T here is something special about watching a bobber start moving and then disappear below the surface.
In fact, I daresay if you can’t get excited about seeing that, you should consider taking up badminton or underwater basket weaving.
Your enthusiasm for angling is obviously gone.
When I was a kid, virtually every bobber at the tackle shop was the classic red and white with the blue stem. If you put a little weight below it, the red would barely show as it floated in the water with a hunk of nightcrawler below it.
I have been into the technical side of fishing for a number of years and enjoy the intricacies of figuring which lure is best to fish on the exact kind of line, rod and reel.
But I also like to sit in a lawn chair on the bank and watch a bobber move along in the current until something pulls it under.
When I was a child, it was all about catching the longnose gar at the gully down the street from my house. The bobber would start moving back and forth and usually swim down the canal before they decided to pull it under.
Later it was catching crappie over brushpiles. No fish (even my beloved flounder) excited me more than a sac-a-lit so it is always with great anticipation to have one of those spotted beauties suck one under.
We have used large popping corks to target blacktips in the Gulf of Mexico out of Sabine Pass. A few pops and then comes a swirl and often a jump.
I have never caught a marlin, but after seeing some of our Texas blacktips and spinners striking a cut mullet under a popping cork, I don’t feel slighted. Their fight is tremendous.
In Venice, Louisiana four years ago I caught the biggest redfish of my life (a 45-inch nearly 50 pound behemoth) while fishing a plastic under a popping cork in 18 inches of water.
That fight lasted just a little bit longer than the little gar back at the gully, but it pulled down the bobber just like then. It started moving slowly and then swam away before descending.
The events after the hookset were a whole ’nother affair.
My friend Mark Davis of Bigwater Adventures television, fishes all over the world and has had some of his biggest success on a popping cork.
I watched him out-fish me and a lodge full of guides for big trout near Port Mansfield seven years ago. He caught a 30-incher right in front of us on a rig that had those very-big-trout-spoiled guides scratching their heads.
How could such an elusive fish be caught on a such a simple setup?
The bottom line is bobbers work and although we have come a long way from the red, white and blue ones of the past, they still help us catch fish.
This month the TF&G staff heads to Orlando for the annual ICAST Show, a gigantic industry-centric trade show that focuses solely on fishing tackle. Virtually every product you can think of and stuff you would never dream of are shown to retailer buyers, investors and outdoor media. I love seeing all of the amazing gear anglers can get their hands on to improve their fishing.
We will be blogging live from ICAST, so check out fishgame.com for various posts before, during and after the July 12-15 show.
Yet even with the opportunity to check out and—yes, field test tackle before it hits stores, which I consider a true privilege, I am continually drawn back to the bobber and fishing’s simplicity.
I am a land-bound angler without a boat these days, so I have embraced some of the simpler things about fishing. Look, no kid has ever got hooked on fishing by learning to throw a crankbait at age five or slow-sinking a soft plastic on the flats for trout.
It’s all about croaker and hardheads for kids on the coast and bream, catfish and little gar for the rest. We need to stop belittling that and celebrate it. If you see some kids out fishing in a local canal realize they are the exception during this technological era. Go buy them some bait or give them some of your old rods.
In this issue we have another story on highschool bass fishing, which we support 100 percent. In fact we were the first publication to write about it, but the kids I am talking about are just out to catch whatever pulls on their line. They are drawn to nature as all of us were at some point, and what bites does not matter—just so something bites.
As we herald the American flag and celebrate our nation’s independence, let’s get back to the red, white and blue basics of sitting on a bucket on the side of the road with a bobber of those colors simply glad to be fishing.
We might never go that direction again, but we certainly can smile on memories of simple fishing times. We should make sure the kids in our circle of influence can experience the same great times we had.
We owe it to them.
Email Chester Moore at [email protected]