How to Bait a Catfish Hole

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Baiting or chumming a catfish hole is the well-known practice among catfish fishermen. It entails using loose bait to attract catfish to the area where you plan to fish. You can choose from a variety of inexpensive baits to attract not only bigger fish and but greater quantities, too.

Items you will need

  • Grain (wheat, cracked corn, soybeans, milo or wild birdseed)

  • Water

  • Beer (optional)

  • Sugar(optional)

  • Chicken or beef blood

Gather ingredients for your bait. Though you can purchase store-bought chumming bait, it's less expensive to make your own. Various types of sour grain are popular options among catfish fishermen. The pungent smell attracts fish to scavenge. Grains used include wheat, cracked corn, soybeans, milo and even wild birdseed. Other chumming baits to try include canned dog food, beef or chicken blood bait and ground shad. You will discover through trial and error which baits work best in your favorite fishing holes.

Prepare your bait if necessary. For sour grain bait simply by fill a large container, a bucket will do, half way with your grain of choice. Add water until the grain is covered by two to three inches. Some fishermen add beer or sugar to help speed the fermentation process along. Others let the yeast from the grain itself do all the work. Stir, cover and let set for three to five weeks. During warmer months, the fermentation will work faster, so check the bait after one week to see if it's ready. You will know its ready when it stops soaking water and when no more bubbles appear on the surface.

Make blood bait by acquiring enough beef or chicken blood to fill a shallow baking pan nearly to the top. Place the pan of blood in the refrigerator for a week, then remove and let set in the sun until it hardens. Next, simply cut the bait into strips and use.

Bait spots where catfish already tend to frequent, such as around tree stumps or weedy areas. Choose fairly shallow spots without current as current will just carry your bait away. For the sake of convenience, you may want to bait several spots that are fairly close together.

Scatter your bait well throughout each area, making sure to cover a 5 to 10 yard radius. Throw approximately a quarter of a gallon of grain bait per spot, just enough to tantalize yet not feed the fish. Bait the area at least 20 to 30 minutes before casting your first bait. If you frequent a spot often, try baiting it once or twice per week regularly to attract fish and keep them coming back.


  • Baiting or "chumming" for catfish is not legal everywhere. Double check the laws in your area before you start baiting.
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