Homemade Catfish Bait – Top 12 Catfish Bait Recipes

I will be the first to freely admit that my fishing bait knowledge starts and stops with the worms I buy at the local bait store.   So when I decided that I wanted to learn more about fishing for catfish I thought I better do some research on the best homemade catfish bait recipes.

Fishing The Internet For The Best Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes

So searching the interwebs far and wide I found these 12 that seem to be the “best” out there.  My requirements were simple when choosing them.

First, is it easy to make?

Second, does the author provide proof it works?

Third, can I get the ingredients pretty much anywhere?

Fourth, is it easy to make?

The first thing I wanted to know was, what kind of bait do I need or should use to have the best chance of success.

homemade catfish bait

What I found was that there is a short list of the best homemade baits:

Image result for catfish bait

  • chicken liver
  • minnows
  • grasshoppers
  • night crawlers
  • worms
  • live perch
  • shad
  • crawfish
  • stinky baits
  • marshmallows
  • small frogs
  • cheese
  • hot dogs
  • peanut butter

So armed with that I began my search and here are the 12 best homemade catfish bait recipes that I was able to dig up.

Catfish Bait Recipe #1: Father's Recipe

Here are some of the things you’ll need in regards to how to make your own catfish bait or at least the best homemade catfish bait:

  • 1 1/2 c. Livers (Chicken, Deer, Cow, whatever you have)
  • 1/4 c. Flour
  • 2-3 T. Garlic Salt
  • 1 Sardine & 2 T. Sardine Oil (from the can)
  • 2 tsp Strawberry Jello
  • 1 egg

You should blend the liver until it becomes a liquid, then empty it into a clean PLASTIC peanut butter jar and add the remaining ingredients. Stir well until thick. Cover.

Do NOT open indoors. You should allow the bait to sit for at least forty-eight hours. Remember, the rawer, the better.

I love the above recipe for its simplicity, and the author says that it definitely does its job of catching plenty of catfish.

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Catfish Bait Recipe #2: Catfish Melange

  1.  Melt 1 pound of cheese (I like to use Velveeta).
  2. Chop up 6 or 8 ounces of chicken liver and add it to the melted cheese.
  3. Add a spoonful of garlic powder, and mix in 1 can of wet dog food… plus about 12 minnows and some flour.
  4. Mix it up in a blender or food processor, put a bit on the end of your hook, and hold on!

Catfish Bait Recipe #3: Catfish Stink Bait Recipe

While it isn’t the best smelling homemade catfish bait out there, it is the most effective.

  • 2 Cans Tuna in Oil
  • 2 Cans Sardines in Mustard
  • ½ lb. Chicken Livers
  • 2 Boxes Stuffing Mix
  • 1 Bag Stuffing Bread

Mix tuna, sardines and chicken livers in a sealable container. Seal and set outside for a week. Remember to place in a secure, raccoon proof location. A week later, outside, mix in stuffing mix and stuffing bread until a thick dough-like consistency is reached. Be sure to use a utensil you will not need in the future or stick to stir the mixture.

Image result for catfish

Catfish Bait Recipe #4: Cajun Catfish Bait

  1. Mix 1 pound of rotten minnows, ½ cup water, ½ cup parmesan cheese, 1 box of jello (cherry is good), 1/4 cup molasses, 3 tablespoons of onion salt, 3 tablespoons of garlic salt, 1 cup of bread crumbs, and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce… all in a blender!
  2. Once it's mixed, put it in a big bowl.
  3. Add flour to it, and work it into a big stinky batch of dough.
  4. Grab a small chunk of the stuff, put it on a #4 treble hook, and drop it down for instant catfish strikes.

Catfish Bait Recipe #5: Lye Soap Catfish Bait Recipe

  • 2 lb. Lard
  • 4.4 oz. Lye (handle with care)
  • 7 oz. Water

While outside or in a well-ventilated area, put the water in a glass bowl and slowly pour in the lye, letting it dissolve. The mixture will heat up as the lye reacts to the water. Let cool till the temperature reaches around 85 degrees. Melt lard and bring the temperature to 90 degrees. Slowly pour the dissolved lye into the lard as you continue to stir. Stir the mixture until it reaches the consistency of thick gravy. Pour into ice cube trays and let set for three days. Cubes should set and able to slide a hook through.

