plastic piece on top of the bobber. This will expose another small hook. Thread the line around this hook and release. Now the bobber is attached to the line.
  3. 3
    Double-check that the bobber is set at the correct length from the hook, so your bait or lure will be suspended where you want it.

How to Use a Spring Bobber & How to Rig a Slip Float

The Spring Bobber

There seem to be endless ideas floating around on the best way to attach a spring bobber to a fishing rod. From using glue and string to rubber bands, most ideas are in use. One common method is to use shrink tubing. This works well because when you apply heat to the tube, it shrinks down to form fit whatever it is over. If you do this make sure to attach the spring bobber without trapping your fishing line in the shrink tubing as well. Once the spring bobber is attached, just run your line through the tip, and you are good to go.

The Slip Float

Attaching a slip bobber can be a little confusing the first time around, and for more visual people, a video usually helps. They are great once you get the hang of them, though. You can easily adjust the depth to fish as deep or shallow as you like.

  1. 1
    Slip the bobber stop (a knot tied around a tube) on to the fishing line.
  2. 2
    Pass the fishing line through the plastic tube of the bobber stop and then take the bobber stop off the plastic tube.
  3. 3
    Pull the two strings, so the knot tightens and cut off any excess line.
  4. 4
    Slide the bead (included with the bobber stops) onto the fishing line.
  5. 5
    Put the slip bobber onto the fishing line.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best material for fishing bobbers?

The best materials for fishing bobbers are natural biodegradable materials like balsa wood and cork. They are just as effective as the plastic and foam alternatives but don’t have the nasty side effect of polluting the water and endangering aquatic life. Plastic and foam can take hundreds of years to break down and usually ends up getting consumed by a fish or other animal and can kill them.

How far should a bobber be from the hook?

Usually, you will do well placing a bobber 1-2 feet away from the hook, but it really depends on the environment you are fishing in. Sometimes 3-4 feet is appropriate. Just keep in mind that you can't reel past the bobber, so however long the hook is from that point is free line that you will have to cast.   

Are fishing bobbers absolutely necessary for fishing?

Fishing bobbers are not absolutely necessary for fishing, but they can drastically improve how much you catch. It all depends on the kinds of fish you want to catch and the methods you prefer for doing so. Bobbers generally offer better accuracy and visibility, so you are more likely to land the fish you want.

What’s the best bait for bobber fishing?

The best bait for bobber fishing is usually some kind of live, or recently live, bait. Earthworms are great for many species of fish. Instead of using the whole worm, you can simply use small pieces. Otherwise, fish will nibble on the bait without hitting the hook. It is possible to use some lures too, but if they are too light and float, then you will need to add a sinker as well.  

Do I need to attach bobber stops on my fishing line?

You won't need a bobber stop with some bobbers, such as ball bobbers, for example. Bobber stops are simply there to help hold a bobber at a certain position on the line, so your bait or lure will always present at a set depth. Slip bobbers require bobber stops so they don't slide back up your line. If the bobber you're using doesn't have a mechanism to hold it in place, then you will probably need bobber stops on your line.


Conclusion

With so many fishing bobbers available on the market, it can be hard to find the best ones. This review should help. The classic Eagle Claw snap-on ball bobbers took our top spot because of their affordability and versatility, but any of the floats from this list are sure to help improve your fishing game.  

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