How To Use Stink Bait To Catch Channel Catfish

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How Do You Use Stink Bait To Catch Channel Catfish?


Sealed tightly in a jar on the shelves of some old bait shops sits a homemade concoction of rotten cheese, special ingredients, and cat tails.  Open the jar, take one smell and you just might be ready to puke.  Don’t dip your fingers in it bare or that same smell will be with you for days to come no matter how much you try cutting your fingernails down!

Homemade Stink Bait is one of the best catfish baits available to channel cat fishermen, but why does it work so well?  Can catfish not smell?  

Well…no, they have one of the most prolific sense of smells of any fish species!

Channel catfish are bottom feeders who scour the bottoms of creeks, rivers, and reservoirs.  Using their sense of smell, they will use any channel flow to their advantage as they hunt down food.

I will first discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using stink bait and then offer up a few tips that will help you catch more channel catfish!


The Advantages Of Using Stink Bait To Catch Channel Catfish


  • Stink Bait Gives You A lot Of Bang For Your Buck
  • Stink Bait Works Extremely Well
  • It Is