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Bohn Slip Floats Mille Lacs Lake by Ted Takasaki with Scott Richardson


By Ted Takasaki and Scott Richardson

There’s a reason legendary Wisconsin guide Greg Bohn makes frequent pilgrimages to Minnesota’s Mighty Mille Lacs.

He’s known as Mr. Slip Bobber, and he thinks Mille Lacs is the slip-bobber capital of the world.

That’s especially true when the water temperature hits 70 and above.

“The walleyes come right up on top of the rock bars,” said Bohn,  who authored the new book, “Master the Art of Slip Bobbering: the Deadliest Method for Walleye,”  with outdoor writer Scott Richardson.   “It’s terrific.”

Bohn has spent the last 30 years perfecting the tactic that is one of the most used and least understood in walleye fishing.

Most anglers view bobbers as a secondary technique.  Not Bohn, who designed the new Pro-Series Slip Bobbers, Rigs and Snells for Lindy Legendary Tackle.   As a 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 is it.

Slip bobbers are for experienced anglers, too, because they work.  Bohn’s guided clients have been known to catch 250 walleyes in a weekend.

“My question is, what else is out there that can catch 200 plus walleyes in a weekend,”  said Bohn, “It usually out-fishes everything else we are doing, After a while of watching someone catch fish after fish after fish with a slip bobber, it’s like, Hey, give me one of those things.”

The set-up Bohn describes is not the sloppy contraption that commonly passes for a slip bobber rig. You better think Hi-Tec rigging according to Bohn!

Most people start by sliding on any old slip knot or plastic bobber stop. They follow that with a  cheap bobber that sometimes slides, sometimes not.    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.

Plastic and rubber bobber stops have their uses, especially when you have to retie when bites are coming fast and furious.    But high-quality thread stops are best to hold at the proper depth longer without slipping out of place or damaging the line.

Toss out the those plastic beads that come with most stops. They stick, causing the bobber to stand upright before the bait reaches the desired depth.  Bohn has searched the world for the best uniform beads to insure they slide easily. He markets them as a Pro Bead Rigging Kit which work great partnered with the Lindy weighted and unweighted Pro Series bobbers.

Split shot?  No.  With rare exceptions like the Thill Soft Shot, 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 and lose a 5-pound walleye at the boat, you’ll know you have the wrong weight,” Bohn said.

Instead, small rubber core sinkers are 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 Timb’r Rock Jigs or NO-SNAGG 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 red hook.  Aberdeen-style hooks are best to avoid damaging bait, which must stay lively to do it’s job.  Jump to a #2 for big chubs and leeches.

Bohn also designed a 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 helps 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 adds another red bead above the jig, hook or Jig Bug for extra attraction.

At Mille Lacs, local custom is to use relatively big jigs of one-eighth or even one-quarter of an ounce coupled with Lindy’s Mille Lacs slip bobber.  Instead, Bohn prefers to keep the jig size small so a hungry walleye is sure to get the point when it inhales a jumbo leech.  If more weight is desired, add it to the line in the form of a larger rubber core sinker, not the hook. Bohn was quick to comment..if more walleye anglers use the Pro-Bead and Pro-Blade Rigging Kits, their slip float walleye fishing will never be the same again!

Whole nightcrawlers highlighted by glass beads and blades are dynamite at Mille Lacs in summertime, too, as well as leeches. But, if perch are around, they’ll peck at the bait and ruin its looks.  And, in slip bobbering, it’s critical for the bait to appear lively and natural.

When you’ve decided on a spot to fish, set the depth so the bait rides just one foot off the bottom.   Bohn uses a depth finding sinker common in ice fishing.  He lets it go to the bottom, reels the rod tip to the surface of the water and then slides the slip knot to within one foot of the rod tip.

Where to fish?  That’s an important question on a lake the size of Mille Lacs.   The best spots are gravel points with boulders mixed in that come way out into the lake, Bohn said.   Names like Indian Point and Brown’s Point come to mind.  Best depths are often 19- to 23 feet.

Like most big water, the wind helps concentrate fish on Mille Lacs.   It’s important to know which direction the breeze is blowing that day, but it’s even more important to know which way it’s been blowing a day or two before.  The wind moves the food chain to the windy side.   It also helps impart action to the bait.

