Top Bank Fishing Lures


Dan Brozowski shares a few of his favorite bank fishing lures.

As someone with a great deal of experience and knowledge of bank fishing, I am frequently asked two questions. First, I receive many emails 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, from water type to obstructions to seasonal circumstances. 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, you’ll learn the baits and techniques that will make you successful on your waters.

This second question is related to bait choices. “If you lost all your baits and had to replace them, would you replace every type of bait that you currently own?”

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.

With both questions in mind, the list of baits I’ll share are some of the basics that I would be building on to cover most of my bank bassin’ situations. There is not enough time or space to list all my favorites or to get into tactics for each category, these are just some bait choice ideas to prepare someone to bring some bass to the bank. 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.

Five baits among my top favorites for bank bassin’ 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.

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.

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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.

These last two baits are among my top three favorites. I basically use them no matter what the season and water temps.

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 1/2-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!


Are you new to bank or bass fishing? You’ll find lots of helpful information in the February issue of MidWest Outdoors, available now at the newsstand or by subscribing on our website.