Papa’s Famous Catfish Bait Recipe



Catfish caught while fishing spinning rod | Papa's Famous Catfish Bait Recipe | Featured

Get more catch than you used to with this irresistible catfish bait. Consider this as a gift recipe from my family to yours!

RELATED: 5 Unconventional Fishing Techniques

In this article:

  1. Easy Catfish Bait Recipe
  2. What You Need
  3. Here's How to Make It
  4. Using the Bait

Papa’s “Special Blend” Catfish Bait

Easy Catfish Bait Recipe

Let me tell you a story of my Papa's catfish bait.

I recently visited my grandparents and had to help Papa clean out his tool shed.

While I was moving a toolbox around, I knocked over and broke a glass bottle and was quickly hit with an absolutely disgusting smell. I couldn’t pinpoint it but I knew it was vaguely familiar.

A few minutes later Papa came around to see how things were going and saw me gagging from the smell. He just laughed and said I see you found my “special blend” homemade catfish bait.

That’s when the memory if the smell hit me.

When I was a kid, my family would take a week-long camping trip at the end of October, to Lake Sam Rayburn, deep in the Piney Woods National Forest of East Texas. Every morning, around 4:00 am, we would take the boat out and run all of our trotlines on the misty black water of the lake.

I remembered the tendrils of mist that would curl around and into the boat and the faint rustling of animals at the water’s edge as they came for a morning drink.

Of all these things I remember the smell the most. My Grandpa would make his special blend of catfish “cheese” in January of each year and would let it sit and get “ripe” as he called it, until our camping trips.

As a child, I would get as far to the back of the boat as possible but nothing would escape that smell. You would have that lingering odor on you for days on end.

I could never believe it when we would pull up hundreds of pounds of catfish lures, a few alligator gar, the occasional snapping turtle, and even more rare, an actual alligator. Whatever it was that made it smell so rancid was the same thing that made it irresistible to the fish.

It wasn’t until years later that I finally got ahold of my papa’s recipe for both his cheese bait as well as his “blood ball bait.”

These recipes and catfishing technique have served my family quite well over the last few decades. Now, I want to share them with you.

What You Need

  • Mason jar (Papa would use an old mayonnaise jar)
  • 1lb of cheese spread (preferably cheddar) the cheaper the better
  • 8 oz. of beef blood
  • 1 container of minced garlic
  • Sawdust
  • Sponge
  • Popsicle stick
  • An out-of-the-way place allow it to ripen

Here's How to Make It

Step 1. Warm the Cheese

Allow the cheese to warm up either about 20-40 seconds in the microwave or a few minutes in the sun.

Step 2. Mix Cheese with Blood and Garlic

Mix the cheese, blood, and garlic into the jar and stir until it’s evenly dispersed and there are no big chunks.

Step 3. Add Sawdust to the Paste

Take the paste you have just made and add some of the sawdust to thicken it. Add a small amount at a time to avoid any big clumps.

RELATED: 26 Wacky Fishing Tips To Help You Fish Like A Redneck

Step 4. Make It Tacky

You want to add enough sawdust to make it tacky, almost to the consistency of thick oatmeal.

*If you add too much your bait will dry out and crumble; too little and it will wash off before you can land a fish

Step 5. Seal the Jar

Once you have the right consistency, seal the cap on the jar set it in an out-of-the-way place (preferably one that gets a good amount of sunlight).

Step 6. Let It Sit for a Week

You will want to let it sit for a minimum of a week, but the longer the better. Some of Papa’s bait has sat for 3 years before using it.

Using the Bait


When it’s time to grab your tackle box and the cheese bait, make sure that you don’t forget the popsicle stick and the sponge.

Once you get to your favorite catfishing hole it’s time to break out the cheese bait. (You may want to cover your nose with a handkerchief to avoid some of the smell)

Cut your sponge into long thin strips and then moisten them to make the sponge more pliable. Wrap the sponge around your hook (a treble hook works best) and make sure that the barbs on the hook catch the sponge so that it will stick to the hook underwater.

Use the Popsicle stick to avoid getting the bait on your hands, smear it on the sponge until it is fully saturated. You want to gently cast and allow the bait to get close to the bottom but not to where it drags as this will pull the bait off the hook.

If you don't feel any bites or catfish lure, pull the bait up about every hour or so and check the sponge, if it looks like most of the cheese has washed off of it, reapply and start over.

In addition to my Papa's catfish bait, check out Walmart's 5 best catfish baits by AnglersEscape:

If you follow the above recipe you should have no trouble pulling in plenty of catfish for a meal. This recipe has worked for my family for a long time and hopefully, it will work for you.

There are a ton of other recipes available online using many different ingredients and I would love to know what you use and what works for you.

Do you think this catfish bait will work for you too? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2012 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Andy

    October 25, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Minced garlic comes in different size jars. what size jar do you suggest?

    • Joe

      October 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

      I would go with the finest mince garlic you could find, that way you get as even of a spread of garlic in the bait as possible, that being said we have used just raw garlic cloves in the past, but the minced garlic just keeps you hands clean while your making it.

