11 Best Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes

Over the years, I have tried various things to lure in catfish. I have used both live baits and manufactured baits, as well as some one-off things like candied worms and fish. However, it wasn’t until a few years ago when I started to experiment with homemade catfish baits. I found these eleven recipes to be some of the best homemade catfish baits I have come across during this experimentation period.

These homemade baits have changed my perspective on what to look for in a quality catfish bait. For me, a catfish bait should have a powerful smell, a dense base to hook into, a liquid element to keep it from hardening, some fiber to keep it bonded together, and a fishy ingredient.

I feel these eleven recipes for homemade catfish bait meet all of the criteria listed above, so let’s take a gander at what it takes to make some delicious catfish candy.

1. Classic Kool-Aid Hot Dog Catfish Bait

This homemade bait option is a classic amongst catfishermen. I think my favorite thing about this recipe is its simplicity. Some chunked-up hotdogs, freshly chopped garlic, and a packet of powdered Kool-Aid are all it takes. Then, all you have to do is soak these ingredients overnight, and voila! You have delicious catfish candy the channel cats will go wild over.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cheap pack of hot dogs cut into thirds.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 single-serve packet of Kool-Aid

Directions:

  1. Cut each hot dog into thirds.
  2. Place cut-up hot dogs into a plastic gallon storage bag.
  3. Add minced garlic into the bag.
  4. Pour the single-serve packet of Kool-Aid into the bag.
  5. Close the storage bag and shake all of the ingredients up until they’re thoroughly combined.
  6. Release all of the air out of the storage bag.
  7. Let the ingredients sit for at least 3 hours or until the Kool-Aid mixture starts to liquefy from the hotdog juices.
  8. Bait your circle hook, and you’re ready to fish.

2. Mystery Meat Catfish Cheese Bait

Little do most people know, cheese is the base of many manufactured dough baits. When choosing a block of cheese for your bait’s foundation, I recommend using a sharp, potent cheese like cheddar or parmesan.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of cheese, cubed
  • ½ pound of bloody chicken livers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 can of wet dog food
  • 2 whole small baitfish, chopped
  • Flour, as needed

Directions:

  1. Spray a pot with non-stick cooking oil.
  2. Heat the non-stick pot on low heat.
  3. Add cubed cheese in the pot, and let it melt, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the cheese is melting, chop up the chicken livers.
  5. Mix the chicken livers with the melted cheese.
  6. Pour mixture into a food processor.
  7. Toss in garlic powder, dog food, and small baitfish.
  8. Add flour as needed to thicken the mix.
  9. Blend until the mixture is fully pureed, add more flour if needed for a doughy consistency.
  10. Once you’ve achieved the desired consistency, you’re ready to take it to the waters.

Recipe from Boat Safe.

3. Winner Winner Catfish Dinner

Warning, the smell of these homemade chunks can be overwhelming. I recommend using spoiled chicken breast when making this because it adds a more pungent stench. Plus, your spouse won’t get mad at you for wasting fresh chicken. However, they may be annoyed once you mix all of these items into a storage bag and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few days. Letting these ingredients sit will give the jello the syrupy texture you’re looking for, as well as toughen the chicken up. I like this mixture because it is very flavorful, and it will last for weeks.

Here’s how to make this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of chicken breast, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 box of fruit-flavored jello
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of fish oil

Directions:

  1. Cube the chicken breast into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Place cubbed chicken breast into a resealable plastic gallon bag.
  3. Pour in the fruit-flavored jello packet.
  4. Add the garlic powder and fish oil.
  5. Let ingredients sit in the refrigerator for up to 72 hours for the best results.

4. Cajun Catfish Stink Bait

When we say this bait smells, we meant it. As soon as you open this stuff up in your boat, your friends might go overboard to flee its stench. This stink bait is jam-packed with some rotten minnows over a foul cheese base.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of rotten minnows; can be substituted with anchovies
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ cup of parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 box of fruit-flavored jello of your choosing
  • ¼ cup of molasses
  • 3 tbsps of onion salt
  • 3 tbsps of garlic salt
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • Flour, as needed

Directions:

  1. Dump all of the ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated.
  3. Transfer ingredients from the blender into a bowl.
  4. Slowly add flour into the mixture to thicken it, as needed.
  5. Once your bait has reached the desired ”dough-like” consistency, you are ready to bait it onto a treble hook and drop it into the water.

Recipe from Old School Fishing Secrets.

5. Spoiled Shrimp Catfish Bait

Next time you order the surf n’ turf, eat the steak and take your shrimp home in a doggy bag. After using spoiled shrimp as catfish bait, you’ll never look at shrimp the same way again. When choosing shrimp from the grocery store, I recommend getting the raw, uncooked, whole shrimp. Here’s what you will need to use spoiled shrimp as catfish bait:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of raw, uncooked, whole shrimp
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of onion powder
  • 1 tbsp of anise oil, or substitute it with vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Chop the heads off the shrimp.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a reusable plastic storage bag.
  3. Shake the ingredients around until everything is thoroughly mixed.
  4. Release any excess air from the bag.
  5. Let the ingredients sit in the sun for at least 24 hours.
  6. Now it’s ready to be opened up, hooked, and cast into the water.

