Best Bank Fishing Bait to Catch More Fish

As we sit on the bank of our favorite fishing hole, is luck on your side? If your catching them then that’s fantastic!

What if were not catching fish….are we even using the right bank fishing bait?

In this article we will go over the best bank fishing baits for trout. These baits have proven to work for me over the years and I know they will work wherever you are fishing too.

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Best Bait for Shore Fishing

When it comes to bait most fisherman assume they are limited to soft dough baits and worms. Well this simply is not true. Although these two options did make the list, they are not the only two baits that are available.

Are you ready for some bank fishing baits that really knock the trout dead? well without further delay lets get into it.

1. Night Crawlers and Earthworms

Night crawlers and earthworms have been the most tried and true method of bank fishing trout more than any other. You can but these at most sporting good stores for relativity little money.

top bank fishing baits pinterest graphic

Want a little tip though? Most people just pierce the worms onto a hook and fling em out there. Well that very well could be all it takes. More times that not however we need to a few flair points to the worm in order to make it more visible.

You may want to read 11 Proven Tactics to Catch More Trout. In that article I talk a little more about the tactics behind bank fishing and some creative worm ideas.

2. Meal Worms

Meal worms work great for trout. They offer a different meal that what every other fisherman is presenting to the fish. Meal worms can be bought at some of the sporting good stores but they can also be bought at pet shops as well as online.

500 live meal worms

Since meal worms serve as a source of food for reptiles also, they are easily available online. Not only do trout love these but so do many other species of fish such as blue gill and perch.

Try floating the meal worms under a bobber or float from the bank. This will yield the best chances of catching a fish.

If you are not sure how to set up a bobber or fishing float you can learn to use those here.

3. Minnows and Live Fry

Fishing with minnows can be some of the funnest ways to fish from the bank. Almost every fish in a body of water has no choice but to eat other fish. So naturally using minnows and fish fry are going to bring a lot of success.

live minnows for fish bait

In this day in age you can buy live minnows online of coarse. However I would not recommend that method actually. You see the small fish are very sensitive to temperatures and movement. To little or to much of either will result in a bucket full of dead fish before they ever get to you.

Instead pick yourself up a little bucket aerator for around $20 online. They run off of a 9 volt battery and they are well worth the investment.

minnow bucket

You can fish minnows under a bobber or bounce them along the bottom. Either way you decide to fish them is a good idea. The only bad idea would be to not try them at all.

4. Dough Baits from Shore

Dough baits are a staple when it comes to bank fishing bait. A close second in popularity to worms, dough baits can be deadly and effective. There really isnt too much when it comes to these baits. For the most part we need to choose a color and choose a hook type.

When it comes to dough and soft baits like this Powerbait really lead the way. Mostly because it is made by Berkley and the brand is recognizable. It works and that great but, the purpose of this article is to maybe give you something a little bit different so that you can try an gain an edge while on the water.

Pautzke soft dough baits are very different than the Berkley product. It offers a stickier bait that tends to stick onto the hooks better. It also has a more potent smell than the Powerbait option.

The colors are similar and they have options with glitter or no glitter.

The trick with any dough bait is getting it where the fish are. Not always are the fish out there as far as you cam cast. Get yourself a good treble hook and play with distances on your cast. You may be surprised how close the fish can actually be.

Find a good dough bait hook. These will typically have some sort of bait keeper on the shank of the hook. See the image to the right as an example. the thick dough baits will get gooey after a while in the water. These spirals will help hold the bait in place so that you are not having to reapply all the time.

5. Salmon Eggs and Egg Baits

Fish eggs are yet another great way to set yourself apart from every other bank fisherman out there. These small eggs can actually produce some large fish.

There are a few popular brands on the market but I am going to land on Pautzke’s Fire Balls on this one. This is Pautzke’s flagship product in my opinion. They have a good texture to them and the small seems to be more realistic than the rest.

pautzke's fireballs fishing eggs

Again these eggs can be fished either under a bobber or off the bottom. My favorite way to fish these though is weightless. I like to use a hook only with just a few eggs on it. I will usually fish this setup on light line and tackle so that I can cast out a good 20 feet or so.

6. Gulp Live Leaches

Leaches are a great alternative to the common worms and dough baits. If you don’t have leaches in the waterways near you that’s okay, trout love them anyways. Make sure to check with whatever wildlife department has jurisdiction in your area.

gulp alive fishing leaches

Gulp leaches are not real, but in the event you get some real leaches we do not want to introduce them to waters where they are not wanted. That’s why these are such a great alternative, they claim to out fish live leaches. I’m not sure that this is true but they do catch fish.

Other Tips for Fishing Success

As we start to wrap up this article on bank fishing bait I have a few more tips for you. One thing I have found over my years of fishing is that natural and subtle are the way to go. Try these three tips to increase your chances.

Proper Fishing Float or Bobber

Throughout this article I have mentioned bobber and float fishing multiple times. This is because bobbers are extremely effective. You can fish you baits anywhere from the surface to the bottom when using them.

best bank fishing bait pinterest graphic

When needing to get the baits deeper try using slip bobbers. These allow you to get down to those deeper depths.

If you plan to fish near the surface with your floats, then try using a clear bobber. This adds just a little more subtlety when casting and waiting. It sure is a little harder to see while it is out there, but well worth it.

Natural Bait Selection

Another tip I can give you is to forage for natural baits that live in the ecosystem of your fish. These are the foods that the fish are used to seeing around them. I always try and use the most natural bait that I can find, nothing is more natural than bait you find in the same habitat.

Lift up some rocks in the water and see if you can find any crawdads, worms, or helgamites. All of these make for a nice tasty treat.

Night Crawler Fishing Tips

If you do choose to fish like the masses and use night crawlers, then at least spice them up a little bit. Use a worm blower to put air in the worms. This keeps your worms floating off the bottom increasing visibility.

worm blower

If you choose to use a worm blower then you will also need to use a worm threader. Threading your worms onto the hook will do two things to help you. It will limit the amount of holes the worm has so that it can hold air form the worm blower and it will give a larger more lifelike presentation.

worm threader


We started off this article trying to find some good bank fishing bait alternatives in hopes of catching more fish. Hopefully some of these option will work for you and lead to many more fish on your next excursion.

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If you have a favorite bank fishing bait to catch more fish please feel free to share it below in the comments. I love getting feedback form my readers.