Homemade Catfish Bait Secrets (Plus 12 Great Catfish Bait Recipes)

Catfish Bait Recipes

Homemade catfish bait is a popular option for many anglers but my preference has always been to buy a proven catfish bait recipe.

There’s a lot of valuable information in this article that will help you in the process of making your own homemade catfish bait recipe or following one of ours.

Some of these homemade catfish bait options are added from my old website but I have added a TON of new information here. This is not only a collection of free catfish bait recipes, but also a break down of the major ingredients in common catfish baits, so you can work on your own concoctions.

Because of the length of this article, here’s a quick index that you can use. Just click the links to take you to the part of the article your interested in.

Quickjump Links

Why Are Good Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes Hard To Find?
Do You Really Want To Make Your Own Homemade Catfish Bait?
How To Develop Your Own Recipe From Scratch!
Basics Of Making Cheese Based Catfish Baits
12 Free Catfish Bait Recipes
Bells Of Hell Stink Bait, Weapons Grade (The Good Stuff)
Want To Catch More Channel Catfish With These Baits?

I’ve always preferred to leave the mess (and work) of making bait to the experts and I use commercially manufactured products. After fifteen years as a professional catfish guide I’ve found there’s a lot of really great catfish baits available in stores (but there’s some bad ones also) and making “stink baits” is a lot of hard work!

The internet is littered with tons of catfish bait recipes and in recent years I’ve even begin to see books and other resources for sale with recipes to make your own catfish bait, but there are very few (if any) really good catfish bait recipes publicly available.

Everything you need to know to make your own catfish bait [Tweet It]

Why Are Good Homamade Catfish Bait Recipes Hard To Find?

First and foremost, when someone develops and manufactures a bait after coming up with a formula, or being handed down a recipe, it usually involves them selling the finished product and they are not willing to share their secrets that they have worked so hard for.

The bottom line is there are really aren’t HUGE variations between baits. Once you break down the basic ingredients, you can come up with a formula on your own.

You are probably not going to be able copy a bait that is sold in stores exactly. The companies who make these products have been perfecting them for years. They know exactly what makes them work, exactly what needs to be done to make them their very best, exact mixes of ingredients, how long to let the ingredients sit and so on. It’s a fine tuned process when you’re selling it and have had years to perfect the process.

You can however come up with your own basic formula, add and change ingredients and experiment with what will catch fish and what will not until you perfect your process.

Do You Really Want To Make Your Own Homemade Catfish Bait?

The first thing you need to ask yourself before you decide to make your own baits is if it is really worth it for you to make your own homemade baits.

  • Would you rather spend your time making baits or fishing?
  • Would you be better off buying a bait that is proven and you know works?
  • Are you willing to invest money into making something might or might not work?
  • Is it going to be more costly to make your own or just purchase something already made?
  • If you decide to make your own, and it is a “stink bait” will you have a place to make it without it being bothersome?
  • Are you willing to commit the time to really make your own catfish bait the right way (MOST effective “stink bait recipes” are not made in a short period of time. Most involve ingredients sitting together, or separate for long periods of time.

I know many of the manufacturers of what I consider to be some of the best baits on the market. I’ve seen many of these manufacturers make their products, and I know exactly what goes into some these products, and the exact process used to make them. Making catfish bait is a LOT of work.

In many instances you can buy a manufactured bait for the same price or cheaper than you’ll be able to make your own, especially if the recipe involves cheese.

My family has manufactured and sold Redneck’s Catfish Bait Soap* for over a decade and I know first hand the work involved. The recipe has been on the family for over seventy years and I’ll tell you first hand there’s a lot of work involved when your making your own catfish bait.

(We’re not currently selling Redneck’s Catfish Bait Soap but may do so again in the future. We’re taking a hiatus for a little while because of other business committments.)

If you think that you want to move forward with making your own bait formula then read on.


How To Make Your Own Homemade Catfish Bait Recipe From Scratch

There’s a basic set of ingredients for 99% of the good catfish baits and the processes to make them are very similar.

