The success of a fisher doesn’t just rely on their skill but the tools they use as well. In other words, you need the best catfish bait as well as the skills and patience to catch a catfish.
However, there are a lot of options out there when it comes to what qualifies as catfish bait. Yet, not every option is as effective as the last.
To help you out, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about catfish bait. From what attracts catfish to which options you can trust, we’ll take a look at it all.
With this information, you’ll find the catfish bait that will have you reeling in the big ones in no time!
Top 10 Catfish Baits
1. SUKI Gizzard Catfish Bait – 1 Gallon
The SUKI Gizzard Catfish Bait is a great choice for fishermen. Each item contains a gallon of product, enough for quite a few fishing trips.
This bait performs best when used with a #6 or #8 treble hook. Hooks with sponges or springs aren’t needed, and the hook can be set as soon as you feel movement.
The SUKI bait is best for catfish up to five pounds, but you could hook one larger if you’re lucky. Channel and blue catfish are the most likely to be attracted to this bait, making it perfect for many fishermen.
Because this bait doesn’t harden, it has no known shelf life. If it gets too soft, you can just mix in fiber such as a paper towel to regain ideal consistency.
Biodegradable and made without harsh chemicals, this bait is a great choice for those hoping to minimize their environmental impact.
2. Catfish Charlie Dough Bait Variety Pack
This variety pack from Catfish Charlie includes four different types of dough bait in 14-ounce tubs. These four formulas work best in different conditions to ensure you’re never without the bait you need.
Type A, the original formula, is cheesy and clings well to the hook. Type B is similar to Type A inconsistency but has a blood flavor that is attractive to catfish.
Pole Cracker helps to attract fish by sight as it turns white once in the water. The fourth variety, Full Stringer, is a triple strength formula.
Full Stringer is made with a tracer scent that draws catfish from downstream. This is ideal for those fishing in currents so strong that other baits aren’t useful.
All four bait formulas can be used with dough bait hooks or spring hooks. With so much versatility, you’re sure to never be let down by Catfish Charlie Dough baits on the line.
3. Team Catfish Sudden Impact Fiber Bait
Each one-gallon tub of Team Catfish Sudden Impact Fiber Bait has a lot to offer. The bait is made with ingredients sure to attract any catfish swimming close.
The ingredients in the bait are mixed with long natural fibers that help to bind the bait to the hooks. Dip tubes or bare treble hooks are ideal for this bait as they are best able to grip the fibers.
Using this bait is simple and requires little time. Simply stir the mixture to desired softness and dip in your hook.
You can repeat this process until the hook is loaded and then you’re ready to fish. When the hook needs to be reloaded, just repeat this process.
Not only is this good at sticking to hooks, but it also has an odor that is irresistible to catfish. These properties come together to create a bait that is well worth the purchase.
4. CJs Crawdad Punch Bait 14oz
It’s no secret that catfish enjoy snacking on crawfish. CJs Crawdad Punch Bait makes use of this to create a bait that stands out from the competition.
This cheese-based product is made with cattail fibers to create a mixture that sticks without the need for a sponge. CJs is proud to be made with real crawfish and free of artificial flavors.
There’s no need to worry about an expiration date with this bait, as there is no known shelf life. It also does not need to be refrigerated so you won’t need to lug a cooler around with you.
Baiting your hook is as easy as punching a treble hook into the tub with a stick. Once baited, you can cast out and watch as the catfish come to you.
5. Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets
Unlike other products that come in a mostly liquid form, this bait is much easier to use. Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets come in solid form as small chunks that can be attached to hooks.
This bait can be used with J, circle, or treble hooks, so there’s no need for any new tackle. The nuggets are not sticky to the touch, making them cleaner than many competitors.
Once underwater, these nuggets dissolve and create a chum trail. This is perfect for attracting catfish all over right to your hook.
The pouch that these nuggets come in can be stored in a tackle box or boat compartment, making them space-efficient. Despite coming in a small package, each item contains enough nuggets to last many trips.
As a clean alternative to other catfish baits, the Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets are a great choice for any fisherman.