6. Catfish Blood Bait

This recipe is not for the faint of heart. If you cannot stand the sight of blood, I highly recommend not to use this baiting method. Many catfish anglers steer clear of working with blood as bait because it can be a long and frustrating process to perfect. Here’s what this recipe entails:

Ingredients:

  • Blood from a cow, chicken, or turkey
  • Sugar, as needed
  • 2 tbsp of garlic salt
  • Kosher salt, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Pour blood onto a flat container, like a disposable 13 x 9-inch pan.
  2. Sprinkle garlic salt and a heavy layer of sugar over the blood.
  3. Thoroughly mix the ingredients.
  4. Pour another layer of blood.
  5. Pour another layer of sugar.
  6. Repeat the process two to three times.
  7. Set the pan out in the sun for up to 48 hours to let the blood coagulate.
  8. Once the blood finishes bubbling, move the pan into the freezer.
  9. Take the pan out of the freezer and thaw it out.
  10. Cut the coagulated blood into liver-like slabs.
  11. Place slabs into the sun on hot concrete to bake the blood again.
  12. Sprinkle kosher salt over the blood to thicken it.
  13. Once the blood is tough and to your liking, go ahead and refreeze the bait.
  14. After 24 hours, take the bait out of the fridge, thaw it, and take it fishing.

Recipe from In-Fisherman.

7. Sardine Delight Catfish Dough Bait

Instead of packing your sardines in a can, try loading them in some dough bait. While following this recipe, you will learn that cornmeal isn’t just great for smothering catfish filets, but it also works well as a thickening agent for catfish bait.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 can of sardines, packed in oil or water
  • 1-ounce bottle of anise extract
  • Water, as needed

Directions:

  1. Whisk the flour and cornmeal in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Chop the sardines up, and throw them and the liquid from the tin into the mixture.
  3. Whisk everything together, so the cornmeal and flour soak up all of the juices.
  4. Add in the bottle of anise extract.
  5. Stir the mixture well until everything is thoroughly combined.
  6. Slowly add in small amounts of water while mixing; add enough water to reach a dough-like consistency.
  7. If your mixture gets too runny, add more flour or cornmeal to thicken it.
  8. Form the dough balls into the shape and size of a golf ball.
  9. Boil enough water to cover the dough balls completely.
  10. Boil your dough balls for at least three minutes, or until they fully harden.
  11. Remove the dough balls from the water, and drain them over a paper towel.
  12. Let the dough balls cool.
  13. Store them in a resealable plastic bag, and they’re ready for fishing.

Recipe from Game & Fish Magazine.

8. Garlic Chicken Supreme Catfish Bait

This homemade catfish bait recipe is constantly made in my house. I like it because it doesn’t take much to make it, and it doesn’t stink up my home. This catfish bait is packed with flavor from the chicken giblets marinating in garlic and chicken blood.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of chicken giblets
  • 1 tub of chicken livers in blood
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of onion powder

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a resealable plastic gallon bag.
  2. Release air out of the bag, and seal it.
  3. Let it sit in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  4. Take the bag out of the refrigerator, and let it bask in the sun for several hours.
  5. Now your giblets are ready to be hooked into.

9. Beer N’ Oats Catfish Bait

No one likes to waste beer, but is it wasteful if you’re using it to pull in enough channel catfish for a weekend fish fry? When selecting a beer, choose either a stout or IPA for more flavor. This beer and oats catfish bait recipe pairs well with a great night of fishing!

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 1 pound of canned tuna
  • 3 cups of cornmeal
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of oatmeal
  • 8 ounces of corn syrup
  • Chicken livers, chopped

Directions:

  1. Chop up the chicken livers into small chunks.
  2. Stir the flour, cornmeal, and oatmeal into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the beer and corn syrup into the oaty mixture.
  4. Thoroughly mix all of the ingredients in the bowl.
  5. Add in the canned tuna and chopped chicken livers.
  6. Continue to combine all of the ingredients until you achieve a doughy consistency.
  7. If you need to thin the mixture, add beer; or if you need to thicken the mixture, add flour.
  8. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and set it outside for up to two weeks; if the mixture hardens, then add liquid and stir it to soften it.

Recipe from Boat Safe.

10. Squeaky Clean Catfish Bait

Did you know that people use bars of soap for catfish bait? I’m serious, try this recipe out, and you will shortly realize why it’s a favorite amongst catfish anglers.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3 bars of soap

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Once the water starts to boil, add the sugar.
  3. Let the sugar continue to boil in the water until it’s fully dissolved, stirring occasionally.
  4. Lower the heat, and grate the soap bars into the pot, stirring occasionally.
  5. Once the soap has completely dissolved, take the pot off the heat and let it cool.
  6. Transfer the soapy water into ice cube trays.
  7. Place the ice cube trays into the freezer, checking it every 10-15 minutes.
    Note: You don’t want the soap to be fully frozen. You only want it firm enough to where you can take it out of the trays without breaking it.
  8. Take the cubes out and store them in an air-tight container.

Recipe from Boat Safe.

11. Peanut Butter Catfish Bait

This last recipe is a little weird. When you are experimenting with making your catfish bait, you will find you’ll grab just about anything on the verge of its expiration date and mix it all up into a doughy concoction. This is one of those recipes, with ingredient highlights like peanut butter and beef bullion.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup of water
  • 3 beef bullion cubes
  • 3 ounces of expired lunch meat, chopped
  • 3 tbsps of garlic salt
  • 3 tbsps of onion powder
  • 5 slices of bread
  • 4 tbsps of peanut butter, melted
  • 20 stale crackers, crushed

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Once the water starts boiling, add in the beef bullion cubes.
  3. Chop up the expired lunch meat.
  4. Once the bullion cubes dissolve, add in the lunch meat.
  5. Add garlic salt and onion powder to the pot.
  6. Pick out chunks of the bread, and add it to the pot, occasionally stir the mixture.
  7. Lower the heat, and add in the melted peanut butter.
  8. Stir the peanut butter until it’s fully worked.
  9. Take the pot off the heat and slowly add in the crackers, stirring as you go.
  10. If your mixture needs thickening, add more crackers or flour. Or, if you need to loosen it up, add in more water.
  11. Once your bait reaches a dough-like consistency, you’re all set.       Recipe from Catfish Edge.
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