I’ll walk you through the basic ingredients and processes of most baits and give you some free recipes as well and some comments on each. This gives you the option of using one of the recipes provided or having a basic understanding of what ingredients are in most commercially manufactured baits so you can develop your own formula.

How to make your own catfish bait recipe from scratch! [Tweet It]

Prepared baits (often called) “stink baits” can be broken down into a few major categories

  • Punch Baits
  • Dip Baits
  • Sponge Baits
  • Blood Baits
  • Dough Baits

Let’s examine these different types more closely, as well as some of the pro’s and cons of making these different types:

Making Homemade Catfish Punch Bait 

Punch bait gets it’s name from the process used to bait the hook. You take a bare treble hook and “punch” it into the bait with a stick (or screwdriver) and when you pull the hook back out it will be covered in bait.

Cheese is the main ingredient in these baits combined with some sort of thickening agent, bait fish, and some “secret” ingredients that vary by manufacturer.

The ingredients are usually prepared for extended periods of time, and they are typically allowed to sit for long periods of time after they are mixed. Some manufacturers I know take up to one year (or longer) to make a single batch of bait. I’ve got a friend that makes a very popular (and effective) punch bait that let’s his punch bait sit for two years prior to selling it.

Pro’s and Cons Of Making Your Own Catfish Punch Bait:

Pro’s

  • Highly Effective
  • Have a Strong Smell (Attracts Fish)
  • Effective On Blues and Channels (Better For Channels)
  • Require No Special Hooks Or Rigs
  • Fairly Clean To Fish With (Clean is a relative term when fishing with stink bait)

Con’s

  • Require Extended Periods Of Time To Make
  • Ingredients May Be Costly
  • Ingredients May Be Hard To Get

Making Homemade Catfish Dip Bait

Dip bait is similar to punch bait in many ways but the major difference is consistency. Dip baits are thinner which requires something to hold them on a hook. This is typically a sponge, tube or small ribbed rubber worm.

Like punch baits, dip bait has cheese as the main ingredient and often some sort of thinning agent combined with “fish attractants”. Animal “parts” are also a common incredient (usually hog brains).

Most dip baits are stored for extended periods of time after they are made and before they are ready to use (up to a year or more).

Pro’s

  • Highly Effective
  • Have a Strong Smell That Attracts Fish
  • Effective On Blues and Channels (Better For Channels)

Con’s

  • Require Extended Periods Of Time To Make
  • Ingredients May Be Costly
  • Ingredients May Be Hard To Get
  • Messy To Use (and Make)
  • Require Specialized Hooks (Dip Tubes or Worms)

channel catfish illustrationCatfish Sponge Baits

Punch bait is thickest, dip baits are more thin and then you have sponge baits. Sponge bait is more then than dip bait with more of a watery texture and like their name implies fished with a small piece of sponge on the hook to absorb and hold the bait.

Just like the other baits the primary ingredient is cheese and there are often animal parts involved as an “attractant” in the baits (but not always).

Pro’s

  • Highly Effective
  • Have a Strong Smell That Attracts Fish
  • Effective On Blues and Channels (Better For Channels)

Con’s

  • Require Extended Periods Of Time To Make
  • Ingredients May Be Costly
  • Ingredients May Be Hard To Get
  • Messy To Use (and Make)
  • Require Specialized Hooks With Sponges


Basics Of Making Cheese Based Baits

Again, the basics of making punch, dip and sponge baits are relatively the same and they all involve cheese.

Most people that decide to make a cheese based catfish bait for the first time think they’ll use nacho cheese as it’s cheap and readily available but I’m not aware of any good catfish bait recipe that has nacho cheese in it and I’d suggest you avoid this.

You’ll need block cheese with a firmer consistency and most catfish bait manufacturers use a “white” or lighter cheese because of the consistency.

Getting the right cheese is the hard part, you need to either find someone to give you enough scraps or see if you can buy scraps (some companies sell them in five gallon quantities). If you go to the store to buy cheese off the shelf to make even a gallon of these baits you’ll quickly find it’s cheaper to buy a comercially made catfish bait.

For punch baits you’ll need a thickening agent like cat tail fibers, or some sort of synthetic fiber. Many baits also include tallow or lard as well.

