If you have been fishing for years you probably have some of your own favorite catfishing baits. You know the ones. Those that you use most often because you have confidence in them. The ones you don’t share with your buddies. The ones you have caught the most and the biggest catfish with. Excellent! But sharing some of your secrets may get you some better or new fishing buddies once they experience the thrill of catching a nice fish with your baits. And they might start believing your stories. This article is going to discuss some of them so they are not so secret anymore.
Catfish are omnivores meaning they eat a variety of things. Unlike tuna that typically eat only living, moving types of bait like anchovies, sardines and mackerel catfish are not so picky. Catfish eat pretty much whatever smells and tastes good to them. Living or not. They are mostly scavengers searching the bottom of whatever waters they live in. They clean up what is dead, dying or leftovers from other animals’ meals.
That is not to say that catfish do not enjoy live bait. Smaller baitfish, worms, insects, frogs and most anything in or around their environment is fair game. If you can catch live bait by all means use it if live bait fishing is permitted. The thing is catfish have a very keen sense of smell and will eat things that other animals around them won’t. Using their sense of smell to your advantage will help you catch more and bigger fish.
Ask anyone who targets these fish and they will tell you that the “stinkier” your bait the “better”. Chicken livers are a favorite. Chicken livers left out in a covered container in the sun for a few days is even better if you can stand the smell as you put them on a hook. Pretty much any animal flesh that is left to rot is a good choice if the local laws allow.
Shrimp is a good bait that is somewhat a secret. Again if you can let it get a little “ripe” it can work better. Buy the uncooked shrimp at the market. Fresh or frozen whichever is the cheapest. Some anglers swear that leaving the shells on works the best and others say removing the shells is the ticket. Experiment yourself to see what works best in the waters you fish.
Frozen anchovies, sardines or mackerel chunked or whole is another good choice that is not discussed often. Many tackle store carry these frozen baits but you may have to ask the clerk or manager if they keep it in the back. Anchovies are usually small enough that you do not have to chunk them. One trick is to slice the side of the…