Apart from trout, panfish, and bass, catfish are most popular among angling enthusiasts. Even beginners manage to catch catfish. In the US, the supply is plentiful, as catfish thrive in lakes, reservoirs, lakes, and ponds.
Thanks to their heightened sense of smell, their ability to sense vibrations and their adaptability to water quality, choosing the right catfish bait is crucial. Over the years, fishing enthusiasts have taken advantage of this fish’s sharp sense of smell and gone on to provide what are called “stinkbait.” Using a wide variety of ingredients, catfish bait producers have wiggled their way to this species’ heart.
Today, you can get a wide variety of catfish bait, so you won’t have to go searching for worms or even frogs to catch a catfish. What’s more, unlike some natural bait, these here do not fall off the hook or disintegrate in the water.
This article looks at the best catfish bait to provide you with a good starting point and a sure recipe for success. Aside from catfish bait reviews, we furnish you with comparisons, a buyer’s guide as well as a FAQ section.
What’s more, we give you our verdict on the best catfish bait question. So, let’s begin with precisely that.
The Quick Answer
This was a close contest between the Berkley Gulp Catfish Chunks and the Team Catfish Secret 7 Catfish Bait. Both are excellent baits from companies that have spent many years coming up with the perfect catfish bait recipes.
The Berkley Gulp Catfish Chunks are available in 5-ounce packs, so you won’t have a big outlay when you buy them. Resembling dough balls, the company produces chunks with different flavors. Because of the convenient size, they are very easy to attach to your hook. What’s more, it seems catfish do adore the taste!
In contrast, Team Catfish provide their SECRET 7 catfish bait in 64-ounce tubs which will last you a long time. The company bought the recipe for this bait from a retired chemist who had spent 17 years perfecting the recipe. What you get here is a sticky, catfish attractant-packed bait, loved by catfish just as much as the Berkley Gulp.
Our Catfish Bait Comparison
Before reviewing each of our best catfish bait, let’s compare the main product features of each:
|Ease of Use
|Magic Great Scott Cheese Dough
|Cheesy dough bait
|Cheese and liver
|Suitable for rod, reel, cane poles, trout lines, and jug fishing
|Magic Big Bite Chicken Blood Catfish Bait
|Paste, bait holder needed
|Suitable for freshwater and saltwater catfish angling
|Berkley PowerBait Power Honey Worm
|Artificial worms with honey flavor
|3.5 ounces, worms measure 1 inch in length
|Suitable for catfish, trout, panfish, etc.
|Berkley Gulp Catfish Chunks
|Catfish-attractant strong scent
|Formulated for catfish specifically
|Catfish Charlie Catfish Dip Bait, Worm Scented
|Dip Bait holder
|Suitable for use with dip bait
SECRET 7 catfish bait
|Soft, creamy, and sticky
|7 Secrets formula
|Carefully blended for catfish
Catfish Bait Reviews
After this quick overview, we’ll look at each of our front runners in a little more detail. What’s more, each one of our favorites ranks top in its own category. So, you’ll get the top catfish bait for your chosen setting, including river angling, bank fishing, and catfishing in summer or winter, along with the best catfish bait for lake or pond fishing.
1. Magic Great Scott Cheese Dough (Best for Rivers)
The Magic Great Scott has created cheesy dough balls with a scent pungent enough to attract catfish in river settings. Easy to use, this bait is durable and unlikely to fall off your hook. Solid in texture and just the right size, this bait is a recipe for successful catfish fishing in rivers. As a result, it ranks high on our list of best catfish bait.
In addition, you can use it for trout fishing too. Regardless of whether you’re fishing with a rod, reel, trout line or cane pole, this bait will do the trick.
- Strong cheesy smell
- Easy to use with a variety of rods including
- Suitable for jug fishing
- Very smelly
- Not great for lake fishing
Who’s It Best For?
The Magic Great Scott Cheese Dough catfish bait might be the best choice for you if you only fish for catfish on rivers. However, if you like to vary your location, this probably isn’t the right choice for you.
