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We all have our ‘go to’ baits when fishing for catfish, but it’s a great idea to have a selection of bait in case your ‘go to’s’ are not producing the results. I have had some excellent results using garlic and herb chicken, canned dog food and apple soured bubble gum.
Fishing for catfish is an enjoyable experience as you can try and test the strangest of baits, it is literally a case of finding something edible, attaching it to the end of the hook and casting those lines in an attempt to catch some of those huge beasts. Once you find your own formula that works, you could be onto something that provides you with huge success. I’ve had the joy of speaking with local catfish anglers and found out some of their successful formulas which I will be sharing throughout this article, as well as some homemade recipes of my own that have worked wonders.
Why Are Catfish Recipes Hard To Find Online?
Firstly, it is important to understand that any finalized formula that has been a success is unlikely to be shared for free, instead they will likely be sold as a product rather than the recipe itself. It’s very similar to any other product in the entrepreneur industry, why would you give out your secrets for free when bank can be made?
In my eyes, there is in fact ZERO difference between the shop bought catfish bait products, my recipes passed down from my grandfather or bag of fries from KFC. It really depends on what the catfish near you take too and to be honest, more often than not this is something that smells good.
It is very unlikely you’ll be able to copy the exact same recipe for a product that can be purchased in store because their recipes have been finely tuned. They know exact amounts of ingredients, how long they let the ingredients sit in room temperature etc. However, this doesn’t mean your homemade recipes or one of ours is any worse off. Once you have a base recipe, you’ll be able to modify it and add/change existing ingredients until you have high success rates.
What Are The Different Types Of Homemade Catfish Baits?
Most of the homemade catfish bait recipes are 99% the same with the 1% being an added ingredient which changes the smell, taste and texture. Homemade catfish baits are often broken down into 5 different categories;
> Punch Baits
> Dip Baits
> Blood Baits
> Sponge Baits
> Dough Baits
The next part of this article will go into detail about these different catfish bait categories and provide you with some useful information on the tips and tricks of making these in your own home.
Homemade Punch Bait for Catfish
Punch bait gets its name from the way the bait is applied to the treble hook. It’s a case of having the hook in your hand and “punching” it into the bait, pulling it out with the hook covered in the bait.
To make a punch bait, the ingredients must have a gooey substance which holds the bait together. One of the vital ingredients of a punch bait is cheese. The cheese will combine the ingredients together and form a bait which enables the bait to be stuck to and around the hook.
Unfortunately, as with most things in life, the longer you leave them the better they taste… This is no different for catfish punch bait, I know local anglers who leave their punch bait for 1-2 years before fishing with it, they tried and tested different lengths of time before using the bait and they came to the conclusion that the success rates were higher when the bait was left for longer.
Homemade Dip Bait for Catfish
Dip boats for catfish are very similar to those of punch baits. The only difference being the consistency of the dip bait is much thinner than that of a punch bait. Hence why you dip instead of punch. You will not be able to dip a hook into the bait and will therefore need something to hold the dip bait on the end of the line. This tends to be a sponge, tube or some sort of rubber worm.
Cheese is a very common ingredient of dip baits. To get a thin consistency, mostar dip baits also use other ingredients such as wild boar brains, sheep brains and other animal parts that are readily available.
Similar to the punch baits, the dip baits are better stored for a minimum of one year before using them when fishing for catfish - the longer you leave them the more success you’ll likely have.
Homemade Blood Bait for Catfish
Basically it is what it says on the tin, blood bait consists of multiple ingredients, one being some sort of blood from an animal. Normally, it is chicken or beef blood that is used along with other thicker ingredients which enables the bait to say on the hook.
Typically, the process for blood bait consists of pouring the blood onto a surface (plywood is a good option), add brown sugar and then continue pouring the blood on top, adding more brown sugar and repeat the process. Leave the blood and sugar to thicken over time until it becomes a consistency similar to that of gelatin.
