What is the best bait to use for catfish?

Any suggestions for the best baits to use when fishing for Catfish?

There are several types of bait that can be used to catch Catfish. For the beginner, my suggestion is that you keep it simple. Young catfish are not finicky and will tend to feed on just about anything you can put in front of them, as a catfish ages, however, they seem to prefer other fish more often than not. In most cases, you’ll find that the most effective bait for the older and thereby larger catfish will be panfish, minnows, shrimp and cut bait. These baits are also the least expensive choice for the beginner. You can either catch your own or purchase them at a bait shop. Other choices among catfish fishermen include chicken liver, crawdads, live perch and crappie, grasshoppers, worms, minnows, bread dough, corn, hot dogs, bologna, salami, and even green peas.

Crawdads are actually one of the main sources of food for the catfish, you can either use live crawdads or just the meat from the tail. The downside to using crawdads is the fact that they don’t stay on the hook very well. Perch and Crappie are best used for catching Flathead Catfish and minnows work well all year round. The downside to fishing with minnows, however, is that will attract bass as well. Using dead minnows instead of live minnows will help eliminate this problem if you run into it.


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

4 Responses to “What is the best bait to use for catfish?”

  1. I heard that fish heads work will for fish bait

  2. Joseph Cole says:

    I keep using 8″ bluegill/sunfish in the early morning and evening with a 4/0 hook, which every time I do, my heavy action rod bends way down and I hook the fish, but my 65 lb. braided line keeps snapping when the fish jerks real hard. I’ve never dealt with a fish this strong before, and I need some help to pull this thing in. Any ideas?

  3. Joe says:

    what kind of catfish you fishing for,i like to use asian carp cut bait works real good

  4. Daniel says:

    loosin the real and make it easy for the fish to get slack if it starts thrashing about. playaround with it make the Catfish tired, It may take a while. then you can start to slowly real it in.

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