8 best catfish baits - Catch catfish - Blue, flathead and channel catfish

Hi, Luke Here with and I am going to show my top 8 favorite catfish baits

and walk you through their pro’s and con’s. Over the years I have been very fortunate

to catch a lot of great catfish from bank and from boat, from lake and from rivers.

And I have learned a few things about bait. First off, there is no bait that works good

in every single situation. Different types of catfish and different types of water require

different types of bait. And while shad may catch much bigger blue catfish than chicken

livers, there is a time when you want to use chicken livers and not shad. And there is

a time when hotdogs works better. And there is a time when worms work betters and there

are times when they don’t Now obviously there are many catfish baits

out there, but to make my top 8 this must be a bait that consistently catches catfish

in many different places and many different times of year. I also wanted baits that work

well for the different types of catfish: channel catfish, blue catfish, white catfish, flathead

catfish and bullheads. To make the list, a bait must also be easy

to find. For instance, cicadas are an awesome channel catfish bait, but I didn’t put cicadas

on the list because they are not available most of the time. Live eels are another great

catfish bait that didn’t make the lists, because they are only found in certain bodies

of water and only a few states allow you to fish with eels.

Number 1: Number one on the list is schooling bait fish.

When I say schooling bait fish I am talking about. Gizzard shad, threadfin shad, American

shad, hickory shad, skipjack, herring, mooneye and golden eye.

Large schools of bait fish are a key ingredient in growing large catfish. Almost every body

of water that contains trophy sized catfish also contains large schools of bait fish.

And the size and population of the bait are linked to the size of the catfish.

The James River in Virginia produces insane numbers of trophy catfish. 60-80 lb catfish

are regularly caught and many catfish guides on the James will give you half your money

back if you don’t catch a 30lber or bigger. The James River produces huge numbers of trophy

blue catfish because the river contains huge schools of massive gizzard shad as well as

hickory shad, American shad and herring. The gizzard shad on the James River are also much

larger than the average gizzard shad, normally 1-3 lbs each. Big shad make big catfish.

In places where there are lots of schooling bait fish, the catfish start their lives eating

anything they can fit in their mouths. But as the catfish grow, more and more of their

diet becomes these schooling baitfish. In many rivers school baitfish make up 90% of

the trophy catfish’s diet. Large catfish, choose locations based on their

access to these bait fish, and that is what they are looking for and that is what they

are feeding on. Fresh caught baitfish produces more trophy catfish than any other catfish

bait. Schooling bait fish are also easy to catch

in large numbers. Throwing a cast net is the most common way to catch these fish. In some

places gill nets are allowed. Snagging, Dip nets and an umbrella nets can also be used

effectively where it is legal. Usually, I can catch all the shad I need for the day

in 30 minutes of less. For more information about catching and freezing shad for catfishing

check out this video. Mooneye, Golden eye, herring, American shad

and Hickory shad will actually bite a hook. Sabiki rigs, small twisty tailed grubs and

shad darts are popular lures. Small chunks of worms or crickets under a bobbers can work

good for mooneye and golden eye. Steve Douglas has a great video demonstrating how to catch

mooneye with bait and a bobber. The biggest down side to these bait fish is

that many of them are particularly fragile and are hard to keep alive if you want to

use them for live bait. For instance, usually about half your gizzard shad will die in the

live well within an hour or two of catching them unless you are extremely careful and

have a large well oxygenated live well. There are some commercially available additives

that you can place in your live well to keep these fish alive longer.

Number 2: Spinney bait fish. Spinney bait fish are fish that have spinney

dorsal fins, like blue gill, sunfish, pumpkin seed, white bass and bullheads.

These bait fish are easy to catch. They work as bait in almost any place that has big catfish

and they are all very tough so they make excellent live bait. These types of live bait fish will

catch all four species of catfish, the only difference is the preferred sizes. Because

live bait is so popular with flathead fisherman, many flathead guides prefer spinney bait fish

over more fragile bait fish, like shad. The best ways to catch spinney bait fish is

with a rod and a reel. A little bait under a bobber can get you a ton of bream. Check

out this other video for information about catching bluegill on slim jims and how to

keep them alive for catfishing. Fish traps, like this four leaf clover trap

can also catch a load of blue gill. We also have a great instructional video about how

to make your own four leaf clover trap. The biggest downside to live bait is that

prep time in catching it and keeping it alive. And when using live bait make sure you obey

local laws and catch your bait from the same body of water where you will be fishing so

as to avoid spreading diseases, parasites of introducing non native fish.

Number 3: Rough fish. Rough fish are non-sports fish that aren’t

commonly fished for. Carp, goldfish, suckers, quillbacks, carp suckers, fall fish, chubs

and buffalo. These fish make fabulous live bait and they tend to draw in really big flatheads.