After, you can cut it into strips or chunks and store them, remember, the longer you leave the blood bait the better chance you have of catching the cats. Enjoy!
Homemade Sponge Bait for Catfish
The consistency of sponge bait lies between that of a dip bait and punch bait. It is not as thick as a punch bait but not as thin as the dip bait.
This type of bait is used when fishing with a “sponge” on the end of the line, this absorbs the product and begins slowly disrupting its smell to attract the cats. As previously mentioned, cheese is the main recommendation of homemade baits for catfish, sponge baits are no different.
Homemade Dough Bait for Catfish
Dough baits are slightly different to the other baits we previously discussed. They’re typically made up of wheat or flour which gives it a much thicker consistency. Dough baits are one of very few baits that can be produced and fished in a very short space of time, rather than leaving them for years on end.
Dough baits are fairly simple to make. Start with the base ingredient of wheat or flour and add oil or water along with some scented liquids or attractants.
From a personal perspective, I've never had much luck when fishing for cats with dough baits. I've always found that baits that need to be left for longer periods of time work the best, that doesn't mean to say you can’t find or produce a winning dough bait formula.
It’s always a good idea that you write down your step by step instructions as well as the ingredients used when producing any type of homemade bait, this will make it easy to refer to if you find a successful bait formula.
Top 5 Baits That Are Straight Out Of The Packaging
Sour Apple Flavored Bubble Gum
A fantastic bait for catching channel cats. Sour apple flavored bubble game has many positives as a catfish bait. Firstly, it’s not as smelly or a long-winded process to make it. It comes already packaged, simply unwrap the bubble gum and thread the hook through it. Some anglers say that any type of bubble or chewing gum actually helps the cat stay on the hook due to its “sticky” texture.
Fishing Tip: Before threading the gum on the hook, give it a chew for a few minutes before hand. This will release the flavors and scents into the water faster, it will also make threading it on to the hook a lot easier.
McDonalds Chicken Nuggets
Who doesn’t like McDonalds Chicken Nuggets? Catfish certainly do! I heard the theory of french fries working well so I thought to myself about picking some McNuggets up one day to test this theory in a different form. It worked an absolute treat. The added grease and strong scent can even attract the the laziest of channel & flathead catfish out of their holes.
Don ‘t be surprised if you attract other panfish when fishing with McNuggets, especially if you’re fishing somewhere near local fast food restaurants. The fish in this area would have had previous experiences of smelling out the grease from thrown away fast foods.
Fishing Tip: If you’re deciding to use McNuggets as a catfish bait, try and keep them as warm and fresh as possible. If the nuggets are kept warm, they’ll likely release the grease scnet into the water quicker thus attracting those cats faster. Hook the nuggets from the top and thread through to the bottom, bury the point of the hook near the end.
Shop Bought Dog Food in Gravy
Canned dog food (chunks) is best to use as bait as the hook can be threaded through the large chunks of bait. However, all dog food can be used in a positive manner, dry dog food and non-chunked dog food can be used as chum or ground bait.
Fishing Tip: Something I found that works really well is emptying a can of dog food or two in the area that you’re going to be fishing at the next day. This gives the cats plenty of time to come out of their holes and get attracted towards the strong scent. Ensure you carry on using the dog food chunks as bait the following day!
Surprisingly, the booze at the back of the cupboard that’s been sitting there for years and now probably tastes like diesel can in fact be used for something - a MARINADE! I have used all types of liquor to marinade chicken, beef, spam etc. to attract the cats. It is known that some human smells such as perfumes, deodorants and cigarettes can scare off the cats but booze actually attracts them. Marinating strong wines, beer with chicken fillet chunks and flavored jello makes a perfect bait for those huge cats!
Fishing Tip: Any alcohol products can be used as a marinade for existing baits or homemade baits. Let the bait soak in the booze overnight before hitting the lake!