For dip baits you may need a thickening agent as well, many people use flour for this.

Then you have the fish attractants to add which are most commonly some sort of bait fish like shad, river minnows or even crawfish. It’s also common practice to add additional “attractants” (in addition to bait fish) with strong smells like garlic or onion powder and anise.

The Most Important Part of Cheese Based Catfish Bait Recipes

Where most people go wrong (besides trying to use nacho cheese) is trying to make bait when they need it. Making cheese based catfish baits is a slow process that takes time.

Cheese and many additives used in these catfish bait will seperate. If you take a bucket of cheese that’s gone foul on you and sitting for a few weeks and mix in a bunch of bait fish that are “fresh” or haven’t been sitting for an extended period of time and work on getting the consistency “just right” you’ll be dissapointed. In a matter of days it will change in consistency and will continue to do so until all the liquid seperates.

Homemade Blood Bait For Catfish

Blood bait recipes contain some sort of blood as the main ingredient (either chicken or beef blood) and some sort of thickening agent to make the blood coagulate, stay together and stay on the hook. Brown sugar is a very common ingredient for thickening blood baits.

Blood bait is made by pouring large amounts of the blood onto a flat surface (usually a screen placed over a piece of plywood). Once you pour a layer of blood on the flat surface you sprinkle a heavy layer of brown sugar and then pour more blood, repeating the process several times.

Then it’s a waiting game as you allow the mixture to sit in the sun and thicken. When it has a gelatin like texture (usually takes at least a day, sometimes multiple days) you cut into strips and place the blood bait into storage containers.

Pro’s

  • Highly Effective
  • Have a Strong Smell That Attracts Fish

Con’s

  • Require Extended Periods Of Time To Make
  • Ingredients May Be Costly
  • Ingredients May Be Hard To Get
  • Messy To Use (and Make)
  • Difficult To Keep On Hook

Catfish Dough Bait Basics 

Dough bait recipes typically contain flour or wheat, some sort of thinning agent (water or oil) and scent. Dough baits are one of the very few baits that can be mixed and fished in a very short amount of time.

Start with a base of flour or wheat and add water or oil until you reach the desired consistency and then add scent and attractants. Anise is very popular for this type of bait but there are many other catfish attractants you can use.

I’ve never been a fan of dough baits and never had success fishing for cats with them so I’ve never invested much energy into them. There may be some good dough bait for catfish, I’ve yet to find one though.

Knowing these basic catfish bait ingredients will give you a good start on making your own homemade baits. You can acquire the basic ingredients and start experimenting with making your own until you get the texture, consistency and smell that you are looking for.

Just be sure to keep track of what you’ve added and the steps you followed, so you can duplicate your results when you have success.

Adding Scents and Catfish Attractants To Your Bait

Once you come up with a good basic recipe, then you can experiment with adding different scents to to see if it makes it more or less effective, until you come up with the very best formula.

Some different scents or ingredients to add and experiment with that are very common are:

  • Garlic (powder or oil)
  • Oil of Anise
  • Cinnamon (powder or oil)
  • Blood (chicken, beef)
  • Asafoetida (powder)

Most of these attractants are self explanatory but asafoetida always raises a lot of questions. Asafoetida is a spice that comes from several species of Ferula, a perrenial herb. It’s also known as “devils dung” because of it’s strong odor. Asafoetida is used often in indian cooking and can be food in many specialty grocery stores.

12 Free Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes

Channel CatfishNow that we understand the basics of different types of baits and making your own homemade catfish bait, let’s move on to the free catfish bait recipes.

I haven’t made or used all of these recipes but they’ve been on my website for about ten years and I’ve had good foodback on all of them at one point or another.

I’ve used Leather Livers, Blood Bait and Bell’s Of Hell Stink Bait “Weapons Grade” and can testify that they work. You better have an awful strong stomach of you plan on mixing up a batch of either Bell’s Of Hell Catfish Bait Recipe, it’s toxic.