You might have reservations about using lye in your homemade catfish bait, however, the author claims that it is very effective.

Catfish Bait Recipe #6: Old Man Liver

  1. Blend up about a pound of chicken liver, a half box of corn flakes, a half cup of garlic powder, one-third a cup of parmesan cheese, molasses, and sugar.
  2. When it's mixed, put it in some small dishes…then put whatever you're not going to use in a freezer. Of course, it works better if “served” to the catfish fresh.
  3. Add some flour to thicken enough so it will stay on a hook.

Image result for catfish

Catfish Bait Recipe #7: Wheaties Catfish Bait Recipe

  • 4 Cups Wheaties Cereal
  • 1 lb. Hamburger
  • ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic
  • ¼ Cup Cooking Oil (used works better)
  • Water

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl then slowly add water until you reach a doughy consistency.

Catfish Bait Recipe #8: Chicken ‘n' Beer Baiter

  • 3 cups of cornmeal
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of oatmeal
  • 1 full can of beer (the older, the better!)
  • 12 “ripe” minnows, shad, or small tuna (the more oily the better!)
  • 10 ounces of corn syrup
  • A bunch of chicken livers, shrimp. cat food, etc… (whatever else you want to add to “spice” things up!)
  • 1 big container to hold everything
  1. Mix it all together to a consistency like peanut butter. (Add milk or beer to get it to the right consistency.)
  2. Seal the container and let it sit for 2-3 weeks outside…it's all going to rot… BAD. If it thickens up too much, spray with WD-40 and mix it again.

Catfish Bait Recipe #9: Liver Loaf Catfish Bait Recipe

  • 2 Cups Chicken Livers
  • 1 Loaf of Bread
  • ¼ Cup Dark Molasses

Cut the chicken livers into small pieces. Combine molasses and chicken livers into large bowl, adding bread after. Smush together with hands until all ingredients are combined and a formable consistency.

Catfish Bait Recipe #10: “Clean” Catfish Bait

  • A few bars of ivory soap
  • a half cup of sugar
  • a half cup of water
  • 2 or 3 plastic ice trays
  1. Mix the water and sugar in a small pot and dissolve it.
  2. Use a grater to shave some soap into the mixture and heat it all over a low fire. Stir until all the soap is melted.
  3. Use a spoon and fill the ice trays with the soapy/sweet mixture.
  4. Let the soapy mixture in the ice trays cool for just a few minutes, just until it starts to solidify again. Do NOT let it get too solid, or it will break.
  5. Remove the cubes, cut then into smaller bait-size chunks. (remember, don't let it harden all the way or this will be impossible!)
  6. Place the cubes into an air tight container… when ready, put them on single or trable hooks and fish!

Now…if you want to keep things simple just use chunks of Velveeta cheese… or some sort of meaty dog food. Another way is to use chunks of hot dog, put 'em in a jar and cover them with fish oil and minced garlic.

Catfish Bait Recipe #11: Meat and Cheese Catfish Bait Recipe

  • 1 lb. Uncooked Ground Meat (beef, turkey, deer, etc.)
  • 1 Cup Velveta Cheese or American Cheese Slices
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic (preferably minced)
  • Flour

Melt cheese until soft. Combine with meat and garlic and mix until cheese is evenly distributed. Slowly add flour to mixture until you reach a play-dough like consistency. Form into balls. Keeps well in a plastic bag in the freezer.

Catfish Bait Recipe #12: Cream Corn Homemade Catfish Bait Recipe

  • 1 Can Cream Corn
  • ¼ Cup Leftover Grease (bacon drippings, hamburger grease, etc.)
  • 2 Cups Corn Meal
  • 1 Cup Oats
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

Mix cream corn and grease. Heat until warm and grease melts. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Pour corn and grease mixture into dry ingredients. Mix together well and form balls to your desired size.

Where I found these homemade catfish bait recipes:

Tell me what you think, do you have your own favorite catfish bait you want to share?


Written by Jeffrey Webb

I’ve been a consultant in the oil industry for most of my professional life. Since retiring a few years back, I’ve been spending my time traveling the world with my wife. I have always had a passion for travel and living abroad— maybe from working in oil fields all over the world? I guess it’s hard to settle down and do nothing after all these years.

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