Catfishes have barbels on their whiskers which are good sensor organs. As a result, they have a good ability to test and smell. On the other hand, they have a good vision of freshwater and muddy water system. Therefore, it’s easy to bite catfish in holes than any other fish. By finding catfish holes, and applying the baiting process, one can do this job perfectly. In this blog, I will try to explain how to bait a catfish hole and think it will be helpful for you.

Introducing Catfish

Catfishes are more available on all the continents except Antarctica. These guys are mostly freshwater species. Generally, catfishes are bottom feeders and eat water insects, aquatic plants, small fishes, snails, frogs, dead fishes, etc. They are mostly cylindrical body shape and the lower side of the body is flattened which allows them to drive the lowest level of water body systems and to find bottom foods. They are olive brown and have many round black spots on the backside.

Types of Catfish

Invertebrate order, catfish is the second most species. Among the three most available catfish in freshwater are Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish, and Blue Catfish. Identification of those fishes is not very hard, which is discussed below:

Flathead Catfish: Flathead catfishes are more identical than channel and blue catfishes. Those can be identified by their tails which are round in shape. The head is flatter than other catfishes. Skin color is a bit darker but it’s depended on the water quality. 

Blue Catfish: The tails of Blue catfish and channel catfish are the shape of the same fork, but Blue Catfish are bluer than Channel Catfish. The main differences between Blue Catfish and Channel Catfish are in anal fin and black spots. The anal fin of the Blue Catfish is more straight out as rectangular shape and does not have any black dots on its body. If you try to count the anal fin of blue catfish those are over 30 raised in number. Live and dead bait both are popular for Blue Catfish.

Channel Catfish: Channel Catfishes are brown and have black spots on their body side but it also depends on water quality. The anal fin is round in shape and less than 28 raised. Doe baits, worms, or any other small baits are used for channel catfish.

Living Habitats of Catfish

Catfish are found in a wide range of habitats based on their size and abundance of foods. They love to build their habitats on the current,well-oxygenated water but not deep. You may find them in rivers, lakes, ponds, streams swamps, sides of the channel, shallow sandbars and seasonally inundated floodplains, and many more inhabitant ecosystems.

Eating Habits

Catfishes are good predators and omnivores, so they eat meat, plat, and hunt their food. Their eating habits are changed with their age. At an early age, they hunt insects, mosquitoes, and their larvae. Starting to be adults they hunt snails, little frogs, small fishes, and seaweed, and in old age, they try to eat high-protein foods. In a word, they eat, which fits in their mouth.

Where to Find Catfish to Get Bite?

Locating the fish before baiting is a very important step to catch fish otherwise, your whole day will waste of time. It doesn’t matter how good your bait or fishing gear, it doesn’t matter how good is your bait or fishing gear, you are not able to catch them without locating them. Catfish love to build their habitats around available foods like bluegill, and crayfish and where they can control body temperature. So, finding out the food chain of catfishes is very important before catching them.

Emerged weed bed edge of the river and lake is one of my favorite places to catch catfish. Here, baby fishes live and grow up, and the catfishes are waiting for one to hunt on the edge of the weed beds.

Another great location to have catfish is an old rickety dock. Catfishes tend not to live under that but they use it as their hunting zone. A lot of bluegills, crappie, and minnows love to live under the dock. Dock boat ramps are also a great place for fishing.

You may find a pretty decent-size channel, blue and flathead catfishes underneath the bank. The better the undercut, the better bait catfishes. Little nook caves, steep slopes under the water, the shadow of hanging trees over undercut, and fallen dead trees for the extra shelter of catfishes are the most findable places to have catfishes. Undercut with a steep bank of deep water is the best place to bait catfishes. 

The process to Bait a Catfish Hole

Finding catfish holes: You can find the holes undercut the river bend which is shadowed by hanging trees, and fallen dead trees. You may also find it under the old rickety dock and emerged weed bed.

Bring them towards the fishing area or directly bait them in the holes: Before starting fishing, it needs to feed fish in a fishing area for 2 or 3 days at a certain time of the day. It helps to catch a lot of fish of different types. On the opposite side, you may also find catfish holes and bait in the holes. 

How to Bait a Catfish Hole

Bait for Catfish

Unfortunately, no bait works for every situation to catch in different environments and different kinds of catfishes. For bigger one shad is better than chicken liver sometimes. Sometimes hot dogs or worms or boiled feed corn work better to catch a little one or a good size one. There are many types of bait out there, some of these can use directly, or some need to add some flavoring ingredients for attraction to catfish.


Prepare bait is very popular among fishers men. There are many types of ingredients are used to prepare bait for the catfish.

  • For chumming baits dog food, chicken liver, or blood bait, minnows are used directly or with additives.
  • Wheat, cracked corn, and soybeans are the main ingredient to prepare bait among fisher’s men.
  • Cheese, blood, Jell-O powder, garlic, and anise oil are used for smell and color.
  • Beer and yeast are used to accelerate the fermentation process.


Preparing bait by yourself makes the bait less expensive. It’s very easy to prepare the bait. First, you need to take grain in a bucket or a bowl and add some water to make it slurry. Next, add some flavoring ingredients and take them for a moment for fermentation. Beer, which is a favorite in fish, can use to accelerate this fermentation.

