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Give Walleyes The Slip! Slip Bobbers That Is! by Greg Bohn with Scott Richardson

Give Walleyes The Slip!  Mr. Slip Bobber Secrets Revealed!

By Greg Bohn with Scott Richardson

Walleyes don’t give legendary Northwood’s guide Greg Bohn the slip.  He gives the slip to them, a slip bobber, that is.

Known in the industry as Mr. Slip Bobber, Bohn has spent the last (33) years in northern Wisconsin perfecting the tactic that is one of the most used and least understood in walleye fishing. He is considered by most the master of this technique.

Most anglers view slip bobbers as a secondary tactic.  Not Bohn.  As a full time walleye guide whose clients include novice anglers, he was forced to fine-tune a method of fishing that was both effective and easy to use.   Slip Bobbering my way is it.

“I needed something more than jigging or drifting spinners,” said Bohn, who authored the newly released book, “Master the Art of Slip Bobbering: The Deadliest Method for Walleye”, with outdoor writer Scott Richardson. Bohn’s first book on Slip Bobbering for walleye with Fishing Hot Spots went into five printings and selling nearly 75,000 copies.

“You can’t teach & learn jigging in a half day fishing trip.  Heck, I’m still learning many new jigging tricks after 30 plus years,” he said. “But, Slip Bobbering allows people of any age and experience level to catch walleyes right away.”

But, slip bobbers are for experienced anglers, too. The bottom line is that slip bobbers work.   On one recent outing, an elderly doctor and his wife boated 155 walleyes while Bohn did nothing but bait their hooks and net fish.   The same couple ended with 250 walleyes over two days.

“My question is, what else is out there that can catch 200 walleyes in a weekend,” said Bohn, who recently designed the *New Thill Pro-Series of slip bobbers for Lindy Legendary Tackle. They are in retail locations right now and you won’t believe how smoothly they work. The open grommet concept is Unbelievable! “Slip Bobbering usually out-fishes everything else we are doing.  After a while of watching someone catch fish after fish with a slip bobber, it’s like, Hey, give me one of those things.”

Slip bobbers have other virtues. For one, they’re versatile.  Where crankbaits are designed to catch walleyes at a certain depth range, slip bobbers can be fished from near the surface to the bottom no mater how deep the bottom might be.  That’s a plus with a species like walleye that often loves to suspend.   “What else can you use which will do that?” he asked.

Slip bobbers rigs also can be used over weeds, wood, rock, boulders and mud.  Slip bobbers are good from ice out to ice up.  And, in states where multiple rods are legal, slip bobbers give anglers a potent way to present more bait to fish while they cast lures or drift jigs.

Be advised the slip bobber rigs Bohn describes are not what commonly pass for slip bobbering.   Most anglers start by sliding on any old slip knot or plastic bobber stop followed by a cheap bobber.  They tie on a hook and crimp split shot on the line.  Make no mistake.  That’s not a slip bobber rig.  It’s a recipe for disaster Bohn said!

True enough, plastic and rubber bobber stops have their uses, especially when you have to retie when bites are coming fast and furious.  But braided stop knots are best to hold at the proper depth longer without slipping out of place or damaging the line.

Don’t follow the advice of companies that suggest using slip bobbers without a plastic bead between the bobber and knot.  The advice is good but the beads are not. The plastic beads they provide are often inferior and stick, causing the bobber to stand upright before the bait reaches the desired depth.   Bohn only recommends solid red colored glass beads. Frustration causes many anglers to abandon beads altogether.  But, seeing the bead in place at the top of the bobber as it stands up is critical to insure the rig is working at the right depth.  Bohn has searched the world for the best uniform beads to insure they slide easily and don’t stop the bobber before it reaches the knot. He markets a unique (144) piece Pro-Bead Rigging Kit through his Strictly Walleye Tackle Company. This Rigging Kit works great partnered with the Thill weighted and unweighted Pro Series bobbers. I’ve used them with other slip bobbers in my collection and they made all the difference. Line slides through the bead and slip bobber like it’s greased!

