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8 Best Catfish Bait For Lakes And Ponds In 2022 [Detailed Reviews]

Catfish are feeders, and they are always on the lookout to catch something to eat. They are not a picky eater, and they eat almost anything and are eager bait biters. There are lots of baits available in the market today, and these are the things catfish would love to gobble up. The best catfish baits appeal to their senses. You need to do place the bait in the right position, in the right way and time to catch them. 

If you want to catch catfish of any size, you have landed to the right place. To make it easier for you, we have reviewed some of the best baits and included catfish fishing tips. We have also covered the different types of catfish and catfish baits. Continue reading and find out which is the best catfish bait for lakes and ponds.

best value

  • Best for blue catfish
  • Irresistible odor and flavour
  • Durable


  • Best for flathead catfish
  • Not as strong smelly odor as other choices

Quick Answer: Best Catfish Baits For Lakes and Ponds

8 Top Rated Catfish Baits Reviews

1. Danny King Catfish Punch Bait - Best Catfish Bait for Channel Catfish

best catfish bait for lakes and ponds

Stink baits like Danny King Punch Baits are some of the best catfish baits for channel catfish. It disperses a strong odor that travels through the water, attracting catfish from all around. It is a tried and tested bait for catching different types of catfish and is very effective on channels. 

You can use it as your primary bait, combine it with other baits or lure or replace those other baits that are not working. For humans, it smells very bad, but the good thing is that there is no need for you to catch the baits with your hands. 

All you need is to punch the hook into the container with punch paddle and pull it out with a line. It is very sticky consistent sticks to #6 or #4 treble hooks without requiring a worm, sponge, or screw to hold it. It is a long-lasting bait that is convenient to have during your angling adventure.


  • Rigging it is easy
  • Long-lasting and convenient
  • Has a very strong and fast dispersing odor
  • Very sticky


  • It does not stick well on the hook

2.Berkley Gulp! Catfish Chunks - Best Catfish Bait for Blue Catfish

Chicken livers by Berkley Gulp are proven as the best catfish bait for blue catfish. The chunks appear like chicken liver, and it has an irresistible and quick to disperse odor and flavors. It provides them a meaty, strong scent, and flavor that can travel far and wide inviting all types of catfish. It is very effective on blue catfish.

As compared to real chicken liver, these chunks are much easier to catch a fish since they are easy to hook and kept in place longer. It is long-lasting as compared to natural livers and is reusable if it remains on the hook after catching a catfish. One package contains 12 chunks.


  • Hooking and keeping them in place is not a problem
  • They are scented and flavored
  • It disperses odor fast
  • More durable as compared to natural liver


  • A bit expensive than others
  • Can cause the hook to get rust easily

3.Bradley's Bubblegum - Best Catfish Bait for Flathead Catfish

This best catfish bait for flathead catfish is not as smelly as other catfish bait. It will not make your hands and clothes stink while you are on the boat. This has been proven to be a very effective catfish lure. It attracts and catches catfish of different species. 

It is easy to use. The Bradley's Catfish Bubblegum works great with treble hooks of different sizes, which makes it easy to put on. Because this catfish bubblegum is made in the USA, you can expect top-notch quality and reliable product. It is also safe even if you place it in the refrigerator or freezer. Storing them in the refrigerator can extend its shelf life.


  • It is not as stinky as others
  • High-quality and reliable product
  • Can catch different types of catfish
  • Easy to use


  • Not as effective as others in catching catfish

4. CJs Crawdad Bait

The CJs Crawdad Bait is designed for catching catfish. Just like other baits, this product stinks. Good thing, you don’t have to use your hands to set it up on the hook. All you need to do is punch in a treble hook using a stick.

Unlike other catfish bait, you don’t have to refrigerate the CJs Crawdad and keep until you have used them all. It will never go bad. Another impressive quality of this punch bait is that it stays on the hook and it will not wash off like most stink baits even if you use it in running water. It does not have artificial flavoring, just plain crawdad in the bait.


  • It does not require refrigeration
  • No need to touch it with your hands
  • Stick on the hook well
  • It does not contain artificial flavor


  • It does not work in the river current

5. Bassdash Surface Duck Fishing Lure

The Bassdash Surface Duck bait is an outstanding lure for pike, musky, big catfish and sea bass. It has a realistic surface that mimics a duckling. It comes with advanced features like balancing to land on its belly while casting, 3D scanned details, and double barbed hooks.

The way the feet rotate makes it looks alive. When it splashes, it leaves a trail of bubbles, which can easily get the attention of predators from a distance. 

