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Best Bait For Catfish – A Common Sense Approach

So, what is the Best Bait For Catfish? I will tell you… I have been building bait fish traps here in Texas for about the past six years, and we send these traps all over the United States and even into Canada. If a trap exists… I have seen it and have most likely built it. Outside of building traps, I have been fishing my entire life. Some of my earliest memories involve running trotlines on Sam Rayburn with my stepdad, and constantly fighting with our old Evinrude outboard (that’s another story though). I can safely say that I have been around catfish my entire life, and there are plenty of pics here on our site and on our Facebook page that will give me just a little “street-cred.”

Over the past six years, and well… forever really, a common question or theme going around the catfish scene is what is the “best catfish bait” out there? If you fish for catfish, then I’m sure you’ve wondered the same… and possibly even Googled it. As a matter of fact, a recent Google search came up with 1.3 million (yes million) results for the “best catfish bait.” See image below….

Do you realize what this means? There are 1.3 million sites out there that would like your attention for the best bait for catfish Not all, but many of these are sales pitches that claim that you will certainly catch the most catfish if you would just buy their punch baits, fiber baits, dip baits, scented chicken livers, or hot-dog weeny things. Catfishing is a big market, and lots of companies spend a lot of money to get their mediocre baits in front of fisher. But which is the absolute best?

The Common Sense Approach… Best Bait For Catfish

Let’s think about this logically. What did catfish do before man started manufacturing stink baits? How did they survive… it must have been tough, right?!? Some fossil records indicate that catfish have been around since the Late Cretaceous – Early Tertiary time period. That’s about 60 (plus or minus a few) million years ago, and a long-long time before man.

So what did catfish eat, and how did they live? Despite the old saying that catfish are “scavengers”; catfish are predators! Ever catch one on a spinner bait or rattle trap? They must have accidentally been hooked right. =) Nope… they are predators, and common sense says that for the millions of years they’ve existed that they ate what was around them and what was available to them.

If you take anything from this blog post, take this… there’s no “best” bait for catfish and no magic bullet that will catch you more fish. It doesn’t exist… so save your money. This means that if you truly want to catch more catfish, then you need to be using what is natural in their environment. For example, if you live in a lake with lots of Shad and Sunfish, then you will always catch more fish using sunfish and shad than you will any other bait.

Can you catch a lot of fish on the manufactured stuff? Of course… I mean the industry is huge for a reason, right? However, if you want to absolutely tear the fish up… I mean fill your boat up with 500+ lbs (this actually isn’t that much for us on Toldeo Bend =p) off a trotline, then you are going to have to use what naturally occurs in that environment. For this reason, pretty much the only baits we use while running trotlines here in Texas are perch (sunfish) and shad. Sure, we will occasionally throw some weenies or cut up cow tongue on a hook if we don’t have time to properly set our traps, but our “go-to” bait is always some type of bait fish.

If you want to absolutely tear the catfish up, then I suggest that you do the same as well. In the long run, you will always save money (and catch more fish) by buying/building some traps or purchasing a cast net for shad. Sure, traps and nets are more expensive that punch baits… but again, this is in the long run. Traps and nets will pay for themselves over and over before that punch bait does.


My advice, if you want to use the best best bait for catfish available to you, then invest in a good trap or cast net before your next outing. Am I saying buy one from us? Not necessarily. You may find one locally or be handy enough to build one your own. Either way, trapping and netting is definitely the way to go. And if you do need a good trap, check out this SHORT VIDEO of our new heavy duty cloverleaf model.

I hope this info helps, and if you enjoyed the blog please don’t hesitate to share it. It helps our small company out too. = )


God bless, and tight lines!


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