Best Catfish Baits To Use for Fishing in 2019

Scour the web and you’re going to find homebrewed recipe after homebrewed recipe, all claiming to be the best catfish bait you can possibly get your hands on.

But what if you don’t want to actually get your hands on it or have your shed, shop, garage, or wife’s kitchen stinking like… fish bait?

You can buy some of that homebrew off whoever told you about it, or you can go over our list of time-tested and proven catfish baits to see which one is going to make its way into your box or on your boat.

We all know we need a big chunk of something stinky, meaty, and and bulky enough to stay on the hook, so which is actually the best of all the baits available?

For you, my friend… we can only recommend one as the best…

Top 10 Catfishing Baits of 2019

CJ’s Catfish Shad Punch Bait

This stuff is potent, there’s no two ways around it.

While most manufacturers have resorted to using artificial flavors and colors as attractants, in order to save money and keep up with the leaders, CJ’s Bait Shop knows what works.

And they’ve stuck to it for years.

CJ’s Catfish Shad Punch Bait is, by far, one of the best catfish baits you can use in 2019. It’s designed specifically with picky anglers (and picky fish) in mind. Reach your hook down into the bucket, pull it back, and toss the hooked chunk out into the water.

The unique formulation keeps it stuck on the hook, even in running water, and doesn’t have to be refrigerated — it will never go bad, even being made with real shad!

Preview Product Price
Cjs catfish shad punch bait 1 gal. Cjs catfish shad punch bait 1 gal. $34.99

Danny King Catfish Punch Bait

Danny King’s biggest complaint as a kid? Constantly losing his bait.

As he grew up, he never quit chasing catfish, dialing in the perfect homebrew (at the time) recipe that stayed on the hook without assistance, let out plenty of oils to ring the dinner bell, and not leave you stinking like a dead pond for the next 2 weeks.

While we love Danny King’s Catfish Punch Bait, it can’t compare to CJ’s Catfish Shad. One thing it will do, though, is pick up the slack when CJ’s isn’t doing the job. Even though times like that are rare, they do happen — and Danny King’s comes in clutch to save the day every time.

We’ve found it to be one of the best baits for times when the fish just don’t want to take anything else.

Atlas / Mike’s Lunker Lotion

There’s times when you can catch catfish on the prowl and get them to take other baits that they normally wouldn’t — like topwaters and swimbaits, for instance.

But how do you get their attention and start the feeding frenzy with fake baits?

Easy. You use Atlas Mike’s Lunker Lotion and inject it into the softbodied plastic baits or by soaking your hardbaits in them overnight. The combination can be deadly during the right times — cause fish to effectively throw their safety out the window and attack anything that moves.

One word of warning, though… this stuff stinks and leaves a nice film behind!

Perfect for attracting fish and ringing that dinner bell on your hard and soft baits, but bad for anything you touch afterwards. We highly recommend using a glove.

Tutti Frutti Prepared Tiger Nuts

Tutti Frutti Tiger Nuts for catching catfish? You betcha.

(We admit, the name DID help it land higher up on the list, but we still wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t proven to work!)

These prepared bait balls are a bit different than most stinkbaits and punch baits you’ll find. Instead of being used on a treble hook or a circle hook and wire sheath, Wicked Carp Company’s Tutti Frutti Tiger Nuts are designed for hair hooks.

Think of it more as an accessory, after the fact. One that’s going to give you the attractant you need, while the hook and whatever else you stick on the hook does the hard part of getting the fish to actually bite.

When catfish are being picky and need to see some actual “action” before they’ll take, fur/hair hooks and Tiger Nuts can save the trip.

Catfish Charlie’s Cheese Dip

With a name like Catfish Charlie, you kinda gotta expect to find a bait specifically formulated to what Charlie, himself, deems to be the best.

Unfortunately for him, we’ve found better. This isn’t saying the bait doesn’t work, because it does, but we’ve found people having issues with it that our first 4 don’t present — namely, staying stuck on the hook.

Catfish Charlie’s formulation is a lot thinner than others, which means you’re going to have problems if you’re fishing with it in moving water.

For ponds, though? And standing waters?

That’s where Charlie’s Cheese Dip can pull its own weight. It’s trusted by more than a few anglers and if it wasn’t for having issues in moving water and currents it probably would have ranked higher up the list.