Nonetheless, thanks to its super-pungent smell, river catfish seem to love this bait, so you can look forward to, many successful outings. On a final note, we also like the versatility of this bait as you can use it with just about any type of fishing gear.See It on Amazon
2. Magic Big Bite Chicken Blood (Best for Bank Fishing)
Let’s say you prefer positioning yourself on the banks of a river rather than a boat. Well, in that case, we recommend the Magic Big Bite Chicken Blood Catfish Bait. Made to smell (and taste!) like chicken blood, this bait is available as a paste, so you need a bait holder to use it. This may seem an inconvenience to some, however, the results are well worth the extra effort.
Catfish love this stuff, even the saltwater variety. Seeing as catfish have such an excellent sense of smell, it’s no wonder they go crazy for this stuff.
One downside is that the bait holder doesn’t come with the bait, so you’ll face additional costs and trouble. Nevertheless, as the bait is much loved by catfish and increases your chances of catching one considerably, we had to include it on our list of best catfish bait.
- Powerful catfish attractant
- Best for bank fishing
- You need a bait holder
- Bait holder not included
Who’s It Best for?
If catfish angling along the banks of a river or even on the seashore is your forte, this might be the best catfish bait for you. If you don’t mind the inconvenience of using a bait holder or perhaps even prefer doing so, then, this bait is for you.See It on Amazon
3. Berkley PowerBait Power Honey Worm (Best for Winter)
Though not specifically manufactured for catfish but rather for trout and panfish, these artificial worms work a treat. Don’t worry, they don’t harm the fish or natural habitat in any way, and they sure stay on much longer than real worms.
These honey-flavored worms are best if you want to catch catfish in wintery or icy conditions. Made to look like larvae, these worms can turn your fishing trip into a success. Your chances are increased if you use these worms with a bobber. As the flavor and scent have been perfected over many years, the fish do tend to hang on long enough for you to reel them in.
- Flavor and scent perfected over 25 years
- Fish hold on much longer as a result
- Great for ice fishing or winter fishing trips
- More suitable for trout or panfish angling
- Only works really well when used with a bobber
Who’s It Best for?
Indeed, this might be the best catfish bait for winter or ice fishing, even though the manufacturers formulated it for panfish and trout. Still, if wintery conditions are your thing, you probably won’t be disappointed, especially if you don’t mind catching fish other than catfish on occasion.See It on Amazon
4. Berkley Gulp Catfish Chunks (Best for Summer)
Now, to one of our top choices. The Berkley Gulp Catfish Chunks are very easy to use, with or without a bait holder and packed with fish attractants. In each pack, you get 12 chunks with a strong scent to successfully catch catfish.
In addition, these chunks rarely come off the hook, which is a major bonus for any angling enthusiast. Over the years, Berkley have perfected their scent and attractant combination so to maximize your chances of success. The bait’s smell, color, and texture combine to make this an irresistible bait for catfish.
- Very easy to use
- Stays on much longer than natural livers
- Strong scent and attractant
- Suitable for use on hook
May not be suitable for use with a trot line
Who’s It Best for?
If you don’t like using natural liver but still want to attract catfish with ease, this is one of the very best bait to use. Within a few moments, the chunk sits on the hook and will remain there until they bite. There’s no need to use a bait holder either.
Thanks to the strong attractants and ease of use, we put the Berkley Gulp Catfish Chunks at the very top of our list. Check out the short video here.See It on Amazon
5. Catfish Charlie Dip Bait (Best for Ponds)
Now, for something a little different. This isn’t a catfish bait in its own right. Instead, what you get here is a dip bait to use together with a separate dip bait product. What you get here is essentially a dip bait holder.
Incorporating a hook, the worm-scented dip bait holder has deep grooves allowing you to cover the entire surface with your chosen dip bait. Because of the depth of these grooves, you can put more on, while it also helps to keep it on the dip bait holder.
Using them is easy. Simply dip the Catfish Charlie Catfish Dip Bait into your preferred dip bait, attach to your line and hey presto, you’ll be one of the best-equipped catfish anglers out there.
As for the success rate, well, you won’t be disappointed either.