“I love it when the wind blows over the tops (of structure.)  It moves the bobber around which is very helpful,” Bohn said.

Mid-lake reefs are popular, too, and if it’s numbers of walleyes you want rather than size they may be the spots for you.  Try Garrison’s Reef, Hennepin Island and Banana Reef.   Three Mile Reef tops out at about 17 feet, but look for several bars that jut out from it and top out at 22 feet.

Bohn also loves to drift over Anderson’s Reef.   GPS or marker buoys are a must on large areas like that.  Enter a waypoint or toss a buoy each time a fish strikes, then return to those spots and anchor so you can cast into the wind and let the wind drift your bait across the spot.

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X-TREME Slip Bobber Walleye Rigging! by Greg Bohn with Scott Richardson

By Mr. Slip Bobber Greg Bohn and Scott Richardson

Casting lures or jigs might help locate schools of walleyes in spring by plucking off an active one or two. But using slip bobbers to dangle live bait in front of the ‘eyes can produce massive catches even in cold water. Slip bobbers can increase your walleye catch by at least 50 percent. There are days when a jig won’t produce a fish but a slip bobber will net fish after fish.

What’s more exciting is that a handful of tackle companies led by Lindy Legendary Fishing Tackle have designed products for 2007 that will make slip bobbering so simple everyone can get in on the action. There’s never been a better time to make the move and get fired up about slip bobbering. The basics The problem many anglers have with depending on slip bobber rigs is that they tried them before new refinements made them deadly. The rigs most people remember were hit or miss at best. Years ago, a slip bobber rig consisted of nothing more than any old float, a bobber stop, a hook or a jig and some split shot to balance it all. But, that’s not close to a modern dependable rig. The wrong kind of slip shot can weaken line. The wrong float won’t slide all the way to the bobber stop, which destroys the rig’s chief asset, depth control. The wrong bobber stop can slip out of place and ruin depth control, too. Plastic stops can cut the line. Start with thread-style bobber stops. They snug tight enough to stay in place but slide enough to allow depth adjustments. They don’t nick the line like other styles can do. Trim the tag ends to about – inch long so you can tighten the knot when it needs it. Stick with a bright color stop knot and thread on a red glass bead so you can see it to be sure the float slides up to meet the stop every time. You need to know the bait is precisely where you want it to be. Lindy developed the Thill Pro Series floats (designed by Greg) that take the guesswork out of bobber choice. They come in four sizes and un-weighted or weighted designs. Each has its place. The un-weighted will support more weight below it, floats higher in the water and is perfect for calmer water. The weighted lets you cast into the wind. Casting with the wind may be easier, but once in place, your float just sits there and covers a small area.

Casting with the wind lets the bobber float back to the boat and beyond to showcase the bait to more fish over a larger section of water. The weighted bobbers also let you remove the weight when conditions change. Most importantly, the Pro Series bobbers are made with a grommit insert to let line to pass through without getting hung up. After three years of testing, they’ve never failed us once. Next add a Lindy NO-SNAGG barrel swivel. The unique design of the number 10 swivel boasts a larger loop at one end to prevent the swivel from getting stuck in the bobber and sabotaging its mission to set the depth. Tie on a 2-foot monofilament leader and a 1/32nd or 1/16th Bobber Bug (another Greg design) that add a very little weight to the hook to keep the live bait in the strike zone. The hooks are oversized to improve hooksets. And, they take big fish. (Greg had four fish over 10 pounds in 2006 all on 1/16th ounce Bobber Bug Snells and whole crawlers.)

The alternative is to use Tru-Turn Hooks in size 4 for minnows or size 6 for leeches and crawlers. Less weight at the hook allows the live bait to act naturally and lets the walleye inhale the hook along with the live bait. It’s better to use small rubber core sinkers or soft split shot a foot up the line to balance the rig. Neither weighting system will weaken the line. Add a red glass bead above the hook for even more attraction.

