Catch More Catfish With the Best Catfish Bait

What’s the best catfish bait? The answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem. Catfish are known for being picky eaters, and they will only bite on a particular type of bait. Thankfully, we’ve rounded up the 17 best baits for catching catfish. We even found some baits that you already have in your cupboard or fridge!

Here is a list of our top catfish baits:

1. Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is the best catfish bait

When it comes to catching catfish, you can never go wrong with using chicken livers! This bait attracts a lot of catfish because of its strong odor. Just one whiff and catfish will go crazy. And the best part? Chicken livers are cheap and readily available.

2. Nightcrawlers

A person holding a jar of nightcrawlers for catfish bait.

Want to catch some big catfish? Try nightcrawlers. They’re excellent bait for all types of catfish. Why? Catfish can’t resist their aroma and wriggling action.

3. Crawfish

A person holding a crawfish as catfish bait.

Crawfish is among the best baits for fishing in creeks and small rivers. Plus, you can catch them without using bait at all—fun fact: Crawfish is crucial in many pond food chains.

4. Asian Carp

Catfish have developed a taste for Asian carp. This best bait for catfish is naturally oily, giving off plenty of scents that attract giant catfish. Plus, it’s easy to prepare – all you need is to do is slice them into cut baits.

5. Stink Bait

Remember, catfish are famous for their keen sense of smell. So, many anglers make their special stink bait. They combine food like cheese and pulverized raw chicken liver and ferment into an intense and strong concoction. This bait is not for the faint of heart!

6. Hotdogs

A pack of mini hotdogs on a plate.

Here’s another food item that you can use as catfish bait – hotdogs! Believe it or not, hotdogs are popular because it cheap, mess-free, and not as stinky as other options in our list. Since hotdogs are processed, use this catfish food bait only if you’re in a pinch.

7. Bluegills

A person holding a bluegill catfish bait

Catfish are relentless predators that will eat anything, including other fish species. You can get bigger and healthier catfish than any other type of food during the summer or winter months when these bluegills are more readily available for grabs.

8. Catfish Dip Baits

Dip bait is a fishing meal that you can use to attract catfish. Dip baits are typically made with cheese as the main ingredient and often some finishing agent combined with “fish attractants.”

9. Cheese

Cubes of cheddar cheese on a table.

Catfishes aren’t exactly picky when it comes to dairy products, but there are some cheeses that they won’t eat. For example, a strong-smelling cheese might prove too much for your catfish bait? On the other hand, a good-quality sharp cheddar will make an excellent choice.

10. Cut Bait

Many catfish find cut baits very delicious. It’s made from whatever fresh-caught fish you want to use, so it hits their taste buds hard. However, you need to store it well because it tends to spoil quickly.

11. Blood Bait

Triple S Channel Catfish Dip Bait Blood Flavor

To ensure that your catfish are biting, be sure to use a frozen blood bait on hot summer days. Fill up some ice trays with beef and leave overnight for thickening, then hooks in place. You can also use a ready-to-use blood bait.

12. Skipjack Herring

The river herring is a delicious and nutritious freshwater bait for catfish. It’s also great as an appetizer or alternative to large lures in competitions where size doesn’t matter. Saltwater and freshwater herring can be excellent bait for catfish.

13. Shad

Freshly caught shad fish.

Shad is one of our best catfish bait choices all year long when targeting blue and channel catfish. Plus, there’s no “season” for using them.

14. White Suckers

Catfish are always on the hunt for new prey, so if you’re looking to catch one with your hands, then giving them white suckers will be what they need.

15. Mulberries or Blueberries

A person holding a handful blueberries on her palm.

Catfish are known for being carnivores. But they can’t resist the juiciness and flavor of blueberries and mulberries!

Catfish Bait FAQ

How Deep Should You Fish for Catfish?

Catfish are bottom feeders. They like to stay in 10-30 feet of water with plenty of vegetation and debris on the floor.

What Time of Day Do Catfish Bite the Most?

Catfish are most active at night. However, you can still catch them between late morning and just prior (or subsequent) sunrise.

How Long Do Catfishing Baits Last?

Catfish are hungry and patient. You don’t want to move the bait too often because it can take an hour or more for that cruising heavyweight to find your spot. However, you’ll want to move your catfish around after 1 hour.

Which Catfish Bait You’ll Try?

Catching catfish is tricky but don’t be disheartened! Try chicken livers and other best catfish baits. Let us know in the comments which catfish bait you’ll try or have already tried.