On average, most of these fish can get pretty big, so you have a range of sizes to choose

from. You can use a baby carp that is only 4 inches long or you can fish for trophy flatheads

with a 4 lb live carp. However, this variation in size can also be

a problem. Not only do you have to catch your bait, but you have to catch them in the correct

size. If you are fishing for 4 to 5 lb channel catfish, you don’t want a 10” fish. You

want something a few inches long. Additionally, these fish tend not to be schooled

up or thickly concentrated so it can take a long time to catch enough bait. I usually

need about 12 fish to go night fishing with live bait. It takes me less than 30 minutes

to catch 12 shad, but it can take me an entire day to find that many fall fish or baby carp.

Rough fish can be caught using rod and reel, cast nets, seines, and fish traps. In rivers

where there are lots of fall fish, I like to use a small white soft plastic minnow on

an ultra light rod. I find that worms or a seine net work best for suckers. Buffalo and

carp can be caught on sweet corn or cast nets. Because these most rough fish don’t have

spines and they are bigger than most bait fish, I think catfish prefer these fish over

blue gills or white bass, but because these fish are harder to consistently catch and

keep alive, they are not a bait source that most of us can rely on.

Number 4 Boilies Boilies are small boilied balls of bait that

are used by carp fisherman and European catfisherman. Unlike a lot of American catfish baits, boilies

are not messy and generally non-perishable. Boilies come in all flavors and a variety

of sizes. Boilies are so effective, that most US carp

fisherman have trouble keeping catfish off their hooks long enough to catch a carp. My

favorite boilie flavors are Crab & Crayfish, Halibut and plum.

The biggest down side to boilies is their cost (About $5-$10 for a 2 Kg bag). You can

make your own boilies or buy them online and I will include links in this video’s description.

Generally boilies are attached to your hook with a hair rig, a baiting needle and a bait

stop. I have several videos showing how to tie a hair rig and how to attach a boilie.

Boilie work incredibly well for channel catfish and small blue catfish, but occasionally they

will work for flatheads too. I caught this 53 lb flathead on a single boilie.

Number 5: Boilied feed corn. Boilied feed corn is great for nice channel

cats and small blue catfish. Boilied feed corn is super cheap. I can buy a 50 lb bag

of dried feed corn for $12. That 50 lb bag will make about 200 lbs of wet bait. That

is a lot of catfish bait. To prepare feed corn, simply soak it for 12

hours and then boil it until it squishes between your fingers. I then chum piles of feed corn

and cast a small #1 to #4 hook with two kernels of corn on it. A hair rig also work really

well when fishing with feed corn. I catch a lot of carp and catfish with this

technique. Some people like to ferment their corn first,

but I prefer it fresh. Sour wheat, is a very similar chum. Its soaked

and fermented wheat or barely grain that is used a catfish chum. I prefer corn because

it’s cheaper and you can use it as a hook bait as well as a chum but wheat does work

really well also. The biggest downside to this bait is the preparation

to make it and the fact that it tends to not work well for bullheads or flatheads or large

blue catfish. Number 6: Chicken Liver

Chicken livers are a classic bait for channel catfish and small to medium sized blue catfish.

Chicken liver really puts out a strong scent trail and it catches a lot of fish. The biggest

problems with liver are that they come off the hook so easily. Some people prefer rooster

liver or beef liver because it’s a little bit tougher though harder to find. You can

prevent chicken liver from coming off the hook by using bait bags, surgical gauze, panty

hose, curing the liver, bait thread or even a the egg loop knot. For more information

watch our video on the 6 best ways to keep liver on the hook.

Chicken livers are also extremely perishable, they go rancid quite quickly so if I don’t

end up using the liver pretty quickly I end up throwing it out. Some people like to ferment

their livers but my experience is that it is just a great way to make a huge mess without

making your bait any better. Number 7: is Hot dogs.

Hot dogs are a really nice channel catfish bait without the mess or perishability of

chicken liver. They also stay on the hook better. However, I don’t think hotdogs are

as consistently good as chicken liver or these other bait and they tend to catch smaller

catfish. I like to cut up my hot dogs into sections

and marinate them in jello mix and garlic powder. This toughens, preserves and flavors

the hot dogs a little bit better. Number 8: Earthworms

Earthworms are fabulous for bullheads and small channel catfish but their biggest problem

is that all fish love earthworms. You end up losing a lot of bait to bluegill, trout,

bass, perch and really tiny catfish. Paying for your earthworms can also be a big downer,

but if you want to learn how to catch your own earthworms check out some of our videos

about catching earthworms with dish soap, walnuts, electricity or grunting.

Well any rate, I hope this list of my top 8 catfish baits gives you some ideas but I

also hope it gets you thinking about mixing up your baiting routine. There is a time and

a place for almost every catfish bait, and the trick it not to only use one bait, but

to learn when and where to use each of the different baits.

Thanks for watching and if you want to see more videos from the Catfish and Carp YouTube

channel check out How to catch catfish with boilies and How to catch tons of blue gill

with slim jims. Thanks for watching and don’t forget to click “Subscribe”.