For the most part, catfish are opportunistic feeders and have been known to eat some very unusual baits. Unless they are targeting a certain catfish species, they are open to putting a wide range of meals in their bellies. Catfish have been known to eat dog food, bubblegum, marshmallows, and Ivory™ soap. More popular baits include nightcrawlers, crickets, liver, shad, herring, bream, perch, nuts and fruits, crawfish, eel, manmade baits, and for flatheads, anything that moves that they can fit into their mouth. The best catfish baits are not necessarily those that knock buzzards off manure wagons, and it doesn’t have to be decaying roadkill to work; not to say a dead piece of possum would not. We have found that catfish like a strong smell, and not necessarily bad strong. They are quite fond of sweet strong (marshmallows), spice strong (garlic), cheese strong (blue), and strong fatty oils (blood).
A good rule of thumb is to ‘match the hatch’. Take some time to figure out if there is something in particular that they are feeding on. We mentioned catfish following schools of feeding stripers to take advantage of free offerings that float down from the frenzy. Every spring several varieties of shad and herring make migrational runs up major rivers, and the big catfish follow. In early Fall, as unharvested blackberries fall into small streams, channel and bullhead cats congregate to take advantage of a sweet treat.
One of our favorite catfish baits is Bait Binder ‘CATFISH CUBES’. For many years, the liver has been one of the go-to baits for catfish; seldom will they ever turn down a liver offering. One of the main issues with the liver is that it requires some work to get it to stay on the hook. Otherwise, you will spend more time launching your liver skyward instead of towards the catfish. People will dry the liver in the sun to toughen the texture, use cheesecloth, or even raid their wife’s pantyhose drawer in an attempt to get the liver to stay put. ‘CATFISH CUBES’ eliminate that problem. THEY WILL NOT COME OFF THE HOOK! We take 100% pure liver, cube it, and put it through a patenting drying process. The resulting non-perishable ‘CATFISH CUBES’ are packaged in several ‘tried and true’ favorite catfish flavors. Simply add water, shake thoroughly, let them soak up the flavors for at least 20 minutes, and ‘Get Catfishing’. You will never have to worry about losing your bait before catching a catfish with Bait Binder ‘CATFISH CUBES’.
When deciding on the best catfish bait, the best piece of advice may be to not over-complicate your decision process. What works for one species may or not work for another, and a successful bait for one day may not work the following week. Be willing to bend and try different things. ‘CATFISH CUBES’ are always a good start.
Be willing to try new catfishing techniques. Step out of that comfort zone and go drift fishing one afternoon; you will cover a lot more water. Visit a dam tailrace and fish from the bank; you will enjoy the sound of the water and the frequent non-stop action this type of fishing offers. And don’t be too proud to hire a guide to take you out. This can be one off the most informative ways to gather valuable catfishing knowledge. Any good catfish article wouldn’t be complete without a few popular clichés. “There are some catfish down there bigger than a Volkswagen bus!” While this might not be exactly true, the potential is there every time you go to catch a 100-pounder. “A good day of fishing beats a bad day at work.” This one speaks for itself. “They don’t call it catching.” One of the more aggravating sayings about all types of fishing but true, nonetheless. The variables that lie between successful days fishing and those outings with no bites are limitless. Do your research and remember that every day may not produce a limit, but every outing will be a unique and fun memory. And perhaps my favorite, “Fish do not rise to the fly in the graveyard.” Remember, the good Lord has only blessed us with a precious few days to get out on the water and enjoy the remarkable sport of fishing. Get your kids and loved ones together, be safe, One of my favorite activities growing up was on Lake Greenwood in South Carolina. Get your kids and loved ones together, be safe, and ‘GET CATFISHING’!