By Dan Johnson

In panfishing -- as in life -- the seemingly smallest of details can make all the difference. On the fishing front, it pays to get picky about which bobber to clip or slide on your line. Choose the right one and catch more fish. Make the wrong decision and you’ll have time to think about your transgressions while praying for the bobber to show some sign of life.

Panfish fanatic Paul Fournier knows the drill. He compulsively tailors float selection to the species, presentation and conditions at hand. And while the particulars of his programs could be expounded upon at length, a couple of simple pointers can get you started on the road to bobbering bliss. For example, when dancing a jig for broad-shouldered bluegills anytime from ice-out until the fish abandon their nests after spawning, he often toggles between two styles of floats.

In search mode he favors a Thill Wobble Bobber because its body design and ballast engender long casts. And true to its name, the pear-shaped float rocks back and forth when you retrieve it, adding tantalizing action to baits below.

Speaking of which, Fournier often relies on a 1/64-ounce to 1/8-ounce jighead like a Lindy Watsit, Toad, Ice Jig or Little Nipper. Live baits such as angleworms, waxies or crawler parts take fish, but he often uses soft-plastic trailers like a Lindy Watsit Grub for long-lasting fish attraction.

Once he finds a pod of plump panfish, Fournier opts for a Thill Crappie Cork. The reason, he explains, is that a properly balance Crappie Cork telegraphs reams of information about what’s transpiring beneath the surface, including light bites and exactly how the fish are taking the bait. As a bonus, the Crappie Cork’s extended stem rides jauntily above the waves, making it easy to spot when the surface is rippled.

Of course, there are plenty of other fine bobber options, including weighted and unweighted versions of Thill’s Pro Series, plus the Ice ‘N Fly Special, Mini Shy Bite and more. If you take the time to experiment with a few of these designs and see which ones best compliment your personal styles of fishing under different conditions, you’ll put more panfish in the boat or on the bank all season, guaranteed.