Many people love to fish catfish simply because you can catch some giant 30lb plus catfish. Many fishers will agree there is not a better feeling than reeling in a HUGE catfish. The best bait for fishing catfish will of course depend on the species and size of the catfish. They are just like all the other fish, the best bait for fishing catfish will vary, meaning one day catfish might be biting on something all day long, and then the next day not bite it at all. Knowing that it would be wise to experiment with a couple of different baits we have listed below. Catfish feed on small and taste, there are many options when picking a bait for catfish such as hotdogs or even clams. Despite the wide range of baits, we will list the three best baits for fishing catfish.

  • Shad – If you’re aiming to catch a big catfish shad is your best bait for fishing catfish. Adult catfish mostly feed on live fish, shad being their favorite. Channel catfish prefer the shad to be cut into small strips (excluding tail and head). The most popular setup for shad is using a carolina rig with a big barrel to keep it on the bottom. If you’re fishing for flathead catfish the shad needs to be alive and around the size of your palm.
  • Chicken Liver – Chicken liver is probably one of the most known baits for fishing catfish. The only reason this isn’t the number one best bait for fishing catfish is because chicken liver does not tend to catch many huge catfish, although catching 10lb catfish is common, catching a 20lb catfish on liver is not. If you decide to use liver as your bait you will need to use a treble hook, otherwise you will have a hard time making the liver stay on the hook.
  • Dips – Dip baits usually have a horrible smell, making it irresistible to catfish. Dip baits will work best when their is a steady water current because particles of the bait will attract catfish to it. The main downside of using dip bait is that it’s nearly impossible to get it to stay on a hook. You will have to constantly be reeling in just to see if there is still bait on your hook!
 

Best Bait for Fishing Catfish: Tips

Sometimes you will have some bad fishing days even while using the best bait for fishing catfish, these tips will help you fix your problem!

Catfish are considered to be more active feeders in the night or early morning. During the daytime they will be hiding under debris or logs, they still can be caught but will not be as active. Try different sections of the lake/pond, catfish tend to be together in groups. Spend at least 20 minutes in one spot before switching spots. Catfish usually lay and swim near the bottom rock, but during overcast days they can be found near the top.

It is very important to switch out your bait often! Many beginner fishers make the mistake of using the same bait for hours. The longer your bait is in the water, the weaker it becomes. I would highly recommend changing your bait every 15-20 minutes. If you’re still not having any luck you’re probably using the wrong type of bait, flathead catfish will ONLY go after live baits.

Check out the best bait for fishing Crappie, Bass, Carp, Bluegills!

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