Fishing with Bread? (How To Make It Work!)


White bread is good for fishing, here is everything you need to know about how to do it.

You can catch fish with bread, the problem is keeping it on the hook. I’m not sure why anyone would want to use bread for fishing because it’s far more productive to buy a block of frozen squid or shrimp. You’ll catch far better variety of fish.

Anyway, if you insist, here is how to catch fish like bluegill, crappie, bream, catfish, and sometimes trout with bread on your hook!

Why Use Bread as Bait to Fish?

  1. It works! If you’re looking for something to catch catfish, bluegill, bream, in saltwater or freshwater using bread is one of the best ways to do it. Old timers used bread to catch fish since before your parents were born!
  2. Bread is cheap and very easy to find. You probably have some in your kitchen.

How To Prepare Bread as Bait?

Bread is delicate stuff especially in water, as you know. You’ll need to do a couple of things to prepare the bread you’re using as fishing bait so have a look at the methods below and choose one or a couple to get started.

Bread Punch (Compressed Bread)

Bread and hook for fishing using bread as bait.
Using pen cap for punching circles in compressed bread for fishing bait.

A bread punch is a tool that compresses bread and cuts it into a circle as bait for your hook.

This is good for preparing your bread, but come on, nobody needs to run out and buy bread punches to do this! What a waste of time and money. You have everything you need at home to start NOW. Here’s how.

How to Punch Bread without a Bread Punch

  • Pull the crust off a couple of pieces of white bread.
  • Put a piece of wax paper over top of them on the floor – tile, wood, concrete… something hard. Not carpet!
  • Put a big hardcover book on top of that.
  • Stand on the book, or compress it with your hands.
  • Find some caps for pens, vitamin or spice bottles, soda, or water bottles depending how big you want your punched bread bait.
  • Pull off the book and waxed paper. Use the caps to make cookie-cutter circles of punched bread that will last longer on a hook.

Are Some Breads Better than Others for Fishing?

Sure! Sticky, thick, white bread works better.

White is Bright

The whiter the bread, the better. You know how if you drop a white Sabiki rig (for catching bait) into the freshwater or saltwater in Florida, you’ll get bites immediately? Same thing.

Why does white work better?

What color is the inside of a shrimp? White. What color is the inside of a fish? White.

The color white means it is the muscle of the fish or shrimp and it is likely cleaner and better for eating than the intestines, for instance. Sure they eat them too but believe me when I say white attracts fish quickly.

Thicker is Quicker?

I don’t know, it had to rhyme, but I’m no poet. Thicker bread will last longer in the water. You know the fluffy white Italian bread you get at the bakery? It’s delicious, right? Don’t use that. It’s not thick enough.

Ideally, you’ll find some thick sourdough bread that is about 4 times thicker than regular white bread. When you compress this bread, it is much stronger on a hook and can last for much longer as you fish.

The Best Bread to Use? Make Your Own.

Making bread dough, kneading the heavy dough which is ideal for baiting fishing hooks.
Fishing with bread you make is better because you can increase the thickness of the bread and also use the dough before baking.

For the best possible bread to use for fishing, you’ll need to make your own. This is ideal because not only can you use baked bread, but you can make the dough and use that as well.

It will last longer on the hook and though it won’t be as compressed bread for some fish species, it lasts so much longer on the hook.

When you make your own bread, use more flour than the recipe. Use less yeast, or no yeast at all. Yeast makes air bubbles and pockets in the bread and that makes it weaker when you compress it.

Make a thick dough that is really sticky. This is will ensure the bread stays on your hook longer.

