Are you just getting started catfishing? Or, maybe you need some ideas for new catfish baits to try. Check out these 13 best catfish bait ideas to get yourself on the right track. Catfish are opportunistic eaters and will strike just about anything from soft plastics to live fish. Consider trying one of these catfish baits on your next outing.

The Chum Bucket

    Magic Bait Dinner Bell Fish Chum
    Magic Bait’s fish chum is an easy to use and versatile product. You can use it to find small hungry channel catfish, or you can even use it when searching for baitfish to target those more sizable blue and flathead catfish.

Magic’s chum formula will help you attract catfish out of their hiding holes. This bait comes ready-to-use right out of the package, so all you have to do is ball it up, toss the chum in the water you’re fishing, and cast your line into the cloud of chum.

Skip the Dip Tube

    Yeh Monn! Freshwater Catfish Bait
    Skip the mess of traditional catfish baits, and try out Yeh Monn's alternative catfish bait. This bait features a fiber mesh base designed to withstand multiple strikes. Yeh Monn's is available in various flavors like crayfish, shad, and worm.

Yeh Monn’s catfish bait is clean and easy to handle and doesn’t stink up your boat. To use this bait, cut a two-inch piece off, hook it, and cast it out into the water. This scented bait isn’t overbearingly smelly, and it won’t dissolve in your hands.

Pass the Liver

A pile of raw liver

Chicken livers are a versatile bait for catfish. You can hook them as is or throw them in the blender to make homemade bait. Some catfish anglers don’t like using chicken livers because they tend to fall off your hook; however, you can prevent that by hardening them in a manufactured bait cure or tossing them in a bag with some powdered Kool-Aid or a box of jello. When you hook your livers, make sure to pack them onto your hook the best you can.

Ditch the Bobber

    Catfish Sumo Threadfin Shad Rattling Line Floats
    Catfish Sumo’s rattling line floats are durable, and its loud rattle will help bring out a catfish’s predatorial instincts. These floats work great on a Santee rig or any other rig you choose with its three different built-in attachment points.

Are you tired of wasting money on foam fish bobbers that end up deteriorating over time? This heavy-duty rattling line float by Catfish Sumo replaces the old foam fish bobber on your Santee rig and can endure a strike from trophy-sized catfish.

Wiggly Worms

    Berkley Gulp! Brown 4-inch Earthworms
    Berkley's scented brown four-inch plastic earthworms are a convenient and effective bait to use for targetting those hungry channel and bullhead catfish.

Don’t feel like buying live worms at the store? Berkley’s brown four-inch soft plastic earthworms take out the hassle from dealing with live worms, and you can easily pack these worms onto a hook at the end of a slip bobber rig.

Blood Bait

    Mr. Whisker's Blood Catfish Punch Bait
    Mr. Whisker's punch bait is the everlasting bait you can either fish along the bottom or just below the surface. It's even available in gallon-sized buckets, making it a great bait option when you're running multiple lines like juglines, bank poles, or trotlines.

Mr. Whisker’s blood punch bait saves you the time and nausea from making homemade blood bait. Mr. Whisker’s also carries a cheese flavored punch bait that the channel cats will tear up.

Shimmering Shads

Shimmering shads swimming behind glass

Shad is one of my favorite catfish baits to use because they’re effective for catching catfish of all sizes, whether you use them as live bait or cut bait.

In the summertime, whenever you see schools of shad, you are sure also to find a hungry blue catfish ready to pounce. When using shad as live bait, I recommend hooking them through the eyeball or right below the dorsal fin. You can also cut their bellies with a fillet knife and let their guts hang out as an added attractant.

Budget-Friendly Dip Bait

    Catfish Charlie's Dip Bait Variety
    Catfish Charlie's dip bait is an affordable, good-quality stink bait rich in texture and adheres well to bait holders. Dip bait is excellent for drawing in channel catfish under ten pounds.

Catfish Charlie’s dip bait is relatively inexpensive, and your purchase comes in a pack with three different flavors: blood, shad, and cheese. It’s also easy to store and requires no refrigeration whatsoever. This Dip bait is most effective when used with dip tubes, worms, and other soft bait holders.

