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One of the easiest catfish baits to make at home consists of a dough. This starchy material acts as a suitable base for additives that can attract and catch catfish. Once you create the basic dough, add different ingredients to customize your bait, and see which mixture works the best.
Catfish are primarily bottom feeders and often live in murky waters. With relatively weak eyes, but sense of smell, catfish rely on their long whiskers to detect food within their environment. Understandably, catfish baits need to put off a significant amount of scent to attract the attention of surrounding catfish.
The basic ingredients for a dough bait consist of flour and water. This mixture forms a workable and moldable dough that easily holds on a hook. The finished dough acts as the base to incorporate different additives that provide texture and scent to your bait. Try making several different formulations of this dough bait and test them all to see which one works the best in your area.
Try blending savory items, such as ground sausage, hot dogs, lunch meat, bacon, chicken livers, fish or even blood into the dough. Cheese is particularly attractive to catfish. Use cheeses that have either become rotten or have a strong scent. Try different seasonings or oils. Garlic, cayenne pepper, curry powder, fish oils, vanilla extract and anise oil are possible choices. Pet foods, insects, worms and even peanut butter or marshmallows may generate strikes as a catfish bait. Try anything that you think will attract the attention of catfish.
To make a small amount of catfish bait, place about 1 cup of all-purpose flour in a mixing bowl. Add water a little at a time, stirring constantly, until the the flour begins to form a dough. Incorporate your additives. Add enough so that the scent is obvious to you. If the dough is too sticky and loose, add more flour. If it is to stiff, put in more of your additives or water to loosen it. Continue stirring until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Test the consistency of your dough by breaking off a small piece and rolling it between your palms. If it forms a nice tight ball that will remain on a hook, your bait is ready.
To use your catfish dough bait, form a ball about the size of a large marble. If you're using a single hook, press the dough onto the point, and slide the dough ball onto the bend of the hook. If you are using a treble hook, flatten the dough, and form it around the shank, pressing it down onto the hooks. Carefully cast the dough bait to ensure it stays on, and wait patiently for catfish to strike.
In Jacksonville, Fla., Frank Whittemore is a content strategist with over a decade of experience as a hospital corpsman in the U.S. Navy and a licensed paramedic. He has over 15 years experience writing for several Fortune 500 companies. Whittemore writes on topics in medicine, nature, science, technology, the arts, cuisine, travel and sports.