Juggs Davis Stink Bait

  • Melt 1 pound of cheese for about 1 minute in the microwave
  • Chop 6–8 ounces of raw pork, perch, or both in combination
  • Chop 1 head of garlic and add garlic salt
  • Mix in 1 can dog food
  • Add 1 dozen minnows and enough flour to give a dough consistency.
  • Mix in a food processor (and then quickly hide it before your wife sees it
  • This bait works best on treble hooks or bait tubes.

Cajun Mud Bait

  • In a blender mix 24 dead minnows after they have been allowed to sit outside for 24 hours
  • Add 1/4 cup of the juice the minnows were in
  • Add 1/2 cup parmesean cheese
  • Add 1 box cherry jello
  • Add 1/4 cup molasses
  • Add 3 tablespoons of onion salt and garlic salt
  • Add 1 cup bread crumbs
  • Add 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce

Add flour to thicken then work into a dough and place in baggies in 1 inch balls use on a treble hook.

I’ve had complaints about catching carp with this bait which is probably due to the molasses and jello.

Trinity River Bait

  • In 1/4 cup boiling water add 3 beef bullion cubes
  • After beef cubes disolve add 3 oz lunch meat
  • Add 3 Tablespoons of garlic salt and onion powder
  • Add 5 slices of bread
  • Add 4 Tablespoons of of melted peanut butter
  • Add 20 crackers

Pour in a blender and mix. Place in sealable container in a cool place with lid on tight. Use as a ball on treble hook.

Jack’s Cat Attack

  • Mix 1 lb of aged in the sun chicken livers and 1 package of hot dogs together in a blender and mix (this may be best performed outside or with wife gone).
  • In a gallon jug place a half a loaf of bread torn into bite size pieces
  • Pour the liver and hot dog mix over bread
  • Add 2 cans of nacho cheese
  • Add 1 can corn
  • Add 1/4 bottle of Tabasco,
  • Add a dozen worms cut up

Pour this mixture out and knead good until it gets thick and a dough like consistency. Store in the sun, in a large plastic container, and handle with care.

Chicken Little’s Chicken Liver Catfish Bait Recipe

  • In a blender place a pound of chicken livers partially frozen
  • Add half a box of cornflakes
  • Add 1/2 cup garlic powder or two heads of fresh garlic
  • Add 1/3 cup of each: parmesan cheese, molasses, sugar

Blend well place in small dishes and freeze what you don’t plan to use as this bait will spoil very quick. Best if used when fresh.

Shadrack’s Dip Shad Catfish Bait Recipe

One use for the left over shad when you got too many at the end of a fishing trip.

  • Place about 20 small threadfin shad in a blender
  • Add 1/2 Cup of cornmeal
  • Add 1 tablespoon each of garlic powder and sugar.

Blend well and place this mixture in a jar and shake twice daily for a week and its ready. Use with dip worms or sponges.

Uncle Dewey’s Catfish Bait Recipe

Place about two pounds of leftover shad and a tub of chicken livers with about two cups of bacon grease or vegetable oil in a loosely covered bucket and allow to sit in the sun until the shad turn to liquid.

  • Add about 6 cups of regular oatmeal
  • Add 2 cups of yellow cornmeal
  • Add a cup of brown sugar
  • Add 4oz package of limburger cheese

Stir carefully but thoroughly and return the bucket to a sunny location for another week for more fermentation. Thicken with flour or cattail fuzz for bait, or thin with water for chum.

Leather Chicken Liver Catfish Bait Recipe

  • Take 2 lbs of chicken liver and 32oz. can of garlic salt.
  • Lay liver out in layers on cooking sheets or cardboard covered with foil
  • Sprinkle a hefty amount of garlic salt on it chicken livers
  • Add another layer of chicken livers and salt (continue until the liver is all used).
  • Let sit for a couple hours outside (It doesn’t have to be in the sun).

After a couple hours take the liver and dump into a bucket and start stirring, every 3 or 4 stirs add some more garlic. Do this until you have about 1/4 cup of garlic left. Put it in the garage for about 9 or 10 days, make sure its covered.

When you get ready to use it dump the rest of the garlic salt in, stir, and go fishin. The salt will make the chicken liver alot tougher. You can use a single wire hook doing it this way.