The lure can be fished on a slow or fast motion, with long pulls and steady retrieve. Its body is designed with soft but durable and eco-friendly PVC material and semi-soft and high-quality feet that can withstand the teeth of the predators. This bait is economic that can survive various battles before it requires some replacement.


  • Made of durable material
  • Mimics a real duckling
  • Economical 
  • Can lure in slow or fast motion


  • A bit expensive

6. Team Catfish Fiber Nuggets

This catfish bait has a built-in chum trail. It is made of proven catfish attracting ingredients and is fortified with hairlike fibers that stick to your hook as the bait dissolves gradually. It releases tasty nutrients that are swayed away by the current. 

Team Catfish Fiber is easy to handle and can be placed in a tackle box. Once the nuggets hit the water, they become very sticky. We recommend to use it with a good cat hook, like circle hook, treble, or J-hook.


  • Gradually dissolves bait producing its trail
  • Easy to handle and store
  • Made with proven catfish attracting components
  • Can be used with circle hooks, treble hooks, and J hooks


  • No known negative side yet

7.Tutti Fruiti Prepared Bait

The Tutti Frutti Prepared Baits is ready to use and does not require preparation. The preparation process makes sure the bait is easy on the fish. It is highly flavored for immediate attraction with added amino acids. 

It can be used together with chickpeas, pop-up, corn, or a boilie — best for inclusion in spod mixes. To enhance the bait you can match it with Tutti Frutti Glug. It is designed mainly for hair rigs and not with hooks. This bait is made to stay on the hair rig when casting is from afar.

It contains high levels of carbohydrates and natural glucose. The nuts stay irresistible all year long, mainly when the weather is hot.


  • Ready to use
  • Highly flavored
  • Best for carp and catfish
  • Can be used together with chickpeas, a boilie, corn, or pop-up
  • Contains a high level of carbohydrates and glucose


  • Not to be used with hooks

8. Booyah Pond Magic

The Booyah Pond Magic is a unique bait that specializes in color and blade combinations to match the forage base of a small body of water. It may be small in size, but it is not short on features. The 60-strand ultra-fine silicone skirts and premium components make Booyah Pond one of the best options. 

The tandem blades provide optimal water displacement and more attraction. It has a premium Mustad hook for a reliable hook set.


  • Best for farm ponds and strip mine lakes
  • Hand-chosen color and blade combination
  • Premium Mustad hook
  • Compact size to match the hatch
  • 60-strand ultra-fine silicone skirts


  • The split ring is a bit weak

16 Catfish Fishing Tips For Successful Fishing

Here are 16 helpful tips that you can apply to catch a catfish successfully.

1) Match The Hatch

This is a basic rule to follow when choosing your catfish bait. Match the hatch means to feed the fish with bait that loves to eat or something that imitates what the fish is feeding on. If you master this, you will be able to catch more fish regardless of which species you want to catch. 

2) Master the Throwing of Cast Net

You have to know how to throw a cast net so you will be able to find and catch the best species. With this skill mastered, you will be able to save more money and get fresh bait.  Besides, choosing the right cast net is important in helping you to catch abundant baits.

3) Dedicate Some Time to Prepare Your Cast Net

You don’t simply buy a cast net and throw it into the river. Dedicate some time in preparing it so it will be easier to throw and the success of getting more catfish is high. 

4) The Stinker the Better

It is a common belief that you need to get stinky baits to catch catfish. You will catch channel catfish using stinky baits. But some catfish variety may also get attracted to baits that don't stink that much, like the flatheads or blue catfish.

5) Use Dip In or Sponge Bait

The two popular bait for catfish is Dip In and Sponge bait. They are most of the time cheese-based, with the strong scent and fished with a sponge or tube to hold the bait. The only drawback of these baits is that they requires a sponge or tube to hold them, which only adds to tackle and expense. 

6) Sponge Hooks

Instead of buying expensive sponge hooks for dip baits and sponge baits, buy plain treble hooks and a cleaning sponge. You can cut the sponge into small pieces and place the shank of the treble hook in the sponge. It is more effective as compared to the one available in the market. You can save a lot of money. 

7) Use Punch Bait

Punch bait is similar to dip or sponge bait only it is much thicker, and you can use it even without worms, tubes, or sponges as they will stick to the treble hook. It was called punch bait because you need to punch the container to get the bait. These baits are very effective for channel catfish. 

8) Catch Channel Catfish with Cat Baits

Stinky bait can catch several smaller channel catfish. To get a bigger size cat, try to use some form of native baitfish cut into small pieces. You will be able to have a good catch than using prepared baits. 

