Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and learn a new baiting technique

Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits
Your Guide for the Best Catfish Baits

If you’re an avid angler, you know that catfish aren’t picky when it comes to bait. They’ll eat nearly anything, from live bait like worms to dead bait like chicken liver. However, if you want to bring your fishing game to the next level, you should consider different baits for different conditions. We’ve compiled a list of our most popular catfishing baits and techniques so you can catch more cats this season! Check them out, test different strategies and see what works for you. Happy catfishing, folks!


Jug Fishing Tips for Catfish

jug fishing tips catfish
Jug fishing is a fun, inexpensive way to catch catfish. All you need are some empty plastic jugs, hooks, line and bait to get started. (Keith Sutton photo)

It seems like a strange way to fish – chasing an empty milk jug across a river. When you want a mess of catfish for dinner, however, jug fishing is one of the most fun ways to make it happen.

On this day, my fishing buddy paddles hurriedly, trying to pull our johnboat alongside a jug that has become animated and is speeding away. The catfish pulling the jug wants no part of this. The jug sounds and then reappears 20 feet away.


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12 Great Catfish Baits

catfish baits cut shad
Shad is a prevalent natural bait that should be cut into chunks or strips with the size of the bait dependent on the largeness of the cat being targeted.

Catching any kind of fish begins with putting baits where the fish are – that includes catfish baits.

That simple fact acknowledged, an angler’s offerings also must appeal to the fish. For many species of game fish, lure sizes, shapes, movements and colors, and types of presentations all figure prominently into the equation of making an offering appealing.

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Dynamite Baits for Flathead Catfish

keith sutton dynamite baits flathead catfish
Live fish is among the most popular baiting techniques for flathead catfish, but it isn't your only option. (Keith Sutton photo)

Whiskerfish fans use an astounding variety of baits to entice big flathead catfish. Consider, for example, this classic story related by Hart Stilwell in his 1946 book, Hunting and Fishing in Texas.

“I believe the fuzziest idea I ever saw put into practice in the taking of catfish,” Stilwell wrote, “was revealed to me way out on the West Pecos River where a friend of mine … showed me how to catch big old flathead yellows with freshly killed (or freshly dead) baby chicks. His trouble was in getting the baby chicks, since his wife had strong moral and economic objections. She watched her baby chicks about as closely as the mother hen did, and I honestly believe she had taught that hen to set up a racket the instant Bill eased into the henhouse with the idea of sneaking out a baby chick.


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5 Ways to Catch Catfish on Lures

5 ways to catch catfish on lures
In clear water, like the mountain streams many catfish inhabit, lures of all types can be used to entice catfish and increase strikes on lures.

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths.

Live baits work great, including minnows, worms, frogs, shad, chubs and even grasshoppers and cicadas. Dead and smelly baits are well-known for attracting hungry cats, including things such as fish guts, shrimp, chicken liver, mussels and stinkbait.

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All About Cutbait for Catfish

catfish cutbait hook underwater in fisherman
Since catfish will eat just about anything, anglers often debate which baits are most effective for catching these whiskerfish. (Photo courtesy of In-Fisherman.com)

Fly fishermen and bass anglers talk at length about the subtle differences between the flies and lures they carry. They talk too about the cunning instincts exhibited by their respective quarries – how a big brown trout will stubbornly refuse anything but a precise match of mayflies drifting on the surface of a small stream, or how a lunker largemouth might insist on a half-ounce single-spin spinnerbait slow-rolled along the bottom of a weed flat. Picky as these anglers are, most of them wouldn’t last long in a bait debate with a typical catman.

Read the rest of “All About Cutbait for Catfish” at In-Fisherman.com.


10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn’t Know About

secret catfish bait spoiled shrimp
Spoiled shrimp is a delightful choice in the underwater buffet.

Fly fishermen and bass anglers talk at length about the subtle differences between the flies and lures they carry. They talk too about the cunning instincts exhibited by their respective quarries – how a big brown trout will stubbornly refuse anything but a precise match of mayflies drifting on the surface of a small stream, or how a lunker largemouth might insist on a half-ounce single-spin spinnerbait slow-rolled along the bottom of a weed flat. Picky as these anglers are, most of them wouldn’t last long in a bait debate with a typical catman.

Read the rest of “10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn’t Know About


The Best Catfish Rigs for the Right Situations

three way break away rig in fisherman
Three-way break away rigs are those rigs that are so versatile they should at least be considered in most situations for all catfish species. (Photo courtesy of In-Fisherman.com)

Catfish are simple creatures. Catching them is simply a matter of putting a good bait in the right place at the right time, using the simplest rig that can deliver and hold your bait in a location where active cats can find it. The least number of components in the rig means fewer components to fail and knots to break, and less weight to interfere with a natural presentation. Simple catfish rigs also are easier to construct on the water when rigs are lost to snags or abraded leaders need replacing. And sparsely tied rigs cast farther and tangle less often than more complex rigs designed to accomplish the same task.

Read the rest of “The Best Catfish Rigs for the Right Situations” at In-Fisherman.com.

How to Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

how to make your own catfish dough bait
If you’re a hardcore catfisherman, you should try making your own catfish baits at home. (Zach Sutton photo)

When it comes to fishing baits, you won’t find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. You can buy many of these “stinkbaits” at your local tackle shop or discount store, and they work great for catching the eating-size whiskerfish most of us want to catch.

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Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes that Work

homemade catfish bait recipes that work
Here’s a great catfish bait you can keep secret from your friends that requires no mixing, stirring or gagging.

Why let the bait manufacturers have all the fun concocting surefire stinkbaits for whiskerfish? Our resident catfish expert has five recipes that you can make right at home that are guaranteed to bring the stank to any eatin’-sized cat.

Read the rest of “Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes that Work


All Time Secret Catfish Baits

all time secret catfish baits
Anglers often confuse scent with taste when catfish do not particularly use scent for feeding. (Photo courtesy of In-Fisherman.com)

Much mystery surrounds the sport of catfishing, particularly as it pertains to alleged “secret baits.” The truth is catfish have been guilty of gobbling up some pretty oddball stuff. Ironically, it doesn’t get much more bizarre than dipbait – a gooey, aromatically offensive paste that gloms onto hooks like mud on a hog. And yet, this is considered a mainstream catfish bait – has been for years. Interestingly, although anglers (and all humans) often confuse olfaction (scent) with taste, the reality is that catfish don’t particularly use scent for feeding. Rather, they mainly rely on barbels and taste buds throughout their bodies to sample flavors of critters and objects in the water. Moreover, things that smell intensely to us may not exhibit the same aromas to fish underwater.

Read the rest of “All Time Secret Catfish Baits” at In-Fisherman.com.

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