Split shot?  No.  Split shot damages line and reduces perfectly good 8-pound test to 4-pound or 2-pound.

“As soon as you pinch split shot on the line with a needle nose pliers and lose a 5-pound walleye at the boat, you’ll know you have the wrong weight,” Bohn said.

Instead, Bohn recommends small rubber core sinkers that are line friendly and damage free.  Another advantage of rubber core, when line is snagged, it’s usually the weight that’s caught.  With split shot, that means a break off and losing precious time as you retie.   With a rubber core, simply pull.  The rubber core slides and works free. The rig also can be modified with 1/16 oz. Timb’r Rock Jigs or NO-SNAGG #4 Hooks to avoid snags in the first place.

For most uses, the business end of the rig usually consists of a #4 or #6 Aberdeen gold or Bleeding red hook.  Aberdeen-style hooks are best to avoid damaging bait, which must stay lively to do its job.  Jump to a #2 for big chubs and Jumbo leeches.

Bohn also designed a Slip Bobbering hybrid between a jig and a hook he calls the Jig Bug. It has a small amount of weight of one-thirty-second or one-sixteenth ounces, on an oversized hook.  That’s just enough to keep the bait from swimming out of the strike zone, but it’s small enough to be inhaled with the bait when a walleye strikes.  Bohn always adds another pure glass red bead directly above the Jig Bug or hook for extra attraction. His favorite bead the Aurora Borealis comes standard in the Pro Bead Kit.

How deep to fish?   Bohn starts with the one-foot rule.  In his experience, many walleyes are that close to the bottom most of the time.  He uses a clip-on weight used for ice fishing to set the depth.

Where to fish a slip bobber changes with the seasons.

That slow natural presentation a slip bobber offers is perfect for fishing cold water as walleye season opens.  He targets rock bars or newly emerging weeds.  Slip bobber rigs are great to use over the low, uniform tops of vegetation.  Minnows are best in water colder than 60 degrees.

By summer, he focuses almost exclusively on weed beds on flats and bars that host the green stuff.  Slip bobbers are a tremendous stealth presentation in dark water, where weeds could be in 5 feet of water or less.

Leeches become more favored as water rises through the 60s until they are used nearly exclusively when the temperature reaches 66 degrees and above.

As the season progresses, weed beds thicken, limiting anglers to targeting pockets or weed edges that could be 18 to 25 feet down.  Sand grass and coontail are his favorite weeds that time of year.  The edges are so sharp they seem to have been cut with a lawnmower, he said.    Concentrate on points and turns in the weed line. That’s where those walleyes are!

Bohn moves to the windy side of the lake where the food chain will be most active and his bobbers can be used most effectively.  He sets the depth one foot from the bottom and casts near the weeds, letting the wind drift the bait to the edge.  Wind creates waves too, so the bait’s own movement is augmented by the up and down motion of the bobber and the movement toward the weed edge.   “You have a lot of things going for you,” Bohn said.

Most people who bother to use slip bobbers in spring and summer at all abandon them in fall.  Bad move. “It will perform in fall just like it did in spring and summer.  There is no stopping this rig,” Bohn said.

The key is to follow the walleyes out as they vacate weed beds as vegetation starts to age by mid-August.   Plants still look green, but cooler nights and shorter days are beginning to take their toll.  Some walleyes, especially in clearer lakes, will stay in the weeds well into fall.  But, others move to sand or mud bottoms, rock bars, mid-lake humps and deeper drop-offs.   Bohn concentrates on deeper mud flats where walleyes stage to eat mayfly larvae.   He slowly drifts with slip bobber rigs watching his sonar for telltale bumps on the bottom.  When he gets strikes, he enters the waypoints on his GPS or tosses a marker buoy over the side so he can return, anchor and work the area.

By late fall Bohn targets trophy fish on deep rock bars in depths of 45 feet and more.  Best bait then becomes big chubs.  Nightcrawlers work in fall, too.  Fellow guide and friend Lyle Chapman proved that to Bohn one day by boating six walleyes over 7 pounds on nightcrawlers in November.

