The Best Catfish Baits


There are plenty of good catfish baits, but certain products outshone all others in terms of performance.

Gizzard shad is a highly effective bait in rivers from the East Coast to Great Lakes and throughout the South to Arizona, and can even work effectively frozen. Their scent-retaining capabilities also allow them to retain their lure for longer.

1. Nightcrawlers

Anglers utilizing catfish bait frequently opt for worms as an affordable and widely accessible choice – particularly at local bait and tackle shops. Worms also make a great bait choice in moving water, such as rivers.

Chicken liver bait is another favorite among catfish anglers as it’s economical, easily accessible, and provides ample scent in the water. Furthermore, it can be used in various forms, like stuffing a minnow into plastic tubes or threading it onto hooks – something chicken liver lacks!

European nightcrawlers are an excellent option for catfish because of their quick reproduction rate and fragrant water scent. You can purchase or grow these worms yourself; all it requires is some soil, containers, food such as organic plant material or leaves, plus food waste from yard debris collection services to feed the nightcrawlers – Plus, they help improve soil quality by decomposing dead material!

But stink bait may be one of the best choices for river catfishing since river catfish rely heavily on scent to find food sources. Furthermore, stink bait’s long scent trail attracts catfish even further away than usual. It works particularly well when conditions demand movement, such as flowing rivers or cloudy conditions in the water. Unfortunately, it is a practical choice when used responsibly, but sometimes stinky to handle.

2. Stinkbaits

Stinkbaits are one of the most widely used options for catfish bait. There are various stinkbait varieties, conveniently sticky and capable of being formed into balls. They can even be made at home using multiple recipes available online or from tackle shops.

Catfish baits that employ strong scents that attract catfish can be very effective under certain and species-specific circumstances, particularly channel and bullhead cats, but less so for flatheads or blues.

The best stink baits include clam juice, chicken livers, fish meal, and garlic powder. These baits can be combined into punch-style temptations or used alone; sometimes, mixed with blood or cheese, they can make the tricks more attractive to certain species of catfish.

Additionally, many anglers utilize old sausage or hot dogs in their stink baits as an easy and cost-effective way of adding scents that attract catfish. A bar of soap may also be cut into pieces for baiting material.

Triple S and J Pigg’s are two commercial catfish stink baits available on the market, produced by Hootman Brothers Manufacturing of Iowa and similar to Sonnys stink bait in terms of effectiveness for certain catfish species and conditions. Although not the cheapest choice, Triple S remains one of the top options; however, it requires special dip tubes that hold it steady while fishing for this bait.

3. Sunfish

Sunfish are among the most ubiquitous fish in Ohio waters, found across freshwater lakes, streams, and rivers and used as bait by catfish. Sunfish belong to the same family as bass and crappie and can typically be found from October in areas with brushy growth, wooded areas, or rocks; ambush predators, they can be caught using spinners, minnows, plastic grubs or even worms as bait.

Targeting sunfish can yield many different species. Experienced anglers often employ multiple baits at once and switch up when none seem to attract any strikes – this practice can help develop your fishing abilities quickly!

Sunfish is another excellent source of protein and can be enjoyed in several ways – be it fried, grilled, or baked. Their mild flavor pairs well with various sauces and seasonings and makes a nutritious alternative for those trying to reduce meat consumption.

Ocean sunfish are voracious jellyfish predators, feeding in large quantities on zooplankton and algae. With their awkward swimming style characterized by waggling large dorsal and anal fins and steering with the clavus, ocean sunfish often attract cleaner fish or seagulls looking to remove skin parasites that mimic jellyfish appearance, becoming easy targets of cleaner fish or seagulls as marks to clean themselves of parasites that resemble jellyfish resemblance; additionally, they frequently get caught in drift gill nets; therefore it is crucial that monitor ocean sunfish populations closely, understanding how they fit into the natural marine ecosystem and our planet as whole. These fascinating creatures are critical in global marine ecology, which should not be neglected!

4. Cut Carp

Cut carp baits have proven remarkably successful at luring in catfish. These bottom-dwellers possess an acute sense of smell, allowing them to detect food hundreds of yards away – this enables anglers to use cut carp as bait for both channel cats and blues.

Fresh gizzard shad may work in fast-moving waters, but nothing beats the scent of cut carp for lure-scent fishing in many regions. Cut carp is plentiful and can easily be caught using various rigs and dip baiting works, while other anglers opt for slip bobber or the Secret Catfish Rig to catch these fish.

Cut carp bait offers numerous advantages: it is easily obtained and stored, affordable, versatile, and can even be customized by adding garlic or country crock butter for enhanced catfish attraction. It makes an adequate stand-in or can be mixed with other ingredients to produce unique scents; some anglers even bleed their bait before placing it in the freezer before adding scent-enhancing elements such as rosemary to increase attraction to catfish.

Anglers can also utilize the head of a cut carp as additional hook bait. This is usually accomplished using a serrated knife to carefully peel away skin and scales before cutting the fish into strips or chunks for bait. Combined with chicken liver pieces, this bait provides catfish with an alluring meal.

Not all baits work equally well when targeting catfish. Highly pungent artificial lures are practical options, often come in soft plastics or jerk bait styles, and can generate strong scents that attract cats. Furthermore, these baits are economical and user-friendly, making them popular choices among anglers targeting large schools of catfish.

5. Shrimp

Many hard-core catfish anglers rely on homemade bait recipes that work like magic to capture fish. Typically, these recipes involve mixing various ingredients that create an appealing aroma for catfish to detect. Shrimp is one of the best ingredients to use when creating homemade catfish bait as its strong scent draws them in from miles away – making it an excellent choice for use as bait in large lakes and rivers.

As a general guideline, shrimp can be used as bait with any hook – circle, and worm hooks alike -but for optimal results, it should be combined with scent-enhancing bait or scent boosters to enhance their scent profile. Furthermore, using weights will keep the bait from sinking to the bottom, help spread its scent throughout your area, and increase the chances of fish capture.

Channel catfish possess susceptible membranes in their nostrils that enable them to detect various scents. While trout may only have 18 membranes, channel catfish have up to 140. Therefore, shrimp, chicken livers, and other high-protein foods make ideal baits for drawing out these voracious predators.

Cheese is another effective grocery store bait to catch catfish from the shoreline, with two practical approaches: cut small cheese cubes into cubes and thread them onto your hook, or combine it with other baits and scents. Cheese also makes an ideal option in hot temperatures as it repels mosquitoes and other biting insects.