Beeping / Flashing / Rattling Fishing Bobbers?

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Question:

I have a friend that loves to fish from the Dock.  He can’t see when the bobber goes down and misses a lot of “hits”.
Is there another bobber or other equipment that will return him to dock fishing?

You have some great stuff here.  I never considered the fishing aspect of Life, even though I work with 175 blind/visually impaired folks and am visually impaired myself.  My in-laws still won’t let me drive the boat.

Steve VanderPoel
Dallas Tx
http://DallasLighthouse.org

Answer:

You have raised a question that has troubled fishers from the earliest days, how to create a bobber that can convey information to the fisher but not to the fish.  A quick search on the internet shows that more than a few claim to answer this quest, but none have come out with the ultimate bobber that will trigger an alarm when their’s action. 

 The potential applications for a wireless audio bobber would be numerous – from fishing at night, off-shore, ice fishing, and structure fishing such as in and around weed beds.  Surely, given advances in technology there must be a way of creating such a device? 

I’ve spoken with a top engineer, namely Anthony Whitehead of Carleton University’s engineering department, about this challenge.  Unfortunately, it would seem distance and weight is the issues that are holding back the development of such a bobber. 

More specifically, the power needed to transmit a wireless signal to a receiving device over any distance means packing on-board the bobber considerable battery power.  Such batteries in their more economical state are too large and heavy, and in a more miniature profile are just too expensive. 

For example, Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs) used in larger stores for inventory and security have a range of about 10 feet.  It doesn’t matter how powerful your receiver is, the transmitter is the component that has to send the signal, (i.e. the transmitter in the bobber would send the signal to the receiver on shore and when the signal is broken at the time the bobber is submerged, the receiver would be triggered to omit an alarm).  Even if the receiver on shore were to transmit a signal to the bobber, the bobber would still need to notify the transmitter that it was no longer receiving, which means 2-way communications. 

Remote control toys have receivers that pick up the signals sent from the transmitter held by the person controlling the toy.  Wireless on-board monitoring systems, such as that made by Autotether, have personal transmitters warn by each person on board the boat and should a person fall over-board, the signal is broken and the on-board receiver sets off an alarm.  In both cases, the transmitters have sufficient power to communicate with the receiver at acceptable distances. 

It was suggested that perhaps the bobber could contain a self generating power source, such as solar or the type found in those self-winding watches, and the bobber could then transmit a steady light or sound directly to the fisher, thus, eliminating the need for a receiver.  Good ideas but I myself couldn’t use the flashing bobber and I’m not sure if I would want to listen to a bobber – although I guess it wouldn’t be any different from watching one.  I wonder what a fish would think of a beeping / flashing bobber?

According to United States Patent 6397510, the invention provides a fishing bobber having a strike-indicating radio transmitter for transmitting a radio signal to the fisherman when there is a strike on the line. The bobber includes a bobber body adapted to float on a body of water with a fishing line connected to it during use. The radio transmitter is supported by and preferably housed within the bobber. Operatively connected to the transmitter is a transmitter switch for actuating the transmitter.  An operating means is connected to the switch for closing the switch in response to a fish exerting tension on the fishing line to thereby operate the radio transmitter so as to broadcast a radio signal to alert the fisherman when a fish strikes. In one preferred form the bobber includes an auxiliary float that can move up and down relative to the bobber for actuating the switch. In another form, the bobber itself is connected to slide up and down on a post which is connected to the fishing line, so that when the post is pulled downwardly by tension on the line the bobber slides upwardly toward the top of the post, thereby closing the transmitter switch. The radio transmitter can also be supported on a transmitter float which floats on the surface of the water next to the bobber and is connected to it electrically. Interesting idea, but I guess no one has got around to making bobbers described here-in.

The following are some lighted and rattling bobbers I found on the internet:

The Rattling Rocket Bobber incorporates a sound chamber that is claimed will attract any fish in the area.  I did read another report from a night fisher who claims they were able to here the bobber rattle up until the point that the fish took the bobber down. 