11 Tips to Make Bread Stay On the Hook!

  1. Use a thick bread like sourdough, or make your own thick bread.
  2. Use hooks with barbs that will hold the bread better.
  3. The smaller the hook you use, the better to run the hook through the punched bread twice, giving double the hold.
  4. Use multiple hooks on the same line. You can just add another hook to your line above the hook on the bottom that is tied there. You don’t need to tie the hook above. See the image.
  5. Use a treble hook where legal. This will really hold the bread, but fish will figure out that something looks odd with three hooks sticking out of it.
  6. Cover the hook with lots of bread almost like a chum ball.
  7. Put the bread on the hook first, then a small piece of shrimp, squid, chewing gum, or pinch of PowerBait on afterward to hold the bread on.
  8. Use a bit of wire to wrap around a squeezed bread ball to hold it together after threading it on the hook.
  9. If snagging (snatching) is allowed, you can put a compressed bread ball on a hook wrapped in wired and a treble hook dangling 3 inches below that. This can be very effective for snagging fish.
  10. Don’t cast your line out! Bread will just fly off the hook if you do so, it’s too delicate. Gently drop your breaded hook into the water and let it settle on the bottom or float on the top with a bobber (float).
  11. The smaller, the better. Especially when the water is moving, the smaller the bread bait you have the less it will catch the water and be pulled off the hook. Imagine an entire piece of bread on a hook – compressed or not – it isn’t going to stay there more than a few seconds. But a smaller pellet of bread can stay on the hook for ten minutes if the water is still.
Fishing hook in folded bread piece for fishing.
Fishing hook with bread pieces on it for fishing saltwater or freshwater.

Which Is Better – Bread on the Bottom or Floating on Top?

Fishing bread on the bottom is good for catfish and other species that look for food on the bottom. Floating the bread on the surface will attract small bream, bluegill, and other small baitfish.

One of the real problems with fishing with bread is that baitfish will slowly pick away at the bread until it’s gone. The hook is too big to snag them.

Free-lining a bread ball in a weak current is probably the best option. As the bread takes on water sometimes it will slowly sink with the weight of the hook and this natural sinking action will trigger some fish.

If your bread ball is small enough you may catch trout with it as it resembles salmon eggs.

If there are birds around that love bread, you’ll be better off fishing the bottom.

Flake, Crust, Groundbait, and Liquidized Bread

I’ve seen a few articles about these types of bread as bait and they are not recommended as you’re just wasting time. Use the tips above and you’ll catch more fish with bread that stays on the hook.

If you want to use any of these types of bread, just throw them in as chum to attract fish because they’re not going to stay on a hook at all.

Crust isn’t any good at all because all the moisture and elasticity has been taken out of it by drying out. You can’t compress it well and it will never stay on a hook.

Beware Birds that Love Bread

Cormorant catching fish in Florida shallows. These are fast diving birds that can get hooked on your bread hook easily.
Cormorants are common in Florida. They are fast, and they’ll go for just about any live or dead bait you have on the hook.

The following birds may attack your bread from the air, or underwater. Do be cautious if they are around because you don’t want to catch one on a hook and have to remove the hook.

These Florida Birds Eat Bread – Anhinga, Double-Breasted Cormorant (super common), Brown Pelican, Osprey, Terns, Black Skimmer, Northern Gannet, and Brown Booby.

Fishing with Bread – Summary

  • Fishing with bread works for some species. You’ll need to try it to see what you get. I’ve caught catfish and bream, crappy, and crabs using bread as bait. It is MUCH better to use small pieces of shrimp or squid to catch most fish.
  • Start with as thick a bread as possible, ideally make your own with thick dough with little yeast. Try dough too, it lasts longest.
  • Fish slow-moving water only. Don’t cast, drop it in slowly straight down.
  • Freeline the bread on a hook so it can go with the current. If you use sinkers to weight it down, the bread will get ripped off by the current quickly.
  • Check your hook often to see if the bread is gone (it is). Ha!
  • Be aware of bread eating birds!

Good luck, and let me know what you catch!

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About the Author

My name is Vern Lovic. I grew up in Pennsylvania fishing for trout in the streams and bass in the lakes. I’ve fished both coasts of Florida for more than a decade, but I’ve been primarily on the West Coast around St. Petersburg. I fish mostly from a Kayak and pier along with wade-fishing and shore fishing but I occasionally will go out on a boat with one of my friends.

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