End Weighting Means
By Ken Mack
Control wins in NASCAR.
The ability to draft and trade paint while jockeying for position. The
dominance of one team over another.
Control is an underlying force that breeds success in everything we do, fishing included.
We see it in skilled fly anglers as they strip line and precariously place poppers in the
pads. In seasoned jiggers, as they deftly tick lead across rocks and timber without
snagging, yet remain able to decipher the slight nip of a walleye. Surprising to some,
though, might be the fact that control is equally as meaningful to a bobber fisherman.
Control means hanging bait at a precise depth, as well as balancing a float to where the
sniff of a bluegill makes it plunge. Its taking a seemingly elementary bobber and
building it into a system, a controlled system that can pry any species from any depth
regardless of the time of year. And it all begins with End Weighting.
Fleshed to its core, end weighting is the combining of meat and
mass. The hook and weight become one, yielding no mystery of depth or margin of error, but
instead transferring control to the angler. It can be achieved in one of two ways:
Firstly, the hook and weight can be married in the form of a jig. The hook is now the
sinker. Both the float and jig linger endlessly in known and fixed positions.
End weighting is also achievable with split-shot sinkers pinched above a plain hook. The
average bobber-user will span some 12 to 18 inches between sinkers and hook. The belief is
that by allocating such a generous swim range that the bait is more likely to attract
suitors. Not necessarily so. Struggling foodstuffs, especially minnows, will tire and
eventually die from the stress. In end weighting, its wisest to lay only an inch or
two between the hook and shot. As unlikely as it may seem, that allows plenty of scope for
the bait to dance seductively, all the while maintaining constant depth.
Too many inches between the weight and bait also promote tangling. During the cast, the
bobber, weight, and bait orbit at various speeds, ultimately colliding and weaving with
Total control also involves knowledge of depth. The angler must know exactly where the
offering is at all times. If the distance between the float and bait is adjusted to 5
feet, youre assured the bait is 5 feet below the surface. No inconsistencies
triggered by a rambunctious minnow or leech, as would occur with a non-end weighted
Absolute control concerns balance as well. Balance in the dominion of end weighting and
float fishing is often referred to as neutral buoyancy. In essence, matching the weight
and bait to the buoyancy properties of your bobber. The goal is to load the bait so the
bobber scarcely stays afloat its treading water but still visible.
Consequently, even the gentlest bite causes the bobber to descend or at minimum skew from
its natural position.
Control also entails the governing of vertical and horizontal space. Casting distance is
your vehicle of horizontal exposure. Waters between you and where the bobber comes to rest
constitute the horizontal plane. Vertical coverage area column of water is
addressed by the floats depth setting and your aptitude to jig. Yes, jig. First and
foremost, a bobber is a strike indicator. It notifies the angler that something is going
on below. But if end weighted and rigged as a slip bobber, a float also performs as a
jigging platform. When line is pulled through the float reeling or jerking
the bobber-stop slides up and away, consequently raising the presentation a corresponding
distance. So if the bobber stop is jigged 3 feet and the float jigging platform
remains in position, the lure then rises 3 feet, yielding greater vertical
coverage. This principle allows you to explore an expanded vertical area, as well as draw
fish by way of the lures action.
Truthfully, its as easy to pick apart a 6 foot deep weed flat as it is a 30 foot
Lets apply the concepts of end weighting and controlled bobber fishing to something
tangible, say springtime crappies. Imagine that youre attacking a shallow bay. The
zone under scrutiny is a 6 foot deep stump filled area with newly emerging vegetation.
Your jig, bait wax worms, minnow, or soft plastic and float are composed to
neutral buoyancy. Go ahead and set the bobber stop to 4 feet and cast beyond your targeted
area. During the retrieve, mix slow reels, pauses, and a few tugs. Again, using the float
as a jigging platform, make the jig rise 1 to 3 feet. The presentation ascends and falls
in an attractive display, however remains under your complete control. Each cast probes a
wide swath between you and where the bobber initially landed. Motor along and continue the
process. When a strike occurs, the jigging platform reverts back into a strike indicator
and beckons you to set the hook.
A similar scenario unfolds in the presence of walleyes. Suppose that youre banging
the deep transition area of an extended underwater point. Youll need to upgrade jig
size and make a move to minnows, crawlers or leeches. The top of the structure is 12 feet
deep with a sharp break that bottoms-out at 20 feet. Set your bobber stop at 19 feet and
hurl it onto the 12 foot crown. The bait will begin its quest on the bottom, where a
walleye might vacuum it right up. But if not, crank down on the reel a few times. (Had a
fish slurped the jig youd feel its weight.) Continue to work the bait across the 12
foot area. Once off the apex and break, the float will right itself. The baits now
hovering over a critical area. Let it sit awhile. Shes in a good spot and the live
bait is laboring on your behalf. But if nothing filches it, drag the float slowly towards
the boat, incorporating pauses along the way. On the following cast youll want to
integrate a few jerks, raising the jig 1 to 3 feet above its fixed position. Control is
with you. A walleye should soon be in the boat.
Choosing a suitable bobber is also important to building an end weighted system. The
market place is flooded with slip-bobbers, many of which suffice, but none perform better
than the Rocket Bobber. To maximize coverage of horizontal space, the Rocket Bobber is
powerful for its size, casting like a surface to water missal. It can be end weighted and
rigged as a slip-bobber without cutting the line, or clipped-on and fished traditionally.
For end weighting, the large Rocket Bobber is designed to perform with a 1/8 ounce weight
and the smaller version a 1/16 ounce weight. In clip-on mode, the Rocket Bobber
fishing for panfish with a light lure is designed to lay flat on the water. When a
fish inhales the bait, the bobber begins standing upright. Set the hook! Now thats
Float fishing neednt be relegated to dock fishing and partygoers on pontoons. End
weighting is a meaningful tool that matches wits with the most high-tech tactics on the
water, and its easy to do as well.
The astounding Rocket Bobber is available at sporting goods retailers and bait shops
nationwide. If your local fishing dealer doesnt handle them, contact Tackle 2000
Inc. at PO Box 541, Tomahawk, WI 54487-0541. Call Tackle 2000 at 715.224.2229 or visit
their website at www.tackle2000.com