Best Homemade Bait for Catfish

By Anietra Hamper

Sep 26, 2022

A guide to making your own homemade catfish bait with tips on what works best and why for attracting fish.

Many hard-core catfish anglers insist that they have the best secret homemade bait recipe that is their tried-and-true when it comes to catching fish. The good news is that you neither must be an experienced angler nor know the secret recipe for fishing success. You can simply come up with your own.

There are a few key tips for making homemade fishing bait for catfish. Start with recognizing that catfish respond to smell because they have scent glands all over their bodies so the stinkier the bait, the better. You can get as complex as you’d like combining lots of ingredients or stick with a basic doughball that is more pleasing to your sense of smell yet will still attract catfish.

To get started, follow our basic guide on making your own homemade fishing bait for catfish and experiment until you find your own secret recipe.

Why Make Your Own Homemade Catfish Bait?

There are a few advantages to making your own fishing bait. First, it is less expensive than buying it pre-made in a cup. Second, it adds another element to your fishing experience. And finally, there’s no hard and fast rules so you can be creative with your ingredients.

It is important to remember that besides responding to scent, catfish are bottom feeders, so they suck in bait. This is why a doughball formation works well with ingredients that slowly dissipate in the water. A doughball consistency holds nicely onto the hook while also creating a scent trail.


How to Make Fishing Bait

Making your own fishing bait for catfish can be done in three simple steps. You want basic ingredients that provide both consistency for molding around your hook and scent.

Start with a base of a substantiative ingredient like flaked fiber cereal, cornmeal, ground meat or oatmeal that are great for a packing consistency. Next, add in a bold scent like garlic or limburger cheese. Finally, layer the scent stream by adding in other items like peanut butter, vanilla extract, wet dog food or anise oil.

Blend all the ingredients together into the shape of a ball. Place the mixture into a sealed container to take with you fishing. You can take out small amounts at a time and roll the bait into a ball for your hook adding a little water if needed for shaping.

The Basic Doughball

While some of the best homemade catfish bait is also the smelliest, a basic doughball can work quite well. Stick to the recipe above but only use the base ingredient and form into a doughball. The best basic doughball ingredient is a fiber-rich flake cereal. These doughballs hold together nicely, without the stink, and dissolve slowly in the water.


How to Catch Catfish

Now that you have your homemade bait, it’s time to put it to the test. Homemade catfish bait is best used from the shoreline where you can cast and leave it sitting on the bottom. Early mornings and late nights are the best times to fish for catfish when they are on the prowl feeding. See how your bait works and if needed, you can adjust the ingredients in the next batch.

The important thing to remember is to have fun experimenting to create your own secret homemade recipe.

Anietra Hamper
Anietra Hamper
Anietra Hamper is a career television news anchor and investigative journalist turned award-winning travel writer, book author and speaker specializing in fishing and outdoor adventure. She travels the world fishing for unique species and is passionate about introducing others to angling and the outdoors.