Top 10 Bank Fishing Lures


Welcome to another topic that was spawned by a couple of questions sent via emails. The first one is a reoccurring question both from emails sent to me and questions at shows and time spent loitering in the tackle aisles. The second kind of fits in to the topic at hand.


Just getting started


The first question goes something like this, “I’m getting into more serious bass fishing from the bank, what are the best baits to get started with?” Okay, first I have to prepare my disclaimer!


It’s a very difficult question to answer. Many variables apply to any type of fishing. So many details to consider: water type, moving or still, water depth, clarity, obstructions, weed and cover options, food availability, seasonal circumstances… you get the idea. It’s virtually impossible to respond to this question as a general answer that fits the needs of every bass angler, but I will attempt to give you enough ideas to get you headed in a positive direction and hopefully hooked on pursuing bass from the bank. Over time and repeated excursions while chasing bass from the bank, you’ll learn the baits and techniques that will make you successful on your waters.


If the worst should happen…


This second question ties into bait choices. I was asked this one while enjoying a stroll down a tackle aisle. “If I (meaning me) lost all my baits somehow and had to replace them, would I replace every type of bait that I currently own?” The question seemed to have had a bit of a dark twist to it, mainly, how would such a loss a happen? After this friendly angler cast out about three disturbing scenarios of how I might indeed become “bait less”, I kindly interrupted his ongoing possibilities of bait demise with a simple, No, I would not replace every type and model bait that I owned. I should have just answered the first part of his question, my bad!


In all honesty, I have a large amount of tackle and baits. If I did have to replace them and start all over, my collection would be considerably smaller. Time and experience has proven some baits to be essential to my pursuit of bass from the bank. Others, though tried, just did not achieve the successful results on various occasions that I had hoped. They became somewhat retired or put away for another time, which probably will never come. We all got ‘em. That plastic tub of baits that we won’t get rid of, but which will never grace the compartments of our tackle boxes.


With both questions in mind, the list of baits I’m prepared to share are somewhat of a basic list that I myself would be building on to cover most of my bank bassin’ situations. Just going to stick with 10 baits to get things started. There is not enough time or space to get into tactics for each category, just some bait choice ideas to prepare someone to bring some bass to the bank. Also, except for the last couple of baits, these are in no particular order of importance. Each bait has its own circumstance when and where it will often out-produce other bait choices.


My top 10 favorite baits include:


Floating Minnow Baits


Probably the most well-known baits over many years, the Rapala Floating Minnow probably resides in just about every tackle box whether on the bank or in a boat. There are other manufacturers out there, but my first choice is the Rapala F-11 size and we’ll talk a little about color in a moment.


Rattle baits/lipless crankbaits


Just about all hard-bait companies have a rattle or lipless crankbait. Sounds vary from one manufacturer to another, so trial and error of the best sound and vibration for your particular water will come into play. Louder baits are not always the best option, as some manufacturers may suggest.


Topwater/prop baits


By far, one of my favorite baits to throw depending on the season. Most of my fishing outings will find a Whopper Plopper tied on one rod ready for use. This is a great searchbait for active shoreline bass, an asset for the bank basser.




Many versions of this bait, with each brand of popper having an exclusive sound and water disruption due to the varying degrees of the angle of the popping mouth and amount of concave depth provided by various manufacturers. As opposed to topwater prop baits, popping topwaters allow for you to pause over fish-holding cover and structure.




Kind of in the same category as the ever-popular spinnerbait. In most situations where I would possibly throw a spinnerbait, I prefer to use a Chatterbait in its place. Just a personal preference here, I favor the vibration and trailer options for the Chatterbait.


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Soft-plastic swimbait


This is another go-to bait. It’s always with me throughout the season, even in cold water. This type of bait is quite popular and certainly no shortage of bait options. Though some baits vary in design, these paddle-tail baits are very similar in swimming design. You can choose from attaching just the bodied swimbait to a hook or jighead or choose the molded swimbaits. Both create some great catches, though I like the loose bodies to attach to various types of hook setups.


Frogs and toads


These can be a great choice for the bank basser working in close weedlines and open pockets in weeds near the bank. Bass are waiting for frogs to jump in the water from the bank. These baits put you right in front of the bass’ dinner table. These frogs are weedless, another plus for the bank angler.


These last three are really my favorites. I basically use them no matter what the season and water temps.


Creature baits


This choice covers a lot of different plastic-body designs, but basically a large chunk of plastic. Whether it resembles a crawfish or some other type of big bottom dweller, these baits attract big fish. I fish these baits on heavy jigheads, normally heavy pitchin’ or flippin’ style jigs.


Squarebill crankbait


Running from just under the surface to mid-depth ranges, these can be a workhorse for the bank angler trying to find active fish. These search baits are more suitable for the bank angler as opposed to deep divers that will tangle with weeds found near shore where the bank basser calls home. I prefer the midrange cranks, not too small, not to large. Manufacturer sizes vary, but baits in that 3/8 to ½-ounce range and under 3 inches in length are my choice most of the time. If you are familiar with the Strike King Squarebills, these would be that 1.5 series crank.


Senko type bait and finesse worm


Yes, I know that’s two baits, but I use these baits together for the entire season. They both have a finesse approach and I always work them side-by-side. I’ll hit on this technique some time later in the season, but these go with me any time I head out bass fishing from ice out to first ice, no matter the water temps.


Trust me, there are so many other baits out there, I get it, but the bank angler has to use the baits that allow them to work the lure to its full potential in their swim. For example, deep-diving crankbaits are awesome tools for searching deep-water bass, but a bait hitting depths of 16 to 20 feet in most areas will foul for the bank basser and waste valuable time trying to dislodge hung-up baits. It’s not worth the hassle.


Colors that click


Another quick idea concerning color options. Color choices in general can be overwhelming. They don’t need to be. For most of your hardbaits, throw natural color patterns. I know crankbaits have about 60 different hues and patterns. Go with a natural shad/silver, bluegill/ multi-colored greens and blues and yellows. Just don’t overcomplicate your color choices or feel the need to have every color pattern. As for soft plastics: swimbaits, once again, match the forage in your water to your swimbait color. Senkos and finesse worms: black or dark green will always produce.


Now, I know a few armchair bassers have their favorite go-to baits that I have left out. I understand. I’ll be happy to take the emails or answer my critics in the tackle aisles. My hope is that these choices might help a beginning basser acquire some basic direction to select some new baits to begin enjoying a lifelong pursuit of chasing bass from the bank!




Passion for angling drives Dan Brozowski to the water’s edge virtually any chance he gets.  Although passion cannot be measured, weighed, or recorded, it can be shared. He does this through his writing and while on the water.