For chumming bait as beef or dog food, you can use some Jell-O with it and take it to the refrigerator. After a certain time, you can see your bait is ready.

Popular Catfishes Baits

Schooling baitfish (Shad and Minnows): Gizzard Shad, pumpkin seeds, bluegill, white bass, hickory shad, American shad, Asian carp, sunfish, and minnows are the best bait fishes for catfishes. Catfish the little ones started to eat by hunting these little fishes and those are also eaten by many predators. Numerous schooling bait fishes are easily caught, and throwing a cast net is the most common way.

Boiled Feed Corn: For catching a good size of channel catfish and blue catfish, feed corn is good as bait. The best part of feeding corn is that it is super cheap. Making corn bait is easy. First, you need to soak it for 12 hours and then boil it until squishes with your fingers. 

Store Bait: Some grocery store items that can be used as bait include blood bait such as chicken liver, turkey liver, beef, hot dogs, and shrimp are also good baits for catfish in holes. Chicken liver is an excellent bait for holes, but the biggest problem with the liver is that they come off the hook so easily.

Worms (Earthworms): Earthworms are also good quality full bait for catfish. But the biggest problem with worms is that all kinds of fish big or small are attracted by worms.

Stink Bait (Pre-prepared Bait): There is some fishing pre-prepared bait in the store such as boilies which have a stinking for attraction of fishes. Different flavors of boilies are prepared for fishing bait.

Overall Thinking

Catfish have a good sensor organ that helps them to detect food easily. And now you know how to bait a catfish hole. So, make or take a stink bait and hold it in front of the catfish holes and stir.

Question & Answers

What is the best depth to catch catfish?

The depth at which catfish are caught can vary depending on the type of catfish and the time of year.

Channel catfish, which are the most widely distributed and commonly caught catfish in North America, are often caught in depths of around 10-20 feet, although they can also be found in shallower waters in the summer. They can typically be found in areas such as deep holes, drop-offs and channels in a river or lake.

Flathead catfish are often caught in depths of 20-40 feet, they are typically found in deeper waters than channel cats, they like areas with rocky or sandy bottoms and around structure such as logs, trees, or sunken boats.

Blue catfish, which is another common species of catfish, can be found in depths of 30-40 feet and can often be caught in areas with swift currents such as the main channels of rivers and big reservoirs.

It’s important to note that catfish are opportunistic feeders, and their location can depend on a variety of factors such as water temperature, oxygen levels, time of year, and food availability. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to try fishing at different depths and experimenting with different techniques to find where the catfish are in your local waters.

Do catfish bite better at night or day?

The biting activity of catfish can vary depending on the species and the time of year.

In general, catfish are considered to be nocturnal feeders, and are more active at night. This is because their natural prey, such as crayfish and minnows, are also more active at night. Also, catfish have sensitive barbels that help them locate food in the dark and murky waters, where their prey might hide.

However, it is also worth noting that catfish can be caught during the day as well, especially during summer when the water temperature is higher, catfish might become more active during the warmer hours of the day and also when the water is murky or stained, which makes it more difficult for the catfish to see and be caught.

It’s always a good idea to experiment with fishing during different times of the day, and to observe the water conditions, temperature and feeding patterns, when trying to catch catfish, as it will help you to better understand the behavior of the catfish and to improve your chances of catching them.

How long should you wait for a catfish bite?

The length of time you should wait for a catfish bite can vary depending on the type of catfish, the time of year, and the fishing conditions.

In general, catfish are considered to be opportunistic feeders, which means they will bite on a variety of baits and lures at different times throughout the day and night.

When fishing for catfish, it’s important to be patient and to wait for a bite. Typically, you should wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before checking your bait or lure. It’s also a good idea to keep your line tight and to watch for any movement or unusual activity that might indicate a bite.

In some cases, the bite might be subtle and not easily noticeable, so it’s important to be attentive and to keep an eye on your fishing line, so you do not miss a bite.

It’s worth noting that different catfish species, can have different feeding habits, for example, flathead catfish tend to feed on live bait and are less aggressive then channel catfish, which might take any kind of bait, so the waiting time may vary according to the species you are targeting.

Also, during different seasons, catfish behavior may change as they are more active during warmer months and adjust their feeding patterns according to the water temperature, food availability and so on.

What happens if a catfish bites you?

If a catfish bites you, the first thing you should do is remove the hook and release the fish back into the water as quickly and carefully as possible to minimize the harm to the fish.

Catfish do not typically pose a serious danger to humans when it comes to bites, but their mouths are lined with sharp, needle-like teeth and they might cause some discomfort or even a puncture wound.

If you do get bitten by a catfish, it’s important to clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water, and to apply an antiseptic to prevent infection. You should also keep an eye on the wound for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge.

Also, in some catfish species such as the bullhead, they have venomous fins, if they feel threatened they will release venom that can cause a burning, stinging sensation. If you get stung you should rinse the area with vinegar or alcohol, take over-the-counter pain relievers, and keep the affected area elevated to reduce the swelling.

It’s important to keep in mind that catfish are wild animals and their behavior can vary, it’s always good to handle them with care to prevent any injury to yourself or to the fish.

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