What Is The Best Bait For Channel Cats (Catfish)?
To answer the question, there are many good baits for catfish. Let’s be honest the channel catfish is not a finicky eater. They have been known to bite on everything from hot dogs to ivory soap. I know people that will swear shrimp sprayed with WD-40 is the way to go. Trying to identify the best bait for channel cats is difficult and will be different depending on your local, time of day, season or personal preference. Every one of these below has worked for me and every one has left me without a fish. I will list them here in the order I prefer and some of that has to do with ease of use.
Cut baits cover a wide variety of fish baits. The most common ones are: shad, bluegill, anchovy, sardines, mackerel and minnows. Make sure it is legal to use them in your area. I know that bluegill is not legal in some states but is ok in others. I cut them into chunks depending on the size of the bait. I believe cut baits to be the best bait for channel cats and all other types of catfish.
You can purchase shrimp at your local grocery either with or without shell. I leave the shell on but most remove it. Depending on the size of the shrimp and the size of the bait you want you can use them whole or cut them in half. Many also soak them vanilla extract to enhance their appeal. I am particularly found of the cut baits and shrimp because they stay on your hook and can be fished in fast currents when necessary.
These can also be purchased at you local grocery store and are a very good bait. I do suggest you take an old nylon stocking and cut it into small squares. You can use these squares to wrap around the chicken liver and attach it to the hook. They will stay on the hook much better. Fish on the bottom and check your bait every 20-30 minutes. If all the blood is gone replace the bait.
Night crawlers, garden worms and Catawba worms are all included here. These are the old standby and will catch catfish but are best used where they are likely to find them. Places where creeks and drainage ditches feed into the lake or river seem to be best.
These can and have been made out of just about everything you can think of. I have tried many different kinds and have had some success with power baits. I am sure others do but I prefer the more natural baits. I think they are the best bait for channel cats and occasionally you will catch their larger brothers, the flathead and the blue catfish.