Preview Product Price
Catfish LD-12-12 Dip Bait Cheese Catfish LD-12-12 Dip Bait Cheese $8.89

Team Catfish Secret 7

When you heard the labels “soft, creamy and sticky”, a catfish bait is usually the last thing to come to mind, which is exactly why this is Team Catfish’s Secret #7.

It’s not often you can talk about the perks of Secret 7 without getting weird looks, but this is another bait we wanted to include because… it’s different.

Unlike the first few baits we’ve featured (that are perfect for treble hooks), Team Catfish’s Secret 7 is better used in dip tubes as an attractant than as a bait, by itself.

If you’re trying to add some spice to one of your favorite baits, or you want to impart some lifelike smells and scent trails for your soft and hard lures,

Preview Product Price
SECRET 7 catfish bait 64 oz SECRET 7 catfish bait 64 oz Currently not available

Magic Bait Liver & Cheese Big Bite

Chicken liver and cheese, amazing combination, right? Catfish seem to think so.

If you’ve never gone out fishing with a package of bloody chicken livers you might not necessarily be a believer in their potency, but that doesn’t change the fact that it simply works.

Nothing brings big fish in like a 3 ounce chunk of chicken liver thrown right where they’re hiding out. Which is why Magic Bait formulated their Liver & Cheese Big Bites.

We’ve figured out that, while this stuff may work when it works, keeping it on the hook can be difficult. If you regularly fish in moving waters or you enjoy casting over long distances, this probably isn’t the best bait for you.

If you’re going out for a lazy day on the water, watching your lines as they tick away in the wind?

This might be your new Magic Bait, too.

Yeh Monn! Shad Worm & Flesh Bait

Cut bait is incredibly potent. If you’re not familiar with what “cut” bait is, take a look at what catfish tend to eat most often — shad and sunfish. Then, picture taking a “cut” or a strip of their skin, scales, and meat to stick on your hook.

This flapping-in-the-wind action, combined with the look of a defenseless shad, along with the smells and tastes have turned Yeh Monn! into a sort of niche role but one it fills well.

The baits are designed to degrade, leaving scent and flakes of “flesh” behind to attract the bigger predators — like catfish.  That means this isn’t a bait you cast-and-forget. Instead, you’re going to want to make sure the lifelike movement doesn’t stop.

Attaching one of these to the leading hook on a swimbait is a great technique for times when fish are more aggressive than normal and are willing to go chasing down after a meal that just buzzed by their face.

Wild Cat Shad Catfish Dip Bait

There’s very few baits that perform well in cold waters. Most either refuse to release the scent trail, or won’t break up enough to create the chummed up waters you need.

Since you can catch catfish all-year round, we wanted to feature a bait that was known for working well during the colder months. The Wild Cat Shad dip bait is the winner in the coldwater category, hands down.

We recommend a float and fluorocarbon line if you’re going to be spending any length of time with this bait in colder waters. The low-odor formula won’t stick around on your skin like most other baits, so you don’t have to worry about it stinking up the truck or boat.

If it performed better in warmer waters (ie: stayed on the hook longer) we might have rated it higher but for colder waters the Wild Cat is hard to beat.

Preview Product Price
Wild Cat Shad Catfish Dip Bait Wild Cat Shad Catfish Dip Bait $10.52

Berkley Powerbait! Power Punch

Berkley has been a contender on the live-bait “replica” market for more than a few years now, so it only made sense they threw their hat into the ring with their own catfish-specific bait.

The Power Punch line of dip baits are different than most. Instead of being held together with morsels of food (that usually give up after a few minutes in the water) the Berkley baits are infused with fibrous stands that keep the baitballs firmly attached to your hook.

Even with the fibers, though, you may have a hard time keeping the bait stuck to a circle hook without a metal sheath or spring.  When you’re fishing in warmer waters the bait is actually designed to disperse quicker, leaving behind a larger scent trail.

Whether you see that as a benefit or a fault is entirely up to you. We see the merits in it.


What is the best catfish bait for you?

Are you a fan of the old school homebrew baits that leave your house, shop, shed and garage stinking like the bottom of the Mississippi river? Or do you prefer the grab-and-go baits and baitballs that we’ve featured here?

If you know of a bait we didn’t feature, chime in and let us know! We’re always on the hunt for the best catfish bait, plain and simple, and are willing to test just about anything you throw our way!  Feel free to check out our 21 catfishing tips for your next trip.