A fascinating thing about catfish is that they contain over 250,000 tastes buds on their body. That allows them to sample the water and pick up a trace compound in 10 billion parts of water, so you would think that fishermen would have no trouble snagging them left and right. Unfortunately, these fish are also stubborn, so fishermen often have to try out different baits before they find the right one.
Anyone wanting to catch these magnificent bottom dwellers is going to want to put together a strategy and buy the best bait possible. To help fellow fisherman with that endeavor, we’ve done research and have come up with the ten best catfish baits currently available. Any one of the following baits is sure to not only catch the attention of these fish but also compel them to bite, thereby increasing the number of catfish you catch in a day.
Best Catfish Baits – Reviews
10Berkley Pack Powerbait Power Honey Worm
Even though this product is designed for panfish species, and does an incredible job of attracting those fish, it’s also a great bait for attracting other fish species. What we found to be surprising about this product, however, was that it was a really good bait to use for attracting catfish as well. Its yellow color seems to catch the attention of catfish, and it does it without the powerfully noxious smell that most of the best catfish baits tend to produce. That makes it a great choice for any fishermen and can be used for everything from cane fishing to bobber fishing or even jug lines.
9Berkley Gulp! Maggot Bait
These artificial maggots are not only designed to replicated the fish catching ability of live bait but is designed to surpass live bait’s performance. That’s because it’s packed with hundreds of scent attractants that make it a better catfish attractant than plastic baits and it has a lifelike appearance that looks like real maggots. It can be used for a variety of fishing methods and will produce incredible results every time it’s used. In studies performed by the company, this bait was able to pull in twice as many catfish as live baits were capable of doing.
8Berkley Gulp! 4-Inch Earthworms
Anyone who has used earthworms to catch catfish knows that they can be pretty effective, but these fake earthworms can do an even better job. These artificial earthworms are formulated with a special scent formula that makes them pretty attractive to catfish, although they do tend to stink quite a bit. They can be used for a variety of fishing methods, and can not only be used to catch catfish but can also be used to catch other fish species as well. And because special care is put into creating this bait, it’s 100% biodegradable, so fishermen don’t have to worry about it polluting their favorite lake, river or stream.
7Fishbites Yeh Monn! Freshwater Bait
Shad worms are used quite effectively to catch catfish, and that’s the reason why many professional fishermen use them. However, not every fisherman wants to use them for one reason or another. That’s why this product is so popular. It’s a shad worm alternative that doesn’t contain any fish tissue, extracts or fish oils but is designed to provide the same effect as shad worms. Each bag contains two 5/8-inch by 13-inch strips that can easily be cut down using a pair of ordinary scissors. When properly used, this bait will get the fish biting and is 100% biodegradable as well.
6Magic Big Blue Bait Dough
Fishermen have been known to use a variety of different scent products to enhance their baits and make them more attractive to catfish. We’ve seen everything from garlic and beef or chicken blood used to certain household chemicals. However, probably one of the most effective scent combinations is the one that’s in this bait. It’s designed with a combination of chicken blood and anise, a combination that’s surprising works extremely well to capture the attention of catfish. Each 10-ounce bag contains prepared dough baits that release this scent into the water and get the catfish biting right away.
5Wild Cat Blood Pre-Molded Bait
When it comes to catching catfish, smelly bait is often the best and there’s probably no bait that’s smellier than Wild Cat Blood Bait. This strong-smelling formula is pre-molded into dough balls that are easy to use on everything from trotlines to cane poles and is designed to create an easy-to-follow chum trail. This product will begin to dissolve in the water and provide the catfish with a roadmap that leads straight back to the person’s fishing bait. This bait is easy to use and comes in zippered bags that can be resealed to preserve the integrity of the bait, and prevent it from drying out.
4Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets
The problem with many types of baits used for catfishing is that they’re either too sticky straight out of the package or they remain too dry when they’re placed on a hook and introduced to the water. Fortunately, this formula has solved that problem because it’s specifically designed to not be sticky while it’s being placed on a hook, but the moment it hits the water it gets sticky and starts kicking out catfish attractants like wild. This product can be used on a variety of different hooks, including treble and j-hooks, is easy to bait, and creates a chum trail that’s sure to get the fish biting.
3Magic Big Bite Chicken Blood
Although some people feel the need to use a separate bait for freshwater and saltwater catfish, that isn’t necessary with Magic Big Bite Chicken Blood. That’s because this particular formula can be used for both saltwater and freshwater fishing, and can also be used for a variety of different fishing methods. It doesn’t matter if a person is laying out trotlines or jugs, using a rod and reel, or simply using fishing line tied to a stick because this bait will get the fish biting straight away. This product comes in a large-mouthed plastic container that makes baiting a lot easier, and its formula is designed to stay on bait holders better than many other baits.
2Magic King Kat Chicken Blood
This prepared dough bait is made into bite-size cubes that are easy to place on the hook and are extremely attractive to catfish. It’s also made with chicken blood, an ingredient that’s well known for grabbing the attention of any catfish in the area. It also features chemo-sensory attractants that make it all the more irresistible to bottom dwellers. Because of the special way that it’s prepared, this particular product never needs to be refrigerated. And because of its cube shape, it can be used for a variety of different fishing methods including jug lines, trotlines, cane pole fishing or rod and reel fishing.
