Gone Outdoors

How to Bait a Hook for Catfish

by Robert Preston

Catfish often live in moving brooks or streams. They can grow to be quite large, and maximizing the efficiency of your hooks involves both selecting the right bait and properly setting the bait onto the hook after it has been caught. Failure to use the right bait will lead to a day with few hits, and improperly set bait will be more prone to being stripped by the catfish, which can be even more frustrating than a day without a hit.

Fishing with Worms

Dig for nightcrawlers. The best time to find nightcrawlers is in the middle of the night, following a rain, so that the ground is moist. You can use a flashlight to look for worms and use a spade to dig in soft soil to look for worms hiding just below the surface.

Pass the hook through the worm multiple times, with the final pass leaving the tip of the hook just barely exposed outside of the worm to maximize the likelihood of the hook setting when the catfish bites.

Avoid leaving too much of the head or tail of the worm exposed beyond the hook. The first pass should enter near the tip of the tail, and the last should exit near the front of the worm. Long pieces of worm floating free of the hook will increase the likelihood of the catfish stripping your bait.

Fishing with Shad

Locate an area where shad congregate. Local bait shops can help you find ideal spots. However, if you do not have help, search for schools of shad in shallow streams.

Throw a casting net over a school of shad, pull back on the line and tighten the net around the fish.

Store the shad you catch in a bait bucket or a live well to ensure that they remain alive. Live bait is preferable to using a dead fish.

Handle the shad with hands that are wet and recently cleaned to reduce the likelihood of their death before use as bait.

Pass the hook through the fish just in front of the tail and cast the baited hook. If the shad is still alive, it will provide its own natural movement to attract catfish.

Items you will need
  • Spade
  • Flashlight
  • Fishing hook
  • Cast net
  • Bait bucket or live well

Photo Credits

  • fisherman trying his luck image by Scott Williams from Fotolia.com