  2. farmist

    October 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Sounds very similar to what we used when I was a kid, but we used cotton balls instead of sawdust so the fibers would hold it together on the hook and we didn’t need the sponge.

  3. Jim Watson

    October 25, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    I used to fish with an old timer back in the 70’s He had something like that but he never shared the recipe. Smelled terrible but really brought in the cats. First time i went he suggested a deep sea ror. I really laughted at that. When we left he told me again to get a deep sea rod, Well I did it to pacify him. I started off with a goiod shakespear rod and reel. It had brought in many bass up to but not exceeding 10 lbs. Well within minutes that rod and reel was gone. The reel stripped out. The gears was gone. Then I broke out the deep sea rig. We fished about 3 hours and filled both our freezers. Hope your bait is as good as his. By the way he lived in East Texas also. We were fishing in a rice canal in Anahuac.

  4. josh

    December 10, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Can u post. A pic. Of your catch

  5. Adam

    January 18, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    All I say is cheap bacon on a treble hook at night.

  6. james bowie

    January 18, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    this sounds great gona try it ,thanks

  7. James

    January 18, 2014 at 7:20 PM

    Will try it, do you use a bobber or just gauge it close to the bottom?

  8. JERRY

    January 18, 2014 at 7:21 PM


  9. Roy

    January 18, 2014 at 7:38 PM

    I used limburger cheese and pulled apart cotton balls.

  10. walt

    January 18, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    Would you share the blood bait recipe ?

  11. Wild Bill

    January 18, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    AA Joe,

    Thanks so very much for sharing your GrandPapa’s Cheesy Catfish Bait, I am going to make some up for a trip that I want to make with my boys later this year.

    I was wondering if you would also share the Blood Ball Bait as well?

    Again Thanks!


    Wild Bill

  12. Blue

    January 18, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    I used some stuff like this that my grandpa made. He got the recipe from a buddy of his at the VFW in Longview, TX. We had to have cleaned out Lake of the Pines one summer, we just kept catching cats – even in the middle of the day!!

  13. Deb Conner

    January 19, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    My ex husband use to mix white cake mix, corn flakes, and cream corn together. Make stiff roll into balls and that use to get 10 to 15 pound catfish. Enjoy. He always protected that mixer recipe. Lol enjoy all

  14. Glen Eaton

    January 19, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    We used cattails from the pond edge.

  15. Donnie Pittman

    January 19, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    Thank you for sharing your catfish bait. I’ll let you know how it worked for me when I get the chance to use it.

  16. Scott Greene

    January 19, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Now keep in mind….this is illegal in most states…..BUT IF THE SHTF!!!
    Take a syringe,like a diabetic uses.Fill it with pure vanilla (not imitation)then inject your night crawlers with it…..even in the hot mid-day blazing sun….they can’t resist!!!!!

    • David

      September 10, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      What if no one knows you’ve injected the worms?
      And I’m wondering, can you inject liver with the vanilla for extra zip?

  17. Julie

    January 27, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    Where do you get beef blood from?

    • Anonymous

      October 22, 2018 at 2:53 PM

      From cows

  18. Mr. E

    June 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM

    What size of package is The minced
    Please respond

    • Lauren J

      June 24, 2014 at 5:09 PM

      1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic should work nicely.

  19. Mr. E

    June 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM

    What size package of minced garlic

  20. steve aronov

    July 28, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    I learned about a great catfish recipe one day on the lake from three dark skinned guys that were killing them,here it is 1.cut 2 inch square mackerel chunks, container of beef or chicken liver pureed, small bottle of anise flavoring(get it from the grocery store) small bottle of red food coloring,mix it all in a bucket and let it sit over night.the first time I used this bait,i caught 16 catfish 9 lbs to 21 lbs,also I had an incidental catch of 11 bass while fishing for cats.have fun.

    • David

      September 10, 2014 at 5:45 PM

      Injecting worms with vanilla is only illegal of get caught.

  21. Mike

    October 5, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    We made ours out of wheaties/blood/ cheese ..It works on just about any fish, catfish, drum, buffalo,carp,bass,crappie.Have fished the back-water of Sulphur River in Arkansas and caught enough to feed an army..

  22. Umpan Jitu Galatama lele Siang Hari

    January 17, 2016 at 7:02 AM

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    which is beneficial for my know-how. thanks admin

  23. Pingback: How to Build A Catfish Bait Chum Dispenser | Survival Life

  24. Mary

    October 7, 2018 at 7:45 PM

    Did anybody ever use a bait made using cotton seed and I don’t know what else but it was catfish bait ,it worked good on trot line’s.

  25. joan bowden

    October 8, 2018 at 10:49 AM

    My daddy, God rest him, fished trot lines in Lake Seminole, FL AKA the Redneck Riviera for many, many years. He started out using earthworms w/ poor results. Then night crawlers, OK, a little better. Then an old man told him about his “secret” to catching catfish on trotlines. Ivory soap! Daddy went from 40-50 lbs.per day to over 200 lbs per day! Seems the smell of the soap as it melts in the water is irresistible to the fish.

  26. Pingback: Survival Fishing | Unconventional Methods To Catch Fish

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