Since Charlie’s dip bait is such a budget-friendly option, I would recommend this to those catfish anglers who are still learning how to use dip bait. Mainly because you’ll be able to practice out of three different pints to help speed up the learning curve.

Fiber Punch Bait

    Team Catfish Sudden Impact
    Team Catfish's fiber-enriched ingredients create a punch bait tough enough to eliminate the use of soft bait holders. Its name, Sudden Impact, implies its smell is intense enough to lure in a hungry channel catfish once this stuff hits the water.

Team catfish brings another fantastic bait to the catfishing world. The foundation of the Sudden Impact punch bait is loaded with fibers to create a strong enough bond, making it capable of sticking to bare treble hooks. You heard me right; there’s no need to use a soft bait holder with this stuff.

Spoiled Shrimp

Shrimp on a plate

The best kind of shrimp to buy for catfishing is whole, raw, uncooked shrimp. If you want to make your shrimp more effective, make sure to let it spoil in the sunlight for a week or two before taking your bait out fishing. The best way to hook shrimp onto your hook is to pinch off the tail and sink your hook through the bottom and push the hook out the shrimp’s back.

Deep Diving Crankbaits

    Bandit Series 300 Crankbait
    The Bandit 300 series isn't just notorious for catching bass and crappie, but it is also a surprisingly effective catfishing lure. Fishing with a crankbait gives the more experienced catfish anglers an added challenge to the sport.

You’d be surprised how many bass anglers catch catfish on deep diving crankbaits. The Bandit 300 series crankbait can dive down to 12-feet, and the vibrations produced by the crankbait mimics the sound of prey fish to a catfish. When fishing for catfish with a crankbait, make sure to fish in clear waters with deep water channels or areas with structures where flatheads are likely to hang out.

Catfish Corn

    Whole Corn Feed for Wildlife
    Channel catfish love the taste of feed corn, and it's so easy to use. Just soak it overnight, then boil it, and then you're ready to go fishing! You can chum the waters with corn and then cast out towards your corn-filled chum cloud.

Corn isn’t just an excellent bait for attracting deer and wild turkeys, but it is also an effective baiting method for catfish. You can even use the same feed corn you would use for deer for catfish. However, for catfish, make sure not to use raw kernels because they can’t properly digest them. Instead, soak your feed corn overnight, and then boil it for several hours until it is soft enough to crush with your fingers but still tough enough to stay on your hook. Plus, feed corn is bulkier than store-bought sweet corn, so it’s unlikely the baitfish will strike at it.

Bloody Tasty Bait Chunks

    Berkley Gulp! Catfish Chunks
    Berkley Gulp! is known for making quality soft baits. You can buy these catfish chunks in a blood or liver flavor. Plus, they are proven to be durable and will stay on your hook longer than your traditional natural chicken liver would.

Berkley’s blood catfish bait chunks feature an enhanced scent dispersion performance to increase your strike zone for channel and bullhead catfish. These chunks are also durable and won’t dissolve off your hook quickly. Also, channel catfish go nuts over this soft bait when fished in the right conditions.

Which of These Catfish Bait Ideas Are Best for You?

If you’re still scratching your brain, trying to figure out which of these baits you should use, well, I would suggest picking the one that best suits your fishing needs. Do you plan on going fishing frequently and need something affordable you can buy in large quantities? Then, opt-in for the Mr. Whiskers blood bait in a gallon-sized tub or a 10-pound bag of feed corn. Are you already an experienced catfish angler that needs more of a challenge? Then, try using deep diving crankbaits like the bandit series 300 for the added difficulty.

Which of these baits do you look forward to adding to your catfishing arsenal? Let us know in the comments below. Or, do you already have experience with fishing with some of these baits? Let us know which one worked best for you. Do you think your fishing buddy needs to update his catfishing baits? Pass this article on to him by clicking that handy dandy share button.

As always, stay safe and fish on, everyone!