Instead of Garlic try Anise, Vanilla or what ever you want. Just make sure you add salt (alot) because this is what makes it tough.

Catfish Blood Bait Catfish Bait Recipe

Here’s two methods of making blood bait for catfish.

Find a locker plant that will let you have a set of beef lungs with windpipe still connected.

  • Hang lungs up by windpipe.
  • Pour fresh blood into windpipe.
  • When full hang in cooler until blood coagulates.
  • Leave in cooler 24 hours.
  • Take out of cooler and slice into cubes.

Because of the consistency of the lung, the lung absorbs the blood. When you put the slices on the hook, the bait will stay on the hook, but the blood will still bleed out, putting scent in the water.

The maker says “My Dad bet a man that he could put a cube of blood bait on a hook and line and drag it behind a pickup, one city block, and bait would still be on hook. I witnessed this happen”.

My experience with blood, the heavier the beef, the better the blood (bull blood).

Alternative Blood Bait Method

Contact a slughter house or butcher for blood. You’ll need enough fresh beef blood or chicken blood (it makes no difference) to fill a large baking pan just below the top of the pan.

  • Fill the pan just below the top with beef or chicken blood
  • Place it a refrigerator for approximately one week (it will get somewhat hard like a rubber mat).
  • Place the pan in the sun for as long as it takes to get a hard cover.
  • Cut into 2″ squares, put in plastic containers and place back in the refrigerator (or freeze).

Catfish Dough Bait Recipe

  • 1.5 cups of cornmeal
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 16–20 ounces of Big Red
  • Anise oil
  • Add cornmeal, flour and anise oil to pot.
  • Use however much anise oil you need.
  • Add almost 3/4 of a bottle of big red.

Cook this over medium heat constantly stirring until most of the liquid soaks up and the dough is stiff and sticky. Flour a counter surface and transfer the sticky dough on top of it.

Here is the important part, knead the dough, just like you would with a loaf of bread incorporating more flour for at least ten to fifteen minutes. This allows gluten to form in the dough and prevents the bait from just coming off the hook. Knead more flour into the dough until the dough is not sticky.

Use a treble hook and good luck.

The maker of this catfish bait recipe says “I have been doing really well with this bait for quite a while”. The nice thing about this dough is it freezes well and lasts a long time.

Garlic Weenies Catfish Bait Recipe

I just take a jelly jar (wide mouth) and slice hot dogs in 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.

Put hot dogs and crushed garlic (buy crushed garlic in a jar in any food store) into the jar.

Stick in the refrigerator (and don’t tell the wife).

I have tried garlic powder and salt. Fresh crushed works the best but a little salt helps. Catfish love salt. I think it goes with their beer.

Bells Of Hell Stink Bait Catfish Bait Recipe (Dip Bait)

This bait recipe belonged to a Texas angler who’d been making it for many years. He sold this commercially in Texas stores for years and it’s somewhat legendary.** It’s even appeared in the Wall Street Journal at once point.

This is a proven and successful recipe that I know works, if you want a dip bait. I personally know many anglers make and use this bait and it works very well. Getting the ingredients can be tough, it takes time to make and you’ll need somewhere you can get it away from your house or you’ll regret it.

The comments listed are all of his notes and information that he has provided for making it. You will see below when you read through it that he explains you can make this a dip bait or a punch bait.

Before proceeding with making this please note the following:

  • We will not be responsible for you vomiting.
  • We will not be responsible for you getting divorced.
  • We will not be responsible for your children not talking to you.
  • We will not be responsible for citations or other legal recourse taken by local or state governments.

Bells of Hell Weapons Grade Catfish Bait Recipe

This is the complete Bells Of Hell Catfish Dip Bait Recipe including all the secret ingredients.

This is not something try to make unless you are part buzzard, it really stinks. However if you like to catch lots of channel catfish , then make it.

Don’t try to make this unless it’s hot outside. (The guy that made this lived in Texas and said he waited until at least July to start).

