This section of Catfish Conference is dedicated to understanding the types of catfish bait, selecting the best catfish bait and learning more on catfish bait through related articles and FAQs.
Introduction on Catfish Bait
For this article, we sourced our information from a number of Steve Douglas, one of our nation’s great anglers. Douglas shared with us that many anglers are taught to believe that catfish feed mainly on dead and stinking food, but that is a myth according to him.
It’s true that these types of baits do work in certain regions of the U.S. but that’s just because, all catfish are opportunist and won’t pass up a free meal. But actually, catfish consume much of their daily diet from live baitfish and invertebrates that are natural to their environment.
To be a successful catfish angler, you must first determine the catfish species you will be targeting in the region in which you’re fishing and then select a bait that will be desired by the targeted species.
This article focuses more on the commonly used catfish baits for the following three species of catfish, the channel catfish, the blue catfish, and the flathead catfish but first we want to give you a brief background of each type.
Channel Catfish Bait and Channel Catfish Description
Channel Catfish Description
Channel catfish are one of the most well know to the masses and is the most common sought after catfish by catfish anglers. The channel catfish in habitats a large portion of the U.S. They live from the northern states all the way into the southern states, And from the East coast to the West Coast with the exception of only a few areas. The channel catfish color can vary in color, depending on the water conditions it in habits, but most will start out with bluish gray with almost silver sides with small black dots. The color will change as it matures. Some larger channel catfish will be mistaken for a blue catfish however the anal fin on the channel catfish is much shorter than the blue catfish, and the tail has a deep fork in it.
Channel Catfish Bait Selection
Channel catfish are the know scavengers of the three species and is continuously being caught by anglers on a large array of offerings. From hotdogs to soap. But here are the top bait choices that will help to increase your chances for a more successful trip.
Night crawlers and worms, cut/live bait (minnows, suckers, chubs, shiners, goldfish, shad, skipjack herring, bluegills) catalpa worms, grasshoppers, frogs, crayfish, raw shrimp, and blood/stink baits.
Size of the bait will depend on the size of channel catfish you are targeting.
1 to 4 lbs – Use the smaller baits:
- 2-3 inch Minnows
- worms and night crawlers
- quarter size cut bait
- raw shrimp
- chicken livers
- blood/stink baits
5 lbs to more – Use larger catfish bait choices:
- live whole
- cut shad
The larger mature channel catfish will take a larger bait, the more natural baits listed, will increase your chances of landing a bigger channel catfish.
Blue Catfish Bait and Blue Catfish Description
Blue catfish description
The blue catfish looks a lot like the channel catfish except they have a long anal fin and do not have any spots. They get their name because of their bluish gray color. The blue catfish will get much larger than the channel catfish and it is very common to see fish larger then 25lbs, and can grow to over 100 lbs. Blue catfish will feed differently than the other species, although they will lurk in some of the same spots as other catfish, they are generally an open water fish, roaming the entire water column feeding on schools of shad. However there not real picky, a piece of cut bait that is presented to them is just as good. They will not pass up a free snack given the opportunity.
Blue catfish bait selection
Our “top” pick for the blue catfish bait would be:
- Large pieces of cut Skip jack herring
- live or cut shad .
Alternative blue catfish bait would be:
- bluegill heads
The blue catfish is one of the top predators and will consume most anything that swims. The blue catfish is predominately a river fish but the can also be found in some large lakes and reservoirs where they have been stocked.
Flathead Catfish Bait and flathead Catfish Description
Flathead catfish description
The flathead can be caught from the Carolinas to the r basins of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio rivers. Their range goes as far north as North Dakota, and as far west as California, and south to the Gulf of Mexico including northeastern Mexico. Flathead catfish also go by other names such as the yellow cat, Opelousas, and shovelhead cat. Yellow cat will eat mainly live bait fish and grow incredibly large. Flatheads seek out structure in the deeper pools, in lakes, and rivers large and small. The flathead catfish has a wide flat looking head very small eyes and are very brownish color. They have more of a square tail and their jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw.
Flathead catfish bait selection
Our “top” pick for the flathead catfish bait would be:
- live shad
- bull head catfish.
Remember the flathead catfish species is the other top predator, so pretty much if it’s legal to use as bait and it swims, it will work. It just depends on the type of baitfish you can easily catch for bait.
Flatheads like the other species are again opportunist and will take cut bait also but fresh cut seems to be preferred.