- Excellent for use with other dip bait products
- Durable bait
- Hook incorporated
- Easy to use
- Best for ponds
Works best if covered into dip bait product
Who’s It Best for?
If you prefer using dip bait rather than chunks or paste, this dip bait holder might be the best catfish bait for you. However, if you’re after a quick and convenient solution, this catfish bait isn’t for you. For people mostly fishing on ponds, this might be the top choice.See It on Amazon
6. Team Catfish SECRET 7 (Best for Lakes)
This is perhaps the quirkiest of all the catfish bait on our list. The company proudly pays testimony to the retired chemist who perfected the recipe for this bait over many years. Using all his catfish angling expertise, he came up with this formula. Naturally, the manufacturers remain tight-lipped about the ingredients.
Still, when you open the tub, you’ll see the creamy sticky texture of this bait and won’t be surprised that catfish love it. Simply load up a dip tube with Secret 7, attach it to your line and get started. Most fishing enthusiasts are surprised as to how quickly catfish bite with this bait.
Because the success rate is second to none and the interesting story behind the product, this must be on the very top of your best catfish bait list.
- Very high success rate
- Value for money
- Easy to use, simply load into a dip tube
Too runny to use without a dip tube
Who’s It Best for?
No doubt, this is the best catfish bait for anyone who doesn’t mind using a dip tube and wants to maximize the chances of success as much as possible. Though it doesn’t share the convenience of catfish bait chunks, it may indeed produce better results.
Furthermore, this is the best catfish bait for lakes by far, so suitable for anyone who usually opts for lake fishing.
Check out what Team Catfish have to say about Secret 7 in this video.See It on Amazon
So, now you’ve seen our reviews and you know how to choose the best bait for type of setting. You may still be a little unsure, so do read on to find out how to choose the best catfish bait.
Buying Guide: What to Look for in Your Catfish Bait
For those who are still a little unsure of what catfish bait to pick, we recommend considering the following aspects.
As our reviews suggest, the bait type also depends on your angling location. Ask yourself where you’re going to fish most often and make your choice according to our recommendations.
Choose a bait to suit your fishing equipment too. While some catfish baits are suitable for a variety of fishing equipment including, rods, reels, trout lines, and more besides, some are only suitable for one or two types.
Convenience also needs to be factored in. If you are one of those individuals who just love tinkering around with baitholders, dip bait or whatever else you can get your hands on, you don’t need to opt for the convenience of chunks. In contrast, if you just want a quick solution, they provide the best solution for you.
Value for Money
Check out how much you get for your money, how often you’ll have to stock up again, and whether you need another product to use the bait effectively.
Best Catfish Bait FAQs
Before you make up your mind, look at the following common questions:
What’s better—artificial or natural catfish bait?
No matter how sophisticated the catfish bait you can buy are, they won’t beat the real thing. After all, you don’t have to add color or flavor to a piece of chicken liver, the most popular catfish bait. The only thing is, you may not have the time or desire to handle natural bait, and that’s where the “manufactured catfish bait” come in. Effective and convenient.
If you still want to go down the natural route, why not try a piece of chicken liver, some small canned fish or cut up pieces of perch or brim.
Are chunks better than bait for dip bait or bait holders?
This is really a matter of personal preference, equipment choice, and fishing location. As you can gather from the reviews, chunks like the Berkley Gulp are great for summer fishing trips. Nonetheless, both types will attract catfish in what we believe are equal measures.
Best Equipment for Catching Catfish
Here, the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to get very sophisticated gear. Start with a decent-quality rod and a durable slow reel, a line that is a light as possible and complete your set with a sturdy hook. As some catfish are quite large it’s important to have equipment that will be strong enough to reel in a big one.
Now, you know a lot more about the different catfish bait available. The bait we’ve put on our best catfish bait list deserve their spot there. This is because of their performance, convenience, value for money, as well as ease of use.
Your choice will depend on your fishing location and on how much you value convenience. The main thing to remember is that all the bait listed have been manufactured for optimum success, so you won’t have any trouble attracting catfish, whatever the water.
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