Can You Fish With Dead Shiners?

Having a dead bait will always be your last resort when fishing, and many anglers will admit that they typically prefer a live bait.

It is because it produces better fishing results compared to artificial and dead lures. For this reason, having dead baits like dead shiners weren’t popular, but it sure gets the job done.

Can you fish with dead shiners? Yes. While many fish prefer live bait, you can still get a bite from fishing with dead shiners. All you have to do is to make sure that you rig them properly to make sure that they are looking alive.

In this short read, you will understand more about fishing with dead bait and why this is important to know before going in for your fishing journey.

Fishing With Dead Bait

One of the most misunderstood concepts regarding fishing is the belief that many fish will ignore dead bait.

Believe it or not, many fish like bass and walleye will certainly eat a dead bait, especially if it is both fresh and presented in a way that it looks alive.

Many salted minnows, dead shiners, and leeches are very effective ways to capture fishes like walleye and bass.

Most fish indeed prefer to live bait. Many fishermen rig live minnows, perch, suckers, shiners, and leeches because they are very effective. But like many predators, they will eat injured and dying prey.

By presenting dead bait with limited action, you can trigger this kind of response to them.

The key to successful fishing with dead bait is to make sure that they look injured and dying. It will be ignored by most predators if you have a lifeless shiner, but some fishes prefer dead bait like the Catfish.

Bass and walleye prefer action, and it derives a predatory response to them seeing a fleeing fish.

How To Make It Appealing

If you need to use a dead bait out of necessity or because of fishing regulations, there are plenty of ways you can rig them to get you more bites.

The key to making it appealing to many fish predators is to fish slower and hook the bait in ways that promote natural-appearing movement.

As an angler, you need to make the dead appear as alive as possible and think of a dead bait as you would a lure. You are trying to trick them into believing it is about to eat this natural living prey.

Hooking dead baits through the lip for jiggling or trolling will make the fish move forward naturally. Trolling will pose a disadvantage as the fish will spin in loops as it cuts through the water.

To fix this, you can reduce trolling speed or rigging a second hook along the back of the bait. A good way to make a dead fish behave like an injured baitfish is to hook it through the mouth and jig it off the bottom.


Overall, it is important to know that you should not be wasting any dead baits that you have. There are plenty of ways to use these dead baits so you won’t have to throw them away.

It is more of a practice as it can get tricky when you are trying to lure your trophy fish. Try to practice it now and then and it will give you a bite at the end of the day.