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Think Green To Find The Gold! by Greg Bohn With Scott Richardson

Think green to find the gold! 

By Mr. Slip Bobber Greg Bohn and Scott Richardson

(Editor’s note: Mr. Slip Bobber Greg Bohn has perfected the art of slip bobbering during 30 years as a top Northwoods walleye guide. He recently teamed with outdoor writer Scott Richardson to produce the newly published, Master the Art of Slip Bobbering: The Deadliest Method for Walleye! See the advertisement in this edition of Midwest Outdoors.)


The most exciting thing about fishing for walleyes in May and June is the explosive action found in emerging weed beds.
Walleyes wait all winter for fresh green vegetation to appear.  When it does, they flock to it, and so do anglers who know how to use slip bobber rigs.

The best walleye-attracting weed in spring is a species named elodia.  It’s an aquatic plant that grows well in cold water, so it’s the first green weed to sprout at depths of 10 feet or less.   Since elodia emerges first, it’s the first to draw walleyes. You’ll know elodia by its deep green color and groups of three or four leaves attached directly to the stem. Other plants like narrow cabbage and broadleaf cabbage, which is also called musky weed, start to emerge at the same time, but they grow much more slowly.   Like elodia, they’re commonly found at 4- to 12- foot depths.
The cabbage species feature thick stems, broad leaves, and seed heads that often reach above the water’s surface by late in the season.  They collect large schools of walleyes in open water areas and are a good early-season producer.  They also seem to attract the biggest walleyes in the system, and on many lakes in the northern Midwest, they’re the best place to find walleyes during cold fronts. Slightly deeper weeds like coontails will turn on later in July and August. Don’t worry about them now.
Lake selection is important for timing the slip-bobber weed bite.  Water temperatures of 55- to 65 degrees are best.  Smaller lakes of 500- to 1,000 acres get the hot slip-bobber bite first. They ignite in early May and taper off in June.  Lakes of 1,000- to 2,000-acres will have the same hot weed bite, but it occurs in June and July.

The north end of any body of water grabs the most sun and warms first, but that isn’t the only factor to consider.  Follow the wind because that’s where the warmest water is headed.  Windy areas right up to the shoreline will get pretty active.

Food is plentiful in weeds in May and June.  Young perch are a major food supply, and they seem to be everywhere.   Start the search by looking for large bays with fresh green weed growth where walleyes come to feed.

Northwoods guides commonly locate new weed beds by fan-casting an area with one-quarter to three-eighths-ounce jigs.  They snag weeds and tear off a piece to identify the species.
But, weed beds can be massive.  Narrow the search even more by looking for places that feature unusual weed growth patterns. They are the “something different” weed fishermen love.   Huge schools of walleyes roaming for food collect at those non-typical weed-growth areas.    They’re like a magnet, a stop sign.   For example, picture a smooth carpet of elodia surrounding a circle of taller cabbage. Walleyes will be in the cabbage in big numbers.    Even a small area with a few taller stalks amid shorter weeds can produce limits of fish.

Other places to look are shallow weedy mid-lake sandbars that top out at 4- to 8-feet. They’re especially good when wind is blowing over the top.

Water temperature supersedes the presence of weeds at times.     Sometimes a mid-lake hump without weeds is loaded with walleyes due to the mere presence of warm water.  With the right water temperature, even dead weeds may become active.
Once a likely location is identified, it’s time to put away the jigs and break out the slip bobber rigs.   In this situation, their benefit is they can cover lots of water in big bays to search for active fish.   The key is to cast slip bobbers into the wind, not with the wind.  When the bobbers land upwind, the breeze will drift them back to the boat and beyond.  As a result, weighted slip bobbers are a good choice.   They yield more distance with each cast than conventional non-weighted bobbers do.   Thill Premium Weighted Floats of one-half-inch in diameter in oval and pencil styles are good choices.  Another favorite is the three-and-seven-eighths-inch Lindy Gold Medal Supreme Super Shy Bite number 2 which allows the use of a weight or not.
For calm conditions, try the Thill Center Slider series.