Lindy also has petite flicker blades that ride above the hook to add flash for attraction as they move as the bait swims. When a minnow or leech panics when they see a walleye approaching, they’ll swim harder to escape and the flicker blade sends out even more flash to trigger the strike. The good news is Lindy has taken the guesswork out of putting the rigs together with the 103-piece Thill Pro Series Slip Bobber Rig Kit. It contains 4 bobbers, two each weighted and un-weighted; thread bobber stops; glass beads; snells and Bobber Bugs in fire tiger and perch colors; and Tru-Turn hooks. The kit comes in a Plano tackle box with a $5 bonus coupon off the price of the book. Bohn keeps a dozen slip-bobber snells on a Lindy Rigger Extreme, which has eight containers inside for rubber core weights, knots, beads and everything else you need to slip-bobber fish. Using the kit, just slide on a bobber stop, a glass bead and bobber, tie one knot and you’re fishing. It’s all too easy. Best yet, the complete slip bobber rig eliminates down time rigging in the boat. We’ve all been there trying to rig slip bobbers in the boat.

Trying to re-rig after a break off in high wind and waves when the bite is on is no fun. There’s never been a better time to make the move and get fired up about slip bobbering. One word of caution; keep your Beckman net handy once you put the rig on your line, bait up and cast. You’ll need it. Lindy also offers snells alone that can be used as replacements when you need or under any bobber you prefer. Spring locations Slip bobbers are great early in the year for walleyes during prespawn, spawn and post-spawn. They are the slow antagonizing approach that seems to fit spring fishing. Rather than looking for walleyes, walleyes to come to you. They might bypass a lure, but it’s very hard for them to pass up live bait suspended a foot off the bottom with a red bead and a small blade adding to the attraction. Another advantage of slip bobbers is that they can be fished in 2 feet of water or 20 feet down. Walleyes at that time of year can be in either place. Now is the time to stick with lakes with good walleye populations that offer the chance of big fish. Avoid places with reputations as trophy waters where walleyes are relatively few. Go for the action. Look for the warmest water. Walleyes will travel miles to find water just a degree or two warmer.

Focus on rock or sand bars and protected places where wind has blown warm surface water. Fish can be found in a bay 5 feet deep, a mud flat 8 feet deep when there’s nothing there but warmer water. Emerging weeds are key. Elodia is the first plant to grow in 10 feet or water or less, and that makes it the first choice for early season walleyes. It’s like a carpet of fresh green leaves. And, it doesn’t take much. Several 5- to 6-pound walleyes have been caught off a patch no bigger than a boat and returning every day for two weeks to enjoy the same results.

Don’t overlook submerged wood, such as stump beds in 8- to 10-feet of water or less, in reservoirs. Fish may be buried in the wood. A slip bobber drifting past them will bring it out. Wind is your best friend. Water can be crystal clear early in the year. The breeze cuts light penetration so the walleyes are more active. The wind also drives bobber action, the bait moves, the flicker blade will turn. That’s what’s going to make the walleyes strike. Sometimes, the action on the slip bobbers can be so explosive you can’t do anything else than bait the hook, cast and catch. Anchor near likely spots. Set the rigs so the bait rides a foot off the bottom and cast into the wind. Never exceed 50 feet from the boat. Let the bobber float back to the boat and beyond. Twitch it a time or two before reeling to the boat to entice a strike if a walleye was watching it. If you found one fish in spring, you didn’t just find one, you just caught one, the others are right there.

We live in revolutionary times when it comes to slip bobbering. Recent improvements have taken an antique system and move it into the 21st century. The rig works every time it’s put in the water. It’s become a finely tuned and deadly walleye system.

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About Legendary Walleye Guide Greg Bohn by Scott Richardson



Wisconsin’s Legendary Walleye guide, Greg Bohn has evolved into one of North America’s foremost fishing educators and tackle designers. Bohn has been a pioneer in walleye tackle technology and presentation techniques for over 30 years! His Walleye Tackle Inventions include the Original Stinger Hook, Timb’r Rock Jig, Veg-E Jig, No-Snagg Hooks, Thill Pro-Series floats, Float Rigs, Slip Bobber Snells, Mr. Slip Bobber Jig Bugs, Pro-Bead & Pro-Blade Rigging Kits, and Lindy No-Snagg Rigs. His walleye tackle concepts hang on peghooks at major retail outlets across the country. Bohn considered first by many, responsible for developing & pioneering significant Slip Bobber, Weed, & Wood presentations and locations for walleye. Bohn is known by those within the fishing industry as Mr. Slip Bobber.