6. Fishbites 0121 Yeh Monn Freshwater Catfish Bait, Shad Worm and Flesh
Liquid baits are too smelly and messy for many fishermen. That doesn’t mean, though, that they have to miss out on the world of catfish baits.
This product is a great alternative to liquid baits as it comes in solid form. The strips are made with tough fiber so they can handle being recast multiple times.
Each bag contains two, ⅝ inch by 13-inch strips that can be cut with scissors. The strips are made to melt once they hit the water, meaning they won’t make a mess on your hands.
The strips do not contain fish oils, extract, or tissues, and are instead made with a proprietary scent technology. Fishbites strips come in either flesh color or brown, depending on the flavor.
Each version is 100% biodegradable, making for a low environmental impact.
With a minimal smell and little mess, this is a solid choice for fishermen looking for a cleaner bait alternative.
7. CJs Minnow Punch Bait 14oz
Minnows are loved by both blue and channel catfish alike. This bait is full of minnows and free of artificial flavors to keep catfish coming back over and over.
This stink bait doesn’t have to be refrigerated and has no shelf life. You can continue using it until the tub is empty, keeping you stocked for many fishing trips.
There’s no need to use your hands to bait your hook, simply dip it into the tub with a stick. This cuts down on mess and keeps your equipment cleaner.
Each 14-ounce tub has enough bait to last months while being small enough to store easily. This is an excellent choice for any fisherman looking to get more blue and channel catfish in the cooler.
8. Sonnys Catfish Bait
Sonny’s Catfish Bait sports more than thirty years of experience in catfishing. This brand is trusted by many fishermen, and for good reason.
Sonny’s is made with a cheese formula meant to entice any nearby catfish. The bait is extra sticky, so it will stick to the hook even after being recast multiple times.
This bait can be used with many hooks, including vinyl worms, sponges, or any other tackle used for dip bait. This versatility makes it perfect for fishermen who don’t want to buy new tackle for catfishing.
This bait is heavy enough that there is no need to use a sinker on your hook. This helps free up the line so you aren’t fooled by a false bite.
The screw-top lid on this jar helps to make sure that the bait is not spilled in the boat. There’s no need to worry about major spills, making it easier to keep the boat clean.
9. Suki Gizzard Catfish Bait – 1 Pint
This product has all of the features that fishermen love about the Suki Gizzard bait in the original size. The one-pint size packs those awesome qualities in a smaller, more easily stored container.
This product can be used as a punch bait with a treble hook or on a single hook. The sticky formula stays on the line for multiple casts, even after bites.
Suki Gizzard Catfish Bait is a cheese-based formula with added chicken gizzards to ensure that catfish can’t resist it. While ideal for catfish up to five pounds, you can easily catch larger fish with this bait.
With so much to love, this bait is an excellent addition to any tackle box. It’s the perfect trial size for those new to the brand, as well as committed users alike.
10. Magic 24-12 Dinner Bell Chum, 2-Pound
This semi-moist chum is a great product for fishermen of all kinds. Not only are catfish attracted to this, but baitfish and panfish are also.
Using this bait couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is dump some of the bag’s contents in the water where you will be fishing.
Once the chum is in the water, fish will start to swam the area. Not only will you see catfish, but you’ll also be able to catch minnows and other baitfish.
The chum will settle at different rates depending on water conditions. Despite this, each item contains two pounds of chum, which is enough to last for multiple trips.
Magic 24-12 Dinner Bell Chum is a great option for those who are looking for easy-to-use catfish bait.
Best Catfish Bait Buying Guide
Catfishing success is highly dependent on choosing the right kind of bait. There are countless catfish baits out there, making it difficult for fishermen to choose the right one.
To help you out, we’ve broken down a buying guide so you know what features you need to look for in catfish bait.
Considering Catfish Type
While catfish describes a type of fish, it is an overarching term. There are more than just a single type of catfish and they have different behaviors.
In other words, this means that your needs will vary depending on the type of catfish you’re trying to catch.