9) DIY Blue Catfish Bait

If you don't want to spend a lot on bait for blue catfish, you can make your bait. Use fresh, native baitfish, in the whole form or pieces, and you will be successful in trapping one. Some of the catfish anglers are threadfin shad, skipjack herring or gizzard shad. You can use skipjack or shad as your primary bait and add some alternatives in the mix. 

10) Fresh is More Preferred than Frozen

Some may say they are successful in catching catfish using frozen bait, but the truth is using fresh bait is much better than frozen. In some seasons frozen bait will work better than fresh bait. But most of the time, fresh bait is better. Get fresh shad every time you fish, and you will catch more catfish.

11) Use Live Bait to Catch Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish are predator fish and love live bait. The best option for this type of catfish is a live baitfish that is healthy and will remain alive on the hook longer. Fish like brim, mud, bluegill, or perch are always the best baits. 

12) Use Less Chicken Livers 

Chicken livers are most of the time the "go-to" bait for some catfish anglers, particularly the novice. But they are the most overused catfish bait. They will catch more fish, but the hassle it provides is not worth it. They don't work that well that much. It is best to use turkey livers than chicken as they can attract more catfish and are much tougher. 

13) Stay Away from Pickled Fish, Baits in Tubes and Pre Formed Chunks

Some retail stores are offering a big box full of catfish bait. It contains pickled or preserved fish. You will fall into this as well as preformed chunks, balls or anything that is in a squeeze tube. Don't waste your money on this. 

14) Shrimp For Channel Catfish

Shrimp is best for catching channel catfish. Some anglers prefer to buy bait shrimp from the bait stores. It can help you catch one. However, if you are serious about catching more catfish, it is best to use an eating shrimp. 

15) Popping Hoppers 

One of the favorite foods of catfish is grasshoppers. You can usually find catfish feeding on them during summer along the shorelines or in aquatic vegetation. If this is the case, then you should buy a grasshopper for catfish bait. 

16) Say No to Homemade Catfish Bait Recipes

Some catfish anglers say that it is better to make their recipes than buying a catfish bait. Making your catfish bait is more expensive, and sometimes it does not work. It is best to buy a commercial catfish bait as it can cost you less and catch more fish. Just make sure you go with a trusted, proven catfish bait that works.

3 Different Types of Catfish

The 3 popular types of catfish in the US are the channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish. There is an abundant source of catfish in the US Rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Here are some vital information about each of them.

Blue Catfish

This species is also called high fin blue, Mississippi white catfish, Hump-back blue, and hi-fin blue. Blue catfish have a forked tail and is somewhat similar to channel catfish. You can distinguish this species with the number of rays in the anal fin which is usually 30-35, and the coloration is slate blue at the back with shades of white on the belly. 

They usually weigh 20 to 40 pounds and can reach weights above 100 pounds. Blue catfish are often large-river fish, found in tributaries, impoundments, and channels of significant river systems. They usually move upstream in the summer searching for cooler temperatures, and during winter downstream to look for warmer water. They are easy to spot as long as you use the right bait.

Channel Catfish

The scientific name for Channel catfish is Ictalurus Punctatus which means spotted and catfish. It is easy to identify as compared to flathead and blue catfish. These species have a deeply forked tail just like the blue catfish, but the coloring is a bit different as compared to blue. 

Most of the inexperienced anglers are confused between channel catfish and flathead catfish because of their similarity in color. Channels have a deeply forked tail with a protruding upper jaw which differs them to flathead. 

The usual color of channel catfish is olive-brown and with shades of blue and grey at the sides. The bellies or underside of the fish are silvery-white or white. They have numerous small black spots, but that's not found in bigger fish. Channel’s anal fin has 24-29 rays as compared to blue catfish with 30 or more. You can find them in large streams, lakes, rivers, and reservoirs with low or moderate current.

The Channel Catfish is one of the most popular species in the US, and it ranked second to bass. It is popular because of its excellent table fare and also because they are readily available and abundant in most rivers, reservoirs, and lakes. 

You can catch this species using different kinds of baits like worms, crawfish, baitfish, or other natural baits. The most commonly used prepared catfish baits are as soap baits, punch baits, and crawfish

Flathead Catfish

The Flathead Catfish are known to grow to trophy class sizes, aside from having an excellent table fare. One of the biggest flathead catfish, weighs 123 pounds. They are also called as the yellow cat, pied cat, appaloosa catfish, and shovelhead cat.

They are called flathead simply because they have a flat head but other than that it looks like other species of catfish. Flathead catfish have smooth skin, whiskers around the mouth and with long sharp spines at the back and sides. It can easily reach lengths of three to four feet and can weigh more than 100 lbs.

