Set Your Hook

5 Homemade Fishing Baits

Have you ever thought about making your own fishing bait? Personally, I’ve never tried it, but my friend Bob swears by it. He has a super-secret recipe that he’s forbidden me to share! (But he gave a bit to The Queen Mother for Christmas so she’ll try it out in June when she and ESP Boss go on vacation!)

This week, I’ll be sharing with you five “recipes” for making your own fishing bait. In a few weeks, when the “Royal” Family heads to Ashurst Lake to do some fishing, we’ll test all 5 baits head-to-head against a store-bought bait and I’ll bring you the results.

Before using these, or any homemade baits, be sure to check with your local fishing regulations to make sure that homemade baits are permitted. You also need to make sure there are no ingredients on a do-not-use list.

An important thing to consider when making your own bait is to keep track of your “recipe”. You don’t want to catch your limit of fish and then realize you’re not exactly sure what was in your bait!

I recommend that you store your baits in the refrigerator until ready to take to the lake. All baits seem to work better when they are warm (and smelly) but I don’t recommend storing the baits in the garage. The neighbors might complain!

In the photo below, my grandma (ESP Boss’ mother) caught this ENORMOUS catfish using store-bought bait. I can’t wait to see what I can catch using these recipes!

Catching fish runs in the family!

Fancy Catfish Bait


  • 1 can Fancy Feast Cat food
  • Flour

In a large bowl, pour the entire contents of the cat food can, including juice. Start adding flour slowly, kneading it by hand until it is dry enough to not stick to your hand, but damp enough to hold its shape. Form into balls just big enough to cover a treble hook. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Any-Fish Doughballs


  • White bread
  • Juice from a can of tuna fish (packed in water, not oil)
  • Shredded cheese
  • Garlic powder

Mix the juice, garlic powder, and shredded cheese into bread and form into balls.

(Across the board, all the people that swear by doughballs say that the stinkier they are the better!)

Gourmet Bait


  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Brown sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

Run the raisins and parmesan cheese through a food processor to make a paste. Heat apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, brown sugar and corn syrup over a low flame until hot but not boiling. Cool the mixture and then add it to the raisin paste. With your fingers, form into balls. This can then be thickened using either flour or corn meal till the desired thickness is achieved.

There are many recipes for catfish bait. You can make catfish bait; by following this recipe for catfish bait. You need some white flour, 3 ounces of water, 2 ounces of b.b.q. sauce and 2 ounces of garlic. All this has to be mixed to which required amounts of flour is added to get the desired thickness. Try this bait and you will find that it makes one of the best bait for catfish!

Another type of homemade catfish bait can be made using tuna, cheddar or limburger cheese, garlic powder, flour and vegetable oil. First you have to mush half of the tuna and cheese in a large bowl and then add oil till the required consistency arrives. Add a tablespoon of flour to every one-fourth cup of tuna and cheese and six shakes of garlic powder to a cup of tuna and cheese. You then freeze this catfish bait to be used when going fishing.

Cheesy Trout Bait


  • Velveeta cheese (full block)
  • 1 Tbs. anise oil
  • 1 Tbs. garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup corn meal
  • Red food coloring (optional)

Place the cheese in a microwave safe bowl and heat it until it is melted. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients and the anise oil. Slowly stir dry ingredients into melted cheese, adding water as needed, until the mixture becomes a heavy dough.

Add red food coloring (optional) a drop at a time until the desired shade is achieved.

Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a rapid boil. While waiting for the water to boil, pinch off enough of the dough to form a small ball and roll it until it forms a ball. Form all of the dough into balls. Drop in a few dough balls into the water at a time. Cook the balls in the boiling water for 1-2 minutes and then place on paper towels to dry off the excess water.

Crunchy Bait


  • Sweetened corn flake cereal (like Frosted Flakes)
  • 1 can dog food
  • 1 can cream of corn
  • Garlic salt

In a large zippered bag, lightly crush the sweetened corn flakes. In a separate bowl mix the dog food, cream of corn and garlic salt. Add the crushed cereal until the mixture forms a heavy dough. Form into balls.

Readers weigh in:

What are your favorite homemade baits? Do you have any sure-fire ingredients? What is the best bait you’ve ever used and what did you catch with it?

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