It’s not too often anymore that I see someone bobber fishing.
It might be because I haven’t fished with any smaller kids recently. And that’s how I and probably every other kid started fishing. My dad put a night crawler or some chicken liver on a hook, strung on a bobber and cast it out in the middle of a little muddy pond. Then he told me to sit down, be quiet and watch the bobber. He’d tell me that if it went under water once, keep looking. And if it went under twice or disappeared all together, holler for him.
I caught many fish this way, though none of them were trophies and only a few were keepers. But it taught me some of the basic principles of fishing. It taught me to be patient. And it showed me that if you wait long enough, you’ll usually do ok.
But my attention quickly turned to the flashier, more interesting things that Dad had in his tackle box. The red and white bobber seemed so boring in comparison. And the single hook and a worm was definitely a snoozer. In his tackle box he had frogs and crawdads, neon rubber worms, crankbaits, spinners, topwater rigs like Jitterbugs and Hoola-poppers. Every single one of them seemed so much more interesting than a worm on a hook. Surely they’d catch a ton more fish, right?
So the pole changed and the reel changed to sleeker, more specialized outfits. And the bait turned from worms to $7 spinners. And the tactic changed. I used to cast, watch and wait. Now I was casting and reeling. And I had to learn different ways to reel. Fast enough to keep a spinner going. Slow enough so my top-water bait could look realistic. Or a mixture of the two to drag a jig or a rubber worm across the bottom without getting hung.
All of these methods lead to some pretty big days on the water. But it also lead to a lot of bad days. All in all, I don’t know if I caught more or less fish. I think that using the bobber, I might have broke even some days.
So then why is bobber fishing the bane of the modern fisherman? Does it have to do with our up-tempo modern lifestyle? Is it really that boring to sit and watch a bobber?
When’s the last time you went with the old bobber? And were you successful?