Greg & wife Audrey who helped him develop the prototypes of the snagless Timb’r Rock Jig, No-Snagg Hook, and Thill Pro-Series floats which are now centerpieces of the Lindy’s nationally marketed tackle line. Bohn’s NO-SNAGG Hook, & Lindner’s NO-SNAGG Sinker designed by National Fishing Hall of Famer Ron Lindner, has been hailed as one of angling’s major new tackle breakthroughs. Infact this Lindner and Bohn team was honored with the “Best Of Show Award” at the National I-Cast Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bohn’s first experiments with the No-Snagg technology began in the early 1970s when he pioneered new tackle concepts to contend with the wood and rocks of the Turtle-Flambeau, Willow and Rainbow flowages in Wisconsin’s Walleye Belt of Wisconsin’s Vilas and Oneida counties. His success using 7-strand wire hook guards and inventing the first-ever designed stinger hooks led to his earlier Stinger Tackle Company in the 1970s.

He eventually opened the Strictly Walleye Headquarters bait, tackle & guide service business in Minocqua, Wis. Currently Bohn guides daily, travels to seminars & promotes his walleye fishing techniques full time. His new book “Master the Art of Slip Bobbering ” along with Mr. Slip Bobber tackle products were newly introduced. Lindy Tackle has just resently introduced the New* Thill Pro-Series Slip Bobber Rigs and replacement Snells for 2007.

His guiding success is evidenced by the many trophies that have been hauled into his boat. In 1994, he guided Gerald Patterson on Little Bay de Noc to a #14 pound, 2 ounce walleye measuring 34″-1/2 inches. The National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame lists the catch as the world record for #17-pound line. It also was the largest walleye caught in Michigan that year.

Just two years later, Bohn guided Tom Bodenheimer on Little Bay de Noc to a #15 pound, 1 ounce walleye that was 34″-1/2 inches long. It was Michigan’s largest recorded walleye in 1996.

Then in 1997, Bohn introduced 12-year-old Marcus Steigerwaldt to a #15 pound, 7 ounce walleye on Lake Tomahawk that was 33″-1/2 inches long. The National Freshwater Hall of Fame recognized it as the world record for #25-pound line. The fish was the largest walleye recorded in Wisconsin that year. The largest inland lake walleye taken, in over a decade!

Bohn himself holds four National Freshwater Hall of Fame “Catch-and-Release” walleye records for #10-, #12-, #15- and #17-pound line.

Bohn collaborated in the late 1980’s with Fishing Hot Spots to write three highly-acclaimed books in the “Secrets of a Northwoods Walleye Guide” series. The first was “Slip-Bobbering…” The second was entitled, “Workin’ the Wood…” The third was “Weeds n’ Walleyes”.

Bohn’s new book titled “Master the Art of Slip Bobbering”…The Deadliest Method For Walleye resently released on Nov/2006. It’s the hottest walleye book to hit newsstands in years. Bob Maciluis-Outdoor Notebook.

Bohn is a highly sought-after nationally recognized seminar speaker. His walleye & slip bobbering seminars have been visited and shared with anglers in nearly every state.

Lest you think Bohn is Strictly Walleye, please note he caught a 56″ – #44 pound, 8 ounce muskie from Plum Lake in Vilas County Wisconsin. The Muskie nicknamed “Stood Up” was boated while Bohn fished alone after his clients that day never showed. It was the longest regestered muskie caught in North America and the second heaviest caught in Wisconsin during 1993. It still stands as the 8th largest overall muskie ever caught in Wisconsin.

He has written over 150 articles on a variety of walleye, float fishing and crappie topics for top national publications as “In-Fisherman,” “Walleye In-Sider,” “Fishing Facts”, “Midwest Outdoors”, “North American Fisherman”, “Outdoor Life” and “Outdoor Notebook”. Bohn also appears regularly as contributor on In-Fisherman, Mike Jackson Outdoors and Outdoor Notebook radio.

Bohn’s corporate sponsors include Heckels Marine, Lamiglas Rods, Lindy Legendary Tackle Co, Hummingbird Electronics, Minn-Kota Motors, Nature Vision, Navionics Hot Maps, Ranger Boats and Yamaha Outboards.