Chicken Skins Dipped In Garlic or Cinnamon
I came across an angler once using plain chicken skins as bait and he had some success. Later on I found some articles online explaining that garlic and cinnamon are two very strong scents that the cats are attracted to. I decided to dip some chicken skins in cinnamon and garlic (separate skins for each spice) and I had huge huge success! Personally, this is my absolute go to when fishing for cats as it has worked every time I've hit the lake.
Fishing Tip: The longer you soak the chicken skins in the garlic or cinnamon the stronger the scent and more likely to attract the cats. Before you head out to the lake, you should warm the skins in the microwave which begins slowly releasing the chicken's oils which gives it an extra to attract those cats out their holes.
5 Proven Successful Catfish Bait Recipes
The Great Cat River Bait
> 3 beef bullion cubes
> 3oz. lunch n’ meat or spam
> 3 tbsp Garlic Powder or Onion Powder
> 5 Slices Bread
> 4 tbsp Melted Smooth Peanut Butter
> 20 Crackers
> Add the 3 beef cubes to ¼ cup of boiling water.
> Add all remaining ingredients to the water.
> Place all ingredients in a blender and mix.
> Put the mixture in a sealable container and leave in a cool, dry place. Use a ball of the mixture on a treble hook when fishing.
Chicks & Booze
> 3 cups cornmeal
> 3 cups plain flour
> 2 cups oatmeal
> 1 full can of beer - the older the date the better!
> 12 ripe minnows or small tuna - the oily the better!
> 10oz. Corn syrup
> 1 or 2 handfuls of cat food, chicken livers, shrimp - basically anything that smells bad!
> Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until it becomes a peanut butter like consistency. Add more beer or milk until this consistency arises.
> Place in a sealable container and leave for 2-3 weeks. If may begin to rot, if so, add water or spray with WD-40 and re-mix.
The Ultimate Stink Bait
> 1lb. Cheese (Hard block cheese is the best to use)
> Chopped 6-8oz. Raw pork or perch or a combination of both
> 4 Garlic Cloves, Chopped. Pinch of Garlic Salt
> 1 Can Dog Food In Gravy
> 1 dozen Minnows
> Plain Flour
> Melt the cheese in the microwave for about 1 minute.
> Slowly add the remaining ingredients to the cheese apart from the flour and mix.
> Slowly add the flour until the mixture is a dough-like consistency.
> Mix the dough-like consistency in the food processor.
> Remove the mixture and place it in a sealable container. Bait works best on a treble hook or bait tube.
Cajun Catfish Bait
> 1lb. Rotten minnows
> ½ cup water
> ½ cup parmesan cheese
> 1 box jello (Strawberry or Cherry)
> ¼ cup Molasses
> 3 tbsp onion salt
> 3 tbsp garlic salt
> 1 cup bread crumbs
> 3 tbsp soy sauce
> Plain Flour
> Place all ingredients in a blender and mix well.
> Once the ingredients are fully mixed, remove and place in a large bowl.
> Slowly add the flour until the mixture becomes a thick dough-like consistency.
> Put the mixture in a sealable container and take it with you to the next fishing trip. Break off small pieces and roll into dough balls before placing it on your hook.
Carl’s Chicken Liver Catfish Bait Recipe
> 1lb Chicken Livers (partially frozen)
> Half Box Plain Cornflakes
> ½ cup Garlic Powder or 2 cloves fresh garlic
> ⅓ cup Molasses
> ⅓ cup brown sugar
> ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
> Place all ingredients in a blender and blend well.
> If you’re planning to use the mixture straight away then place in a container and keep fresh.
> Any unused mixture should be stored in the freezer as the mixture may turn bad quickly. Ensure the mixture is fresh (unfrozen) before using in the future.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and can take something away with you that will for sure help catch those record breaking cats! Give the homemade baits a go and I'm sure you won’t be disappointed, good luck and have fun!
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