Run multiple lines where legal, but don’t exceed two lines per person even if more are allowed.    Once walleyes are found, action can be swift and furious. Watching more than two lines becomes a hassle.
Always take at least two kinds of live bait along. Take fatheads and medium redtails.   But, always take a non-minnow choice, too, such as nightcrawlers or leeches.  Even slight changes in water temperature caused by the sun or the presence of clouds can alter the walleyes food preference over the course of a day.    They may want minnows early in the morning and leeches or nightcrawlers by midday after water warms.    A front that brings an overcast sky can lower the temperature again. Their menu choice could change back to minnows.
Unlike most of the fishing season, a great mid-day walleye bite may occur during this period.Work from an anchored position once walleyes are found, Richter anchors grab the soft bottom well.

If you’re convinced you’re in the right location, give the spot time.  Walleyes on the move looking for a meal will find you. Likewise, if action stops, give them some time.  Walleyes may only have buried themselves deep the weeds when a muskie passed by.  The walleyes will be back.  But, if they don’t return soon, they didn’t more far.  Simply pick the anchor up off the bottom, drift 20 or 30 feet and lower it again.     Repeat the process until the fish are relocated.

Water clarity is an issue early in the year.  Walleyes can be easily spooked in clear shallow water.  They pick up on your presence quickly.  Be quiet.
Slip bobbers and weeds are a great combination for success in spring.  Think green to find the gold.

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Book Review “Master The Art of Slip Bobbering” by Dave Richey

By Dave Richey

The Detroit News Staff Outdoor Writer (23) Years

Master The Art Of Slip Bobbering

Master The Art Of Slip Bobbering: The Deadliest Method For Walleye! by Greg Bohn (Mr. Slip Bobber) with Scott Richardson. Published by Strictly Walleye, 6087 Highway 51 South, Hazelhurst, WI 54531. The ISBN number for bookstore ordering is 978-0-615-12875-7. Author autographed copies if requested are available from the above location. The price for this paperback book is $13.95.

Slip bobbers for walleye are nothing new, but some of Bohn’s techniques are just different enough to make catching jumbo walleyes a daily fact of life rather than a hoped-for dream for most fishermen.

The author walks anglers through his daily slip-bobber routine, and tells how to measure the water depth and how to adjust the rig to put the bait in the proper strike zone and location to hook big fish. Bohn has guided anglers to two record-class Michigan walleyes of huge size, and another from Wisconsin waters. Walleyes of 10 pounds or larger are often caught by anglers using his methods.

“Nine out of 10 experienced walleye fishermen failed to meet my simple boat challenge: how to put together a basic slip bobber rig,” he said. “People who buy and study this book will learn how to do it right, every time.”

The table of contents reads like a laundry-list of exactly what to do. There are chapters on stop knots, do-it-yourself stop knots, properly hooking live bait, reading between the lines, setting the depth, steps to setting the hook, Greg’s “Secret Six” walleye slip bobber rigs, the wind factor, fishing big waves for big walleyes, anchoring strategy, drifting patterns, weighted slip bobbers, 3rd shift walleye patterns, slip bobber tools and much more.

The author describes his drifting method of fishing three lines for walleyes. One line is fished close to the boat, another is 15 feet away and the rig farthest away is at 30 feet. Anything farther away becomes too difficult to see and makes an accurate presentation much harder.

This book is destined to be a winner. It details what Bohn calls proper slip bobber tackle selection and exactly how to fish a slip bobber rig under all kinds of circumstances. This presentation is a natural for big walleyes. Walleye fishing is big business in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and across the nation, and it’s seldom that anything really new comes along.

In this case, Greg Bohn’s new book on slip bobber fishing is just the ticket. It is brand new, packed with guide secrets and exciting to read. This book can lead to bigger and better walleyes, regardless of where an angler fishes. It is the bright new spot on the walleye-fishing horizon.