When it comes to prepared catfish bait, your choices are numerous. Big box stores and sporting goods stores shelves are lined with the latest and greatest blood and cheese formulas, all of them touting to be the be-all-end-all of catfish baits, and you will never buy another. You can always find these in the stores by following your nose.
Once you get to these baits, you are quickly lost in the shuffle of seemingly endless variety of ingredients and especially the types of baits. Some are dip bait, some are punch bait and some are dough bait. But what does all this mean? In a nutshell there are three basic types of prepared catfish baits. They also require some specialized hooks to use them properly. In this article I will detail the 3 basic types I use and how I use them.
Not to be confused with dough-balls, those homemade concoctions made with
cornmeal and strawberry jell-o we used to catch carp with. Catfish dough baits are a compressed dough-like mixture of ingredients used to catch catfish. They sort of resemble a dough. They are soft and sometimes sticky. But the main characteristic of these baits is they can be scooped up with your fingers and molded into a ball and squeezed around a hook. The most popular types of hooks to use with this particular bait is the treble hook. Personally, I prefer them and I also go one step farther and use a specialized dough hook, sometimes called a spring hook. The dough is held in place better by utilizing the spring hook, but it is definitely not required. I have caught many catfish using the Catfish Charlie
line of dough baits. These are consistent quality, cost effective and easy to work with. They Magic Bait company also makes a line of dough baits I use with regularity and success. These dough baits I have mentioned stay on the dough hooks surprisingly well even in slight current.
Dip baits are probably what you think of when someone mentions “stink bait”. As opposed to dough baits, dip baits will have a thinner consistency, more of a goo like substance, closely resembling peanut butter. You definitely do not want to scoop it up with your hands and mold it on a hook, as it often carries a more potent smell than the dough baits do. To use dip bait, you drop your hook down into the container and using a stick, cover the entire hook with this peanut-buttery type of bait. You can also use a dough hook for dip bait, but I much prefer using a sponge hook or a specialized dip bait hook. The dip bait hooks hold onto the
bait better and the mesh allows the bait to slowly dissolve away, spreading its scent down the current or surrounding water for the fish to find. One of my favorite dip baits is Sonny’s. Magic Bait also makes a pretty darn good dip bait that I have used with success as well. Dip baits are designed to stay on the hook in light current, but in my experience you will need to re-bait more often than with using dough baits, as it seems the dip baits melt off the hooks faster.
Punch baits are somewhat of a hybrid of the two aforementioned types. Punch baits are thicker in consistency than dip baits, but not as thick as dough. A couple of popular punch baits are Danny King’s and CJ’s. Some of them are characterized by the presence of some type of natural fibers “holding it all together”.
More often than not, this fiber is natural cotton. Sometimes other natural things are used such as cat tails and grass. Punch baits can be described as a dip bait with cotton mixed with it. The natural fibers help keep the bait in place and hold it on the hook. They get their name from the practice of dropping your treble hook into the container and “punching” it down to the bottom with a stick. When you pull your hook back out it is covered in fibers and bait and ready to fish. There are some commercially available punch baits, but most of the concoctions I have come across are homemade types, with a secretly guarded family formula and made by the gallon in ice cream buckets. The punch baits I have used are best utilized using a standard treble hook.
I hope this sheds some light on the different types of prepared catfish baits. Check out the line of prepared baits we have in the store and if you have any questions about the use of them don’t hesitate to drop us an email. I always like to talk about catfish bait!