Everyone is who catfishes will have an opinion on the best bait for catfishing. The truth is that it depends on what type of catfish you are going after. The smaller catfish, like channel catfish are easier to bait. They will eat almost anything.
However, when you are going after the bigger catfish, like flatheads, you will need to be pickier. For these monster catches, you need to choose live bait or bait that resembles what they naturally feed on. This is the best bait for catfishing the bigger fish.
CATFISH BAIT RULE #1: THE SMELLIER THE BETTER
Catfish love stinky bait. The smell creates a signature in the water and helps the catfish to find your bait. Adding fish oil, juice from a fish, sardines or garlic powder to your bait are a few ways to make it smellier and therefore more attractive to catfish.
CATFISH BAIT RULE #2: KNOW WHAT THEY EAT
For the bigger catfish, typical food includes other small fish, invertebrates like shrimp and crawfish. They will eat frogs and anything dead in the water.
Many smaller catfish will eat bugs off the top of the water and any garbage you throw in. They really are scavengers.
CATFISH BAIT RULE #3: TEST OUT SOME FAVORITES
For bigger catfish, the best bait for catfishing is usually chicken livers, fresh mackerel or other raw fish, mussels, frogs, shrimp, crawfish or shad. You can get a lot of this at the grocery store or you can catch your bait, like minnows, frogs and crawfish. This is fresh live bait.
You can also try garden worms, night crawlers, smelly cheese, anchovies, peanut butter or marshmallows. For garden worms, you can dig some out of your garden. If you want night crawlers, just go down to the local bait shop and pick up a tub of them.
You will find your own favorite baits for the fishing pond where you go catfishing.
The best bait for catfishing can also come from homemade bait. In this process, you basically throw together a whole bunch of bait in a tub, add every smelly thing you can think of, include something that will bond the bait together so it doesn’t fall off your hook, like bread or cornflakes, and then put a top on the tub and stick it out in the sun. You will smell it when it is ready and so will your neighbors!
CATFISH BAIT RULE #4: ASK YOUR LOCAL ANGLERS
it is always a great idea to find out what other catfish enthusiasts are using for bait. The three most common things you will hear will probably be chicken livers, shad and raw fish.
A note about sunfish. Flathead catfish love sunfish. In fact they can destroy a sunfish population if put in the same body of water. This is a great tip for those of you going fishin’ for flatheads.
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