1Mr. Whiskers Cheese Catfish Punch
Mr. Whiskers is a well-made catfish bait that’s prepared in Texas and is the result of years of fishing experience by the manufacturer. It’s designed to repel water better than other baits, and better water repulsion means that the bait stays on the hook a lot better than other product. It also does an incredible job of getting catfish to bite, and that’s because it’s made with real cheese and isn’t made with a bunch of toxic chemicals. This product never needs to be refrigerated, will never harden, and is designed to biodegrade when it’s dropped into water.
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Tips On How To Buy The Best Catfish Bait And Use It Effectively
Truly talented casters can make catching catfish seem easy, but the reality of the situation is that for most of us, catfishing is a skill that we’re going to have to learn. We’re going to have to buy the best catfish baits available and then we have to use those baits to increase our odds of success. With those goals in mind, we thought that it would be a good idea to write an informative guide on the subject so that every caster can improve their odds of grabbing some catfish for dinner.
Choosing The Best Catfish Bait
The first thing that a caster can do to improve their odds of catching catfish is by choosing the best catfish bait available. However, that’s not as easy as it sounds. That’s because while most people use the word catfish as a term applied ubiquitously to several different species of catfish. That’s why we’ve decided to break down the catfish population into three distinct species, so casters can find out which baits work the best for each one.
The first catfish we want to talk about is channel catfish. Like many catfish species, channel catfish are attracted to both dead or live bait. They have an extremely strong sense of smell, so they can home in on baits from quite a distance as well. The best baits for this type of catfish are punch baits that have a strong odor such as Mr. Whisker’s Cheese Catfish Punch.
Blue catfish are a type of fish that spend the majority of their day eating and aren’t very picky about what they eat. For these types of fish, quantity is more important than quality and these fish are known for grabbing whatever they can come across. Some of the baits that work best for these opportunistic fish include fresh baits or shad baits such as Yeh Monn! Freshwater Bait.
Flatheads aren’t are pickier than either blue or channel catfish, so casters are going to have to give a little more thought to the bait they use for this type of fish. Flathead catfish are more likely to go for live baits such as liver sunfish, goldfish, or perch. However, if a good live bait isn’t available, then the caster might want to look at a bait that uses chicken blood such as Magic King Chicken Blood or Magic Big Bite Chicken Blood.
Increasing The Odds For Catching Catfish
Once a person has selected the best catfish bait for the particular type of catfish they’re looking to catch, it’s time to use that bait with proven methods to get the best results possible. Below are some of the tips that will improve a person’s chances of catching catfish and bringing it to the table.
Get Good Information On Their Location
The first step to improving your chance of catching catfish is to find out where the catfish are biting. You can determine this information by asking other fishermen that you might know or by searching Internet message boards or websites that list the best locations for catfish are the best way to find out where they might be biting.
Study Paper & Online Maps
Another method of finding the best fishing locations is simply looking at a map. This is a technique that’s been used successfully by panfish and bass fishermen for decades. Take the time to identify the creek channels, hole, or flats that catfish might be lurking. You might also want to use Google Earth and keep a spreadsheet of all of the deep holes that you come across.
Learn Catfish Behavior
Learning catfish behavior can be extremely helpful in determining how to catch these sometimes elusive fish. This includes finding out times when catfish are likely to be active—times when they feed, when they spawn and when they’re dormant. Once the caster knows when the fish are active, they can plan their fishing around that fact.
Consider Night Fishing
Night fishing can dramatically increase the odds of catching catfish because they tend to be more active at night. Although catfish can be active during daylight hours, most of their activity is done at night. This makes it the perfect time to catch that trophy catfish a person has been wanting to catch.
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
A person could have spent a ton of time finding the best catfish bait for the type of catfish they’re trying to catch, try it out for a while and then find out it’s not effective. If that’s the case, then a person shouldn’t be afraid to experiment a little bit with their baits. Many fisherman find the perfect bait that seems to work for a long stretch of time and then all of a sudden it stops working and they have to switch baits. It happens to the best of us, so casters shouldn’t be afraid to switch things up every once in a while.
Don’t Stay In One Spot Too Long
Another problem that many people have when they’re fishing for catfish is they pick a spot that they like and stay there even if the fish aren’t biting. Catfish are notorious for being “quick biters,” which means that they will tend to nibble at a bait within 20-30 minutes if they’re in the area. If the caster hasn’t gotten a bite in that amount of time, then they shouldn’t be afraid to move to another location that might be more productive.
Elevate Your Bait
Although catfish are bottom feeders, that doesn’t mean that you have to stick your bait down in the mud. Elevating the bait using bobbers, inline floats or jig heads can help make catfish baits more effective as they allow the scent to travel further through the water. This is especially true for stink baits.
Use The Proper Equipment
The final piece of advice we’d like to give all of our readers is to pack and use the proper equipment. A person should use a heavy-duty fiberglass rod, large capacity reels, and plenty of 20-pound monofilament. After all, catfish can get pretty big, so a person should be prepared for that fact. For casters looking to catch trophy fish, they will probably need to get even sturdier equipment if they’re going to pull in those monster catfish.