Rocket Bobber Night Stalker is a lighted bobber for night fishing that glows after being charged by another light source.  No Batteries Needed.

RAT’L BOB made by Plastilite has an internal rattle, fluorescent yellow button, bright pink top, clear smoke bottom.

Night Bobby Lighted Bobber uses two watch size batteries to produce a light.

I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until RFIDs become powerful, miniature and inexpensive enough to apply the technology to bobbers.  Until then, fishers with limited or no sight will need to rely on one of these lighted / rattling bobbers, or go float fishing with a friend. 

Anchors Up,
Lawrence

5 Comments

  1. Matt Mueller says:

    Hi Steve,
    A couple years ago I was playing with the idea of having a wireless bobber for the days when I would like to read a book in the boat and continue to fish. So, after I finished with my Electrical Engineering degree in 2001, and found that I had a lot of time on my hands since I was not craming for tests anymore, I designed a prototype of this and used it a couple times. At the time, I called the device the “Lazy Fisherman” because I was too lazy to watch the bobber, but after reading your post, I realize that you have a much better use for a bobber like this. It still needs some polishing, but I’ll see if I can find my prototype, make some finishing touches, and send it your way. It may be another month before I can finish up on it, but I can send it when I am finished. This also gives me a reason to get motivated to finish the design and someone else to give the bobber a test run, so I would be more than happy to send one to you. All I would ask is some feedback on how well the bobber worked for you. Forward me an address to send the device to if you would like it.

    Thanks

  2. LaBresca says:

    I am a nurse at a clinic and I have a patient that is 92 years old and use to love to fish. He told me that the last time he went fishing we couldn’t see the bobber well enough so he just doesn’t go anymore. We talked for a long time and he really loves the outdoors and fishing. I told him I would come and get him one day and take him to my house to fish in my pond and he was so excited. When I was telling my husband about him he told me that there are bobbers for blind people to use that has some sound to them. I was wondering if you could give me some information on where I could get him one. He is very sweet and I believe that at the age of 92 he deserves the chance to go fishing again. Please let me know if you can help me.

    Hi LaBreska,

    Unfortunately, other than some of the glowing / lighted bobbers I mention in my response to Steve’s question about bobbers, I’m afraid I haven’t heard of anything out there that addresses the issue of non-sighted bobber fishing. Now maybe Matt will find some more free time (see comment #1) and finish designing and testing his “Lazy Fisherman” bobber. There are other ways to catch fish without using a bobber, but in the case of your “old timer” maybe the best thing for now would be to find him a sighted fishing companion who can keep an eye on his bobber while watching their own. Just to be on the safe side though, ask your husband again if there was a paticular bobber he hand in mind when he gave you the informaiton about special bobbers for the blind and if it leads to something please let us know.

    AnchorsUp,
    lawrence

  3. Paul Lieb says:

    You should try the BulletBobber – Its actually a castable planer board with direction control. It is like a stunt kite and doesn’t require nearly as much casting to keep some action in your lures or baits. Put a bell on the end of your rod so you know if you get a hit. Electronics for fish hit indicating is just a bit trediculous when you consider bateries and cost of equipment if your line breaks. Sure it can be done but who would want to pay for it deal with complications compared to a bell. If you don’t want the bobber to reatrain the bait use the smallest posssible float.

    Paul Lieb
    http://www.BulletBobber.com

  4. [...] Blind Fishing Boat » Beeping / Flashing / Rattling Fishing Bobbers? 21 Mar 2008. Until then, fishers with limited or no sight will need to rely on one of these lighted / rattling bobbers, or go float fishing with a friend Blind Fishing Boat » Beeping / Flashing / Rattling Fishing Bobbers? [...]

  5. [...] Blind Fishing Boat » Beeping / Flashing / Rattling Fishing Bobbers? 21 Mar 2008. Until then, fishers with limited or no sight will need to rely on one of these lighted / rattling bobbers, or go float fishing with a friend Blind Fishing Boat » Beeping / Flashing / Rattling Fishing Bobbers? [...]

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