Catfish baits and lures

Is any one type of lure preferred by the Catfish?

Picking the “best” bait for catfish is a matter of scoring on three points: First, does it really smell, a lot? Second, is it essentially natural in source? Finally, are the cats you’re chasing conditioned to it at all? In every case, the best general baits for catfish are those that give off a considerable odour, are natural in source, and are something the local cats are used to tinking of as food. Let’s go a bit deeper, here. Catfish have very poor eyesight, living mostly in deep water, or murky water, but in place of their eyesight, they have incredible olfactory senses (sense of smell), and specially-developed barbels, which act as both tactile and taste sensors, and so, cats are super-well adapted to life in darkness. This means that baits that really smell are the ones that get noticed. Next, although smaller cats will often eat just about anything they find, bigger, more catch-worthy prospects are much pickier, and tend to eat dead fish, or fish-based foods, almost exclusively, so natural is always good, because cats are inherently used to looking for these types of foods. Live fish baits will often work, also, but the general concensus seems to be that bait is better dead, than alive, where cats are concerned. If you don’t have fish, use shrimp, chicken livers, worms, slugs, frogs… natural, more or less ordinary food for a big cat. The final point, conditioning, is a result of the cats in an area having simply no recognition of your bait as a food item, and so, passing it by, while they search for recognizeable food. The solution, is chumming, using a prepared chum mixture which contains parts of the bait you are presenting on your hook, and covering the fishing area consistently enough to make the chum a regular feature there. Once the cats get used to the smell, and then finally come upon your big chunk of now-recognizeable, smelly food, it’s a done deal.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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