The Best Live Bait For Catfish

What type of live bait is the best to use for Catfish?

First off, catfish will eat about anything.  I have heard of catfishers coming up with some crazy recipes for their bait.  They’re not picky, but they really like stuff that smells.  Because catfish prowl around on the bottom, they use their sense of smell more than sight.

Catfish seem to like chicken livers.  I’ve known lots of people who have success with them, but they’re hard to get onto the hook just right.  Drier, store-bought livers are easy to get on the hook, but they seem to like the fresher, softer ones better.

Catfish also like stuff like shrimp and tuna.  They give off that seafood smell that naturally attracts them.  Catfish especially love other fish, and they’ll even eat smaller catfish!  You might also try something like fish heads.

Fish are a little tricky to get on there just right without killing them.  You have to get the hook through the lips so that it will stay on there, but will stay alive and wiggle for a while.  It might take some practice to get this technique down.

Any kind of live bait will work, such as nightcrawlers, meal worms, crickets and so forth.  Just remember to rotate your bait if you’re fishing in the same spot.  Catfish get used to it if you use the same stuff.  It’s also good to test out some different things and see what works best.  Catfish in different areas, and even in different parts of a lake or river, will have different tastes.


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

One Response to “The Best Live Bait For Catfish”

  1. bigL says:

    Sometimes it helps to thread a liver on a round/octopus hook and cork the tip of the hook with a cocktail shrimp. This keeps the smaller channels and bull heads from nibbling off your liver before the bigger ones get to it. And if they go for the shrimp, they get hooked anyway

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