Channel catfish are the most common type of catfish that fishermen go after. These catfish aren’t the largest species but they are appreciated because they are a challenge to get on the boat.
These types of catfish are omnivores and scavengers. This means that they have a wide range of baits that work for them.
Channel catfish have a strong sense of smell as well. This makes aromatic baits and stinky baits such a good choice.
The largest catfish that falls into the commonly caught category is a blue catfish. These fish are well-known for their high predator drive and seem to constantly hunt and eat.
As opportunistic animals, these types of catfish are receptive to both dead and fresh bait. The best baits are their common prey like skipjacks and shads.
The next best option is to opt for other fish caught in their habitat such as carp, bluegills, and perch. Mussels and cow blood are also great choices for blue catfish as well.
Finally, the main type of catfish that most people consider are flathead catfish. These catfish almost exclusively feed on other live fish.
Because of this trait, it’s better to opt for live bait since if they move on the line. The best choices to lean towards are fish like sunfish, goldfish, crawfish, and bluegill.
If you can’t use live bait for flathead catfish, though, you aren’t completely out of luck. You can use cut bait alongside techniques such as trolling and drift fishing.
Types of Bait
Just like there are many types of catfish, there are many different types of bait as well. Each of these different baits offer different results.
Live baits are, as the name suggests, bait that’s alive. This includes options such as worms, minnows, crawfish, sunfish, and perch that are alive.
These options have multiple benefits. For example, they move, which is enticing to predators, and they have a strong scent.
Dead bait is the opposite of live bait since, as the name suggests, it’s dead. These baits are enticing because most also have a strong scent to attract catfish.
In addition, as we covered earlier, there are some catfish that are scavengers who are attracted to dead bait.
Rather than the smell that live bait has, dead bait often smells bloody or meaty. Dead bait is often cut into strips or chunks to make them easier to use.
Stink baits are special baits that are made to dissolve as they hit the water. The longer they’re in the water, the more scent is released and the more attractive it is to catfish.
This convenient design also makes it easier and more pleasant to the transport base. After all, it won’t be as messy to use as live bait or standard dead bait.
Again, catfish are plentiful species that exist in many places. As such, where you’re fishing will affect which bait works best for you.
The best choice you can make is to mimic the catfish’s regular diet. This is what they’re used to eating and it’s what they’re often attracted to.
If you aren’t sure what catfish eat in your area, do some research. It can help to pay attention to the catfish when you go out and watch their behavior.
It’s also often helpful to test out different types of bait. Many fishermen experiment with what works for them in their area to nail down their own technique.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Catfish are attracted to pungent baits including liver, crawfish, and blood. They are also attracted to items such as garlic, dog food, and cheese.
However, fishers over the years have come up with various creative solutions. Don’t hesitate to experiment and find what works well for you.
For large catfish, bait also varies. However, there are a few mainstays that fishers tend to go back to time and time again.
This includes options such as worms, shad, minnows, items from their fridge, or even soap.
Bluegill or minnows are the best bait for pond catfish. Crayfish are also mainstays in the spring diet of a catfish.
Both live and cut bait are great options when it comes to good bait for catfishing.
Catfish are versatile animals that bite at various times. However, some times are better than others to improve your chances.
You should aim to go fishing early in the morning or late at night. Catfish are most likely to bite between 3 am and 6 am.
Catfish hunt primarily relying on their sense of smell. This means that stink bait is a great choice when you’re out on the water hoping for catfish.
That being said, most experienced anglers opt for cut baits instead since they tend to perform better.
Catfish are versatile creatures that respond to many different types of baits. So, yes, garlic works to both attract catfish and keep them stimulated.
However, garlic is best used in combination with other baits to enhance their effectiveness.
Finding the right catfish bait for your next fishing trip doesn’t have to cause you a headache. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to shop around and find what you need.
We took the time to create this buying guide to provide you with everything you need to know. Now that you’ve finished reading, you are armed with all the knowledge you need to find the best catfish bait.
Use the information you’ve learned here to gather the tools you need to reel in your next big catch!
Other guides for baits & lures: