Best Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes

 In a market saturated with the next best bait, it could be difficult for anglers to select catfish bait that is right for them.

With modern technology and the availability of a myriad of products, anglers will often look to build their own baits. While it’s possible to cast lead singers or even craft corks, the process of creating one’s own catfish bait can be arduous and requires attention to detail. 

In this article, we cover what you need to make your own catfish bait and some of the best recipes.

catfish bait recipes
Catfish by toyohara

Homemade Pros & Cons

Creating homemade catfish bait can seem like a cost-effective alternative to purchasing some at the store, but that’s not always true. Much of the synthetic bait that is produced by big-name manufacturers like Berkeley is far more cost-effective than what you make at home.

Additionally, it can be time-consuming and require significant attention to detail to properly make homemade catfish bait.

With that said, homemade catfish baits have been known to exceed commercial base in select instances, and some anglers just like doing it the old-fashioned way.

What You Will Need


Every single catfish bait requires a base, and for the most part, homemade baits utilize cheese as their foundation. The higher the quality of the cheese, the better the end result.

Processed products or cheese-like substances emit a different odor in the water and can actually deter fish from biting on your hook. Parmesan and cheddar are two of the better options, while Velveeta is a more cost-effective alternative.


Most catfish are scent-oriented predators, meaning your bait must stand out to them amidst all other available prey and food sources in the water.

Because catfish have an exceptional olfactory system as their primary means of hunting, anglers can capitalize on this by sending them bait with realistic odors. Incorporating blood, anise, onion, and garlic into a bait can enhance the bait smell and draw catfish in from greater distances.


Every bait requires a thickener. These can either be pulled from cattails or starches, such as flour. This helps the bait maintain its shape on the hook without dissolving.

Catfish Bait Recipes

With a variety of recipes available in the market, here are our top three to help you create the best homemade catfish bait available.

Recipe 1: Garlic Liver


  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Chicken liver

Lay out a sheet of tin foil and place all the chicken livers along the sheet. Then sprinkle heavily with garlic before putting all the livers into a bucket. Put this outside, out of direct sunlight, for 24 hours before returning with more garlic and salt. 

Season and stir with a stick or handle and leave for another 48-72 hours, before removing from the bucket to fish, season once again with garlic.

The salt helps dehydrate the liver to the point where it is tough and enough to retain its shape on the hook, while the garlic adds flavor and odor to the liver, helping it attract catfish.

Recipe 2: Cheese Liver: (this one might make you puke)


  • 1 can of dog food
  • 1 large block of velveta
  • 1 tbsp of garlic
  • 10 oz chicken liver
  • 2 small fish like shad or minnows

Melt the cheese inside the microwave and pour it into the blender with the liver. Once this is accomplished, blend the two until a fine consistency is achieved. Then, add the remaining ingredients into the blender and blend until a rich, gravy-like purée is achieved. 

Afterward, pour into a large bowl and begin adding flour until a doughy consistency is reached. This will resemble a disgusting uncooked loaf of bread and mold chunks of it onto the hook.

Fair warning, this particular recipe is malodorous and is not for the weak of heart.

Recipe 3: Blood bait


  • A gallon of fresh blood, beef, chicken, or turkey.

Pour the blood into large pans with a wide surface area and insert them into the fridge at a low temperature. Allow the blood to sit inside the fridge for a little over a week or until the blood reaches a rubbery, gelatin-like consistency. 

Once this is accomplished, take the blood outside and expose it to direct sunlight until the blood reaches a crusty, coagulated state. It can then be placed on a hook and used to angle.


Creating one’s own catfish bait can seem like a novelty that every fisherman should be able to accomplish. The reality is that it’s time-consuming, and if not done correctly, the catfish will avoid it.

However, with the right steps and utilizing the correct ingredients, you can find success using homemade catfish bait.

As always, good luck, and stay safe out on the water.

Jacob Pelle
Fishing Expert
Jake Pelle is a third-generation outdoorsman and Eagle Scout. He grew up fishing ponds and rivers in South Louisiana and Mississippi and graduated to fishing brackish/marsh and coastal waters for redfish, drum, and speckled trout. When not on a flat range, he can be found with rod and reel in hand searching for the next greatest fishing hole in South Louisiana.
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