Can You Fish Without a Bobber?

Fishing is not as simple as casting a line into the water and waiting for your prey to take a bite on your hook. A lot of times, you will see kids or recreational fishers using bobbers. If you aren’t familiar with a bobber, it’s the circular little ball that typically floats just above the water. Many people find it to be a useful tool. 

But while fishing with a bobber has it’s advantages; it can do more harm than good sometimes depending on what type of fish you are trying to catch and your experience level. Anyone can fish without a boober, yes. It is not necessary and sometimes recommended to do without one. 

But as mentioned above, fishing is not so simple and can be situational, depending on what you are trying to catch and who is trying to catch it. Let’s get into more specifics about this below. 

Why You Don’t Need A Bobber

While bobbers can be useful at certain times, it’s possible to fish without and even recommended to not use one at certain times. In order to use a bobber, one must thread the line through it to attach it somewhat near the end. If you are not using one, then the line and rod are fine as is. 

You would cast the line over your shoulder as usual and let it go. Once the bait has hit the water, let it sink down and wait for the tug. It’s best to real it a little just to see if there’s any tug or resistance as it can be harder to see if there’s any bite. 

Plenty of fishers who treat it casually won’t use one as it’s just a recreational activity to do for a few hours here and there. If you’re inexperienced, there is a good chance you haven’t even heard of one. 

However, some people want to improve their fishing, so to understand better of when you would want to use a boober and when not to use a bobber, read below. 

When to Use One

There are a number of reasons why a bobber is so popular among fishers. One of them being a childhood staple to teaching kids how to fish. Not only kids but those who fish recreationally find them to be useful as well.

Some of the many other benefits of using a bobber are easier detection if there’s a bite and keeping the bait from going to the bottom of the ocean, depending on how deep your fishing.  Each one of these reasons makes a valid point for why one should use a bobber. 


When one just starts out to fish, it may be hard to tell when there is a bite on the bate. Small nibbles from smaller fish are almost undetectable and may not cause any feeling or pull on the line. A bobber is great because it allows people to relax a little and not have to focus so hard on whether they see the slightest movement by their line. The bobber is much easier to tell if it’s moving and makes it a more enjoyable experience for younger kids or adults who just want to have some fun. 

Keeping the Bait Elevated

Sometimes in shallower areas, whether it be the ocean or it is a pond or lake, the bait finds it’s way to the floor or gets caught in vegetation, rock, wood, anything. If it’s on the floor of the water, then it will be harder for the fish to see it, and your chances of catching something become a lot lower than if the bait was floating in the middle of the water. 

If it also gets caught in vegetation, it makes it easier for the fish to take the bait and hook without getting caught themselves. The line can break if it gets stuck or wrapped around whatever it gets caught in. With the bobber, it just keeps it out of that mess. 

Good for Certain Kinds of Fish

A boober is great when you are trying to fish for those who live in the upper sections of not too deep water. Think flounder, trout, snappers, and more. A lot of the time, these fish aren’t swimming in the deep parts of the ocean, so there is no worry about trying to get your bait to go to levels that aren’t necessary for the type of fish you are trying to catch. 

When Not to Use One

However, there’s always a flip side to everything, and when it comes to bobbers, if you don’t know when not to use it, it could be harmful to the type of fishing you are doing. For instance, if you aren’t fishing for shallow-water fish, then a bobber is not your friend. It is also can take away some of the challenges. Here’s when not to use it. 

Bad for Deep Sea Fishing

While it may help you cast a farther line into the ocean, it will limit how far you can have your bait go down. The floating aspect of the bobber limits your ability to go for deep-sea fish. Some of these fish that feed more towards the bottom of the water are bass, catfish, carp, and more. Having a bobber sort of eliminates the ability to go for this kind of crowd. 

When Timing Matters

It’s tough to say that timing won’t ever matter, but sometimes timing matters more than others. Harder fish to catch require quick response, and the problem with bobbers is they cast a right angle as the line drops directly beneath it. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it can be. Before the part of the line that is dropped vertically from the bobber can be pulled in, the right angle has to be undone first with force. This does take a little longer than if you just a direct line without the bobber because you wouldn’t be dealing with any right angles. 

Pros and Cons to Bobbers

While they are great aids, bobbers can certainly have their downside. Below is table that touches upon some of the things listed above and somethings we have yet to consider. 

Bobber      ProsCons
ChallengeBobbers eliminate the need for constant focus and wasting time if the bait has already been taken and you haven’t noticed.    Allows for recreation and fun, multi-tasking with other people. Takes a little bit of the challenge away from it and the focus that is appreciated by fishing. This is a personal preference. Sometimes people don’t want aids. 
Time– As mentioned above, it may save you time by noticing somethings nibbling on your hook a whole lot sooner.   The actual time it takes for the hook to start moving is slower because of the right angle formed. It is faster to reel in a line without a bobber. 
FishIt helps get the basic or more commonly fished for species a lot quicker and easier. You can’t get a hold of any of the bottom feeders as it can be limiting to the upper tiers of the water. 

Final Thoughts

Using a bobber is not needed when it comes to fishing. There are certain situations in which it makes fishing better. However, just opposite of that point, we can note that there are times where it makes things more difficult during a fishing experience depending on what type of fish you are looking for. 

Even experts use bobbers, so they are for everyone and not just the misconception that it is meant for kids or beginner fishers. But it is highly recommended for recreational fishing and kids as it helps aid the process when one isn’t as familiar with the biting of the bait. 

Despite it being up to personal preference, bobbers are a widely popular used aid that doesn’t have a whole lot of cons to using one. 

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