Bells Of Hell Bait Ingredients

  • 36 lbs hog brains
  • 40 lbs cheese (use 60 lbs for thicker bait)
  • 1 gallon shad or other small baitfish

Use what ever kind of cheese you can get. Cheddar, Colby, Jack have all gone into it in the past. 40 lbs is the least amount of cheese I would use and it will be runny at that. 50 or 60 pounds will make better catfish bait for warmer weather. Keep in mind that bait will thin when hot and thicken when cool.

Put the hog brains out in the sun for 2 or 3 days. If you start with soured brains , it will speed the process up.

You need to have the cheese grated in some way. I have a friend who runs it through a meat grinder.

Put everything in a large plastic barrel (trash cans with flat bottoms work) .

This is very important!

The container must be three times the size of the quantity you’ll put in it. For example If you’re going to put ten gallons of bait the container must be at least 30 gallons. The bait will swell and needs the space to expand.

  • Blend everything together with a paint stirrer on a drill motor.
  • Cover the barrel in some way to keep out flies , dogs and cats.
  • Set the barrel in a warm spot (away from neighbors)
  • Stir the catfish bait every other day*.

If the brains were real funky before you started it will take about 2 weeks before the fermenting slows down. If maggots get started , no problem , they will die quickly.

When there is little swelling between stirrings , dip the bait into quart jars ONLY HALF FULL, the bait will swell again in the jars.

Notes On Making Bells Of Hell Stink Bait: Weapons Grade (and Fishing With It)

  • Use sponge bait hooks (the smaller the better) to dip in the bait. Make sure to wring any water out of the sponge before redipping or the bait will become runny. Bait the hook again about every 20 mins.
  • To make a punch bait instead of dip bait you can add cattail fuzz until it becomes the consistency of peanut butter. If you make punch bait take a small bare treble hook (#8 treble hook works real good) and push it into the punch bait. It stays on the hook for a long time.
  • I make this bait every other year and it’s always better the second year. This makes a lot of bait and you could try cutting the amounts back.
  • In the 20 or so years I have been using this , I have never caught anything but channel catfishon it.
  • A meat market can order the brains for you.
  • Finding the cheese is a little trickier. I found a wholesale cheese distribution company and they sell me moldy or out of date cheese for 50 cents a pound. If you have to pay full price for brains and cheese you’re talking a bunch of money.

If you try one of these recipes listed, give us a shout and let us know how it works by leaving a comment below or contacting us on Twitter.

Want To Catch More Channel Catfish With These Baits?

If you plan on fishing with prepared baits for channel catfish check out the Secret Channel Catfish Rig and Summer Channel Catfish Techniques books. These in depth guides will put you on the fast track to success catching channel catfish based on my experience of over fifteen years as a professional catfish guide.

If you try one of these recipes listed, give us a shout and let us know how it works by leaving a comment below or contacting us on Twitter.

 

Summary
Article Name
Homemade Catfish Bait Secrets (Plus 12 Great Catfish Bait Recipes)
Author
Description
Everything your need to know about making your own homemade catfish bait plus 12 great catfish bait recipes to get you started on the path to success! How to develop your own catfish baits or follow our proven recipes.

Comments

    • Matthew says

      I’ve been seeing this comment for a while and he hasn’t answered but I’ll answer for him.
      in his e-book he says Sudden Impact fiber bait, sureshot punch bait, bills dip bait, CJ’s punch bait in shad flavor, or secret 7 dip bait

  1. Delano Watkins says

    I put my bait up with the ones you say are good. And my bait bet all of them every time. My bait went up with team catfish baits and I got more catfish then it.

  2. Troy says

    My question is about the bells of hell bait. First, i want to know how and how long to preserve/ shelf life of the bait once made and jared. Second, why is it targeted just towards channel cats? I know blue prefer live bait but i figured it would work for all cat species. And what are some good binding agents to use for bare hooks? Thank you

  3. troy ross says

    i make a dough bait that never goes bad and i have caught over 300 lb of cat in a day i can prove it works good will work in lakes or fast moving rivers with nothing holding it

    • Jack Fendley says

      My dad used to make a . Dough bait when I was a kid. Never thought hev would leave us so early so didnt pay attention to how he made it. It was a good bait. Can u give me some recipe for a dough bait. Thanks

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