Fishing floats have been around for a very long time, and for the most part, they stick to a tried-and-true formula that developers are loathe to break with. Designer Paul Lieb however, had no such compunctions. According to the Toledo Blade, Lieb had previously worked with naval nuclear reactors and environmental control technologies for power plants, so he found himself curiously going low-tech in his next project.

Odds are that you probably heard of the BulletBobber, the result of Lieb combining his talent for design and passion of fishing. In 2002, Lieb pushed his drafting tools and computers aside and started with the bare basics: an egg-shaped foam bobber. Using a drill and whatever scraps of material was at hand, the designer crafted his first steerable bobber with two keels and wings to keep it stable. The very next day he tested his invention with his son while fishing at a local reservoir.

“I tossed it out and then gave it a tug, and it just flipped over and started going the other way,” Lieb said. “I got a rush. I’d been fishing all my life and couldn’t believe I just came up with an improvement on the bobber. I flipped it over and it worked 10 times in a row. I had no idea that was going to happen.”

The creation was ingenious in its simplicity. After bringing it home and making a few additional adjustments, Lieb finalized what was to become the BulletBobber. You can see it in action below.

Unfortunately, Lieb had trouble finding a major manufacturer to pick up the device. He had brought the device down to a major fishing show in Las Vegas, but came back dejected.

“I found out the hard way that the major tackle manufacturers don’t want outside ideas,” Lieb said. “This went from a serious business venture to now just a supplement to my retirement.”

Still, hope is not lost. At least not anywhere with an internet connection. While the BulletBobber got no bites from the big fish, Lieb is noticing traction online, selling the product straight from his website to all 50 states and 17 countries overseas. He still has high hopes for the BulletBobber, and believes it will one day take an essential space in tackle boxes across the country.

Image screenshot of video by Bulbob on YouTube

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