Shell Bobbers by Fishing Ammo
Russ Chastain 05.15.14
Like many other folks, I first saw the Shell Bobber on the TV show Shark Tank, where folks try to get jillionaires to invest in their companies. The two guys who dreamed up the notion of using old shotgun hulls as fishing bobbers did a good job of presenting the product, and I liked the idea. Mark Cuban did, too, becoming an investor in their company, Fishing Ammo.
Basically, two guys who like to shoot shotguns and go fishing decided to make bobbers out of old 12 gauge shotgun hulls. They deprimed the brass, inserted a spring & stem into the primer hole, crammed some light fluffy stuff into the empty plastic shell, and crimped it shut. Instant bobber!
It appears that the original concept of recycling spent shotgun shells has fallen by the wayside, because these Shell Bobbers are clearly made of brand-new hulls that were custom-printed to be used as bobbers. For me, that takes away from the authenticity – and negates any claim of the product being “green” by recycling old shotgun shells destined for the dump. Ah well.
I was able to get my hands on some Shell Bobbers and try them out on Lake Sinclair in central Georgia. Most of my fishing there is just for fun, catching bream and catfish with worms or crickets. It’s a good way to relax and enjoy hanging on the water with friends, more than filling the freezer. Good thing, too, since most of the fish I catch are rather scrawny.
I usually use spherical weighted bobbers made of styrofoam, mainly because the weight helps me cast a line that otherwise only has a baited hook and maybe a split shot. Switching to a shell bobber shrank my casting distance a little, but not significantly. If I did need more distance, I could always buy some “Rattlin’ Shell Bobbers,” which include real buckshot. That would add a rattling sound and some weight as well.
I have long appreciated the sensitivity of spring bobbers, so Shell Bobbers appealed to me for that reason – even if they hadn’t been made of scattergun shells. I fished these bobbers using an ultralight spinning rig loaded with SpiderWire Stealth line, and the results were good. My bait was light, so Shell Bobbers tended to lie fairly flat on the water’s surface. If a small fish started messing with the bait, the bobber showed it instantly; if the hook is pulled downward the bobber stands straight up, and if something small is fiddling with the bait and just taking it sideways, the bobber will react by turning on the surface.
All in all, it’s pretty much like fishing with any decent spring bobber except that it’s made from a shotgun shell. These bobbers are admittedly gimmicky, but they are also legitimate fishing tackle and work well. The stem is a good durable plastic and the spring is good, too. My depth stayed where I set it, and the shell never became waterlogged.
Shell Bobbers are made in the USA and can be purchased in three-packs or one at a time. At more than two bucks each (a standard 3-pack is $6.49 at press time, and a single bobber is $2.99), they’re anything but cheap, and getting one stuck in a tree might be heartbreaking. But if you’re as insistent on retrieving lost tackle as I am, you don’t let many bobbers get away from you anyhow. Rattle bobbers cost $7.99 per three-pack, and custom-printed Shell Bobbers are also available for a minimum investment of $87.50 (25 bobbers @ $3.50 each).
You can order them at the Fishing Ammo website.
I received both red and orange Shell Bobbers so I assumed you could order either color, but at the website, colors seem to vary and apparently “luck of the draw” will determine whether you receive red or orange.
I love the idea, I enjoy using them, and plan to make Shell Bobbers a permanent resident of my tackle box.