The flathead catfish has dark olive and yellow coloring of the skin. They are usually pale yellow to light brown on their backs and sides. The coloring is likewise very mottled with more coloring for brown and black. Flathead catfish underside has a pale yellow or much lighter cream color. The small ones have very dark brown. 

Their heads are flattened and very broad and look like a shovel that been turned over, and it is sometimes referred to as a shovelhead. The lower jaw looks like an underbite in humans. Their tails are slightly notch and are not deeply forked like the usual tails of the channel and blue catfish. 

The young flathead is feed on crayfish, invertebrates, crayfish, and worms. As they grow older, the diet includes mostly of fish of different species. 

Their spawning season runs from May to August when the water temperature is at 75 and 80 degrees. During spawning, the males choose hollow logs, undercut banks, trees, and other similar habitats. As soon as the nesting site is selected, the male fish creates shallow depressions in the mud to serve as the nesting area for the female to lay their eggs. The female fish can lay 1200 eggs for every pound of her body weight. 

They are usually in the deep pools of creeks where currents are very slow, and water is cloudy.

5 Different Types of Baits for Different Types of Catfish

In general, catfish are not picky eater, especially if they are hungry. Below are different kinds of baits that have tested and are proven to be very irresistible to catfish.

1. Live Bait

These are the best kind of baits for catching big catfish, particularly flatheads. Sunfish, minnows, shad, perch, crawfish, goldfish, bluegill, and smaller types of catfish like bullheads are excellent live baits.

Catfish love worms regardless of how big or small they are. Their natural scent and wriggling action drive them crazy. They like the big, juicy worms but some small or medium-sized worms wriggling on a hook is likewise effective. The best catfish baits are nightcrawlers and can be floated, bottom rigged or drifted. Cats also love frogs and leeches.

2. Dead Bait

Catfish can scent food even they are from afar, and they are most attracted to dead and baits with a strong odor like chicken livers, mussels, spoiled shrimp, and fish guts. Chicken livers are proven an outstanding catfish baits. Its meaty, bloody, and strong smell attracts even the biggest catfish, and they cannot help but taste it. 

Cut baits include fish cut into chunks, fillets or strips, in a size that is appealing to the cats. Get the attention of catfish with a freshly killed bait, which is punctured to release the body fluids and disperse them in the water.

3. Prepared Stink Bait

Prepared stink baits are likewise very effective in catching catfish. They are usually available in a store, or you can also make it on your own. It has a very strong smell that attracts the attention of the catfish near. They are created with a solid but soft consistency to break down slowly their scent and disperse flavor into the water. Because of this, they are very useful where there is a current to spread the flavors and aroma downstream.

4. Dip Bait

Dip baits are stinky preparations made to catch more catfish. It smells bad for a human, but for cats, it smells like heaven. But, it is not only a strong smell that gets them to take a bite. The dip baits should have a cheese base, a blood flavor, or some protein. It usually has a thin consistency and needs to use a worm or sponge to keep the bait on the hook.

5. Punch Bait

This type of baits are also stinky liquids but with a thicker consistency, easier to rig and much cleaner since you don't need to touch them with your hands. You need to punch it into the bait with a stick and pull the loaded hook from the jar.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of bait is best for catfishing?   

As mentioned above, there are three primary types of catfish; the type of bait will depend on the kind of catfish you want to catch. The common thing about them is that they love the strong smell and stinky bait.

2. Where to buy catfishing bait?   

It depends on the type of catfishing bait you need. For dip or dough baits you can check out local sporting goods or online. For other types of bait, you can purchase them in your local grocery store.

3. How long do catfishing baits last?   

If you keep the baits frozen, it will surely last longer. Dough baits most of the time are available in re-sealable containers and will also last longer.


There are lots of catfishing stink baits on the market that provides result. The effectiveness of the baits will depend on the type of catfish you want to pursue.

For channel catfish, we recommend Danny King Catfish Punch Bait. It has the odor that channel catfish loves that makes it very effective. 

For blue catfish, we recommend Berkley Gulp! Catfish Chunks. It contains chicken liver which is very appealing to them. For flathead catfish, we recommend Bradley's Catfish Bubblegum

If you want to share your ideas or you have some questions about the best catfish bait for lakes and ponds, feel free to comment below.

Adam Parsons

Hi! I'm Adam Parsons - a fishing enthusiast. I have been fishing for more than 15 years now and I still strongly remember that the toughest part for me was during the learning process. Most guides I read during that time was too technical to understand. Therefore, I make sure that everything I post on dream-guides regarding fishing is written well and easy to understand even if you are a newbie.

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