I have several collections going from material I have found washed up at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. Among them is this collection of fishing bobbers or floats. I like fishing paraphenalia and also have an artificial lure collection going as well. The floats are stored in a polystyrene box that once was used to ship medical supplies.
Here’s the box’s contents laid out on my backyard concrete pad. I try to save one example of each type and size that I find. This is a good representation of bobbers used for fishing in the Ohio River. Other than being tools with a serious purpose, I like the fact that these are also objects that mediate between two different worlds…one of air and the other of water. Their function is to alert the fisherman that a fish is interested in the bait. There is a moment of tension as the bobber slips below the surface of the water and pops back up as the fish “nibbles” the bait. Complete submersion is a good signal to pull the fishing pole up and set the hook. My collection has several popular styles of bobbers, clip-ons, stick, and peg types in a variety of eye-catching colors. I like the ones that have been modified for night fishing with the taped on addition of a glow stick. I have found a few novelty fishing floats as well…the SpongeBob float might work, but I’m not sure about the Power Ranger one!
Here’s a detail showing some of the variety. I’m sure several of these originated on small streams and creeks that are a part of the Ohio River watershed. Each one represents a lost opportunity for the fisherman. What I don’t keep for this collection gets used to make my art. I like using these floats for eyes in my figurative sculptures.
Last image includes a trio of smiley face floats in the three different sizes that I have found so far. I suspect that there is also a large version out there waiting to be picked up.