Thinamabobbers kind of suck. What's better?

Rick Todd

Active Member
I used to use the Frog Hair bobbers exclusively, and in my drift boat or pontoon, that works fine as I have two rods, one for nymphing and one for dry flies. If you are hiking with one rod, the frog hair requires too much work to switch from nymphs to drys for me. Otherwise, they work fine. Rick
I've caught a lot of fish on thingamabobbers. They are good for straight forward trout water drifts in water that is 2-6ft deep. I have been searching for a better alternative for a long time. I've tried the yarn indicators, but they face some of the same problems as a thingamabobber.

The biggest issue I have is that the thingamabobbers don't indicate whether the flies are fishing properly. Meaning, with a vertical bobber like a balsa float, I can see when the flies are in the prime position because the indicator is pointing straight up and down. Also, with a vertical indicator, I can see bottom ticks and sideways strikes much clearer. They are much more sensitive.

I've actually been using some balsa floats on my fly line - especially when the run I'm fishing is deeper than 5 ft. The bummer is that they're bulky and it looks stupid. Has anyone found something that works better than the thingabobbers? Something that shows a vertical indication of how the flies are moving?

Also of note - I tried the new screw on bobbers. The balloon versions are near worthless. The trapped air plastic ones are an improvement over the thingas, but there's no difference in terms of how they perform from thingas.
After going 1 for 7 on the "Thingasucks", I went back to the "feel" method and starting getting more fish again. I guess everyone's different. I started back in the 80's by going off of the feel technique, tried a bobber, went back to feel. The nice thing about the feel method is that you have to have most, if not all, the slack out of your line. That makes the hookups quicker because of the lack of slack. It's a little more difficult, but once you get it down it's very effective.

Also, you don't have to keep adjusting the placement of your bobber to find where the fish are. You can do that from one cast to another by simply "over-mending/under-mending" your line.

Then again, it could be just that I really suck at using a bobber. :hmmm:


Not to be confused with Freestone
Give these a try.

Jim Pettit, guide for the Fly Shop turned me on to these some years ago while we were fishing the lower Sacramento. I still use them when fishing deep, moving water. For sure they let you know if your line is drag fee.

To be honest though, I seem to do as well with poly-yarn fluffs or Thingamabobbers, And TB's last all damn day and never need drying and re-doping :cool:

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Is that why you kept screaming "set it, set it, set the hook, set the hook, hit it, hit is, would you freaking pay attention already"? I thought that was an odd string of chatter, is that what you meant? You damn near went hoarse saying that or some sassy variation about a hundred times that trip!