Fishing is great past-time that can go from dirt cheap to expensive really fast. One way that we keep the cost down is by experimenting with different fishing bait recipes that we make ourselves. Here are 15 unique fishing bait ideas and recipes that actually work.
Honestly, I don’t know how anyone discovered that bacon was good bait because if I caught someone in my house throwing bacon into the water, they’d likely be following it in! However, if you’re game to try it, raw hickory smoked bacon reportedly garners the best results. The pungent scent of raw meat is highly attractive to bluegills, crappie, and catfish. If you’re saltwater fishing, this is the perfect bait for hauling in record flounder too.
Seriously, we’re not kidding you, see it in action here:
This was a rather odd discovery for us, in fact, we happened upon it by bringing our young son fishing with us. He had a wad of bubble gum in his mouth he no longer wanted and he wanted to throw it out. I didn’t have a napkin with me and I didn’t want him to spit it on the ground so while I trekked back to the car to get a tissue, he took it upon himself to put it on his hook and cast out his line. Much to my surprise, he caught a rather large trout on it.
Later we learned this is actually a fairly popular fishing bait, who knew?!? See it in action here:
Apparently, we’re not the only ones with an affinity for sweet things, fish are afflicted with a sweet tooth too. Various types of candies have been used successfully as fishing bait including gummy worms, gummy bears, pieces of chocolate, and sour babies candies.
Bass, in particular, seem to have a sweet tooth, see it in action here:
Who doesn’t love cheese? The best cheese for fishing bait is cheddar, which holds together the longest, Limburger (stinky and alluring to catfish, or processed American cheese, which seems to attract trout the best.
During the hot summer months, chicken livers are perfect for reeling in freshwater striped bass and offer an alluring flavor to catfish as well. Cut them into pinky-sized chunks and thread them onto a Gamakatsu hook that’ll do the work of hooking the fish for you.
Oddly enough, canned corn is highly touted as the perfect bait to reel in trout, carp, bluegill, and perch. To get them churning the water quickly, toss in a small handful into the water where fish are spawning. Then thread 5-8 kernels of corn onto your hook and drop it in the water. Hatchery-raised fish have a tendency to attack this bait first.
Anglers have debated whether wet or dry is best, but in the end, there’s no debate over whether or not dog food makes a great fishing bait! If carp, catfish or panfish are your desired catch, steal a bowl of fidos chow and give it the old college try.
Forget about s’mores, you’re going to be catching s’more fish if you use marshmallows as bait. These little morsels tend to float and work great for catching trout, particularly rainbow trout. Several species of panfish such as bluegill and sunfish are also known to hit miniature marshmallows with vigor.
Beef hotdogs are fabulous for attracting bluegills as they’re similar in shape to surface plug lures. However, if you’re out to catch some catfish, you’ll want to opt for turkey hotdogs instead- they work like a charm.
Carp are particularly fond of raisins and other fruit baits such as mulberries and persimmons. Tending to congregate in areas where low hanging trees overhang the water, fish eagerly wait for the fruit to fall. Golden raisins seem to do particularly well as they tend to swell and even ferment a bit while they’re on the hook. Catfish find them nearly irresistible to the sweetness and colors.
While this one sounds rather odd, soap is actually a decent fishing bait. Unscented soaps seem to work best, we’ve had good luck with Ivory soap. To use soap as bait you’ll need to melt it down first, then remold it in ice cube trays. You can add sweeteners to it, such as cherry or strawberry kool-aid or even blood (from a container of livers).
Soap bait works wonderfully on catfish.
We grew up referring to all canned meat as Smeat (spreadable meat) and as far as fishing goes, cubes of smeat are fantastic bait that works best on blue catfish. Chill the cans overnight, cut the smeat into cubes and insert a hook. If the canned meat is really soft you can smoosh it into a bait holder instead.
By the way, the record for the largest catfish caught on a rod and reel was set by an Arkansas fisherman in 2001 who snagged a whopping 116 pound catfish using spam.
Sweet Fish Bait
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
10 tablespoons molasses
Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly to create a stiff dough. Form the dough into small balls and drop into boiling water for 10 minutes, remove and plunge into ice water.
Catfish Bait Recipe
* 1 1/2 c. raw Liver pieces
* 1/3 c. Flour
* 2 T. Garlic Salt
* 1 Sardine and 2 T. Sardine Oil (from the can)
* 2 Tbs Cherry Jello powder
* 1 egg
Quickly Blend the liver in a blender until liquid, empty it into an empty, clean PLASTIC peanut butter jar and then add the remaining ingredients. Stir well until thick. Cover tightly and place it outdoors, preferably on the porch.
DO NOT Open INDOORS. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Let it sit for at least 48 hours.
Do Not Refrigerate, the more it rots, the better it works! It is, after all, STINK Bait.
** This bait can be used either as a dip bait or as a rolled bait. If you want to roll balls, I suggest increasing the flour until its the correct consistency.
As a dip bait, this works great on chunks of liver, mini marshmallows, or catfish lures.
If the dip is too thin, cool the bait down. If it’s too thick, add sardine oil 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well until it’s thinned enough for dipping.