(also called Straw rigs, McDonald's rig)
The bubble rig is essentially a 2-3' leader with a lure on one
end and a water filled, clear plastic oval teaser "bubble" on
the line side.
It is considered a top water system and when retrieved
quickly, the plastic bubble creates a trail of bubbles in the
water ahead of the lure as it is retrieved, giving the
appearance of a fast swimming bait.
It is used primarily in this area for Spanish Mackerel and
Bluefish, with some King Mackerel being caught on it too.
Most people either use a Gotcha lure, a short piece of
colored tubing, or a short piece of a McDonald's plastic
The plastic bubble itself consists of two parts, the oval
shaped "bubble" with a hole in the top and bottom, and a
clear tapered plastic wedge that is inserted through these
two holes. It is wedged into place to make the bubble
water tight. The center plastic wedge has a hole through
its center lengthwise which your line is run through.
To employ the bubble rig, you need a medium to heavy weight rod & reel with at least 20# monofilament or braided line. You are
going to be throwing a rig that weights several ounces. You can vary the amount of water in the plastic bubble, increasing your rig
weight and cast distance as water is added. Most people fill it about 2/3 to 3/4 full.
You normally throw it as far as you can to your target area and start a fast, steady retrieve. If there are Spanish or Bluefish in the
area, you will know it.
You can buy bubble rigs premade for around $3.00 to $4.00. The Bass Pro Shop, Walmart, Half Hitch Tackle, and the Okaloosa
Pier all have their own version.
Or, you can purchase the plastic bubbles themselves at
any of the above stores and make your own.
If you want to make your own, this is how i do it. This is not cut in stone, adjust it as you wish.
Generally speaking you want a rig that is around 3 to 4' long. Shorter down to 2' is ok, longer up to 5' is ok too but you will start
getting into control issues with the longer leaders since your weight is in the middle. Longer leaders make casting a little more
harder to control it all. And, they can be dangerous if you are casting in a crowded area. Walk out on the pier one day when they
are using them and you will see what I mean. In fact, the pier used to have a maximum length for bubble rigs.
You will need......
About 50" to 60" of 40# fluorocarbon line. Once you tie
the knots, etc, it will shorten down 6-10". A simple way
to measure is to take the line in both hands, then
stretch your arms out as wide as you can. That should
be about the right length. You can use monofilament,
the fluorocarbon seems to work better for me as it is a
Also, its nice to have some wire rigged bubble rigs on
hand at times. I use single strand brown 40# wire.
A bubble. The bubble consist of two pieces, the oval
shaped bubble and a round tapering wedge shaped
centerpiece that can be partially removed to allow you
to fill the bubble with water. The water gives the rig the
weight to throw it a good distance. The center piece
is hollow in the middle so you can run your leader line
You push on the pointed end of the center piece to
push it out of the bubble, allowing you to fill the
bubble with water through the top hole. To trap the
water inside, push on the wider end to wedge the
center piece back in the bubble.
A crimp, plastic bead and a swivel. A 60# to 80#
swivel should be ok. If you use a double crimp, you
don't have to use the bead. Otherwise, you need to
use the bead or the crimp will go into the bubble.
Your choice of lure:
You can get some straws from McDonalds and cut them
into 2 1/2" cut sections.
Or, get some colored sunglass holders from Walmart
and cut 2 1/2" sections from them. Or ....
A lure like a Gotcha or spoon
One # 2 or # 4 extra strong, treble hook
Tie the hook or lure to one end of the line using your
knot of choice. I use an uni. Others are just as good
Slip the straw over the other end of the line and down
over the hook.
Put a crimp about 16" down from the other end of the
leader. This will prevent the bubble from going down
on the hook when you cast it and retrieve it. Slide a
plastic bead over the line next to the crimp.
Thread the line through the bubble centerpiece. The
wider end of the centerpiece goes toward the hook
(bottom) and the smaller end is toward your main line
(top). This allows the weight of the bubble to push
against the crimp during your retrieve to hold the
center piece tight in the bubble to maintain a good seal.
Tie your swivel to the other end of the leader using
your knot of choice again. You want to leave about
8" to 10" line between the swivel and the crimp to
allow room for you to open the bubble and fill it with
And you are done. I normally store mine in the quart
size baggies. Using a sharpie, mark the baggie with
the date and line type/strength.
To fill the bubble, simply push the center piece down
out of the bubble,
Put it in a pan of water or under a hose and fill to the
Push the center piece back into the bubble, wedging it
That's it! You now have a bubble rig ready to be tied to your mainline. Let's go fishing......
A few notes ....
Make your leaders a little longer to start with, then, when your straw gets torn up by the fish, or line nicked, you can cut the leader
at the hook, put a new straw or other lure on, and tie the hook back on. Once you get down to about 24", its time to get a new
If you don't have any crimps, you can tie on swivels instead or use the small freshwater lead clamp-on sinkers.
Put some BBs in the bubble and you will get a rattle effect also.
A PRE RIGGED BUBBLE RIG
SOLD AT THE OKALOOSA
ISLAND PIER SHOP
BASS PRO SHOP
OKALOOSA ISLAND PIER
SHOP BUBBLE RIG WITH
How to make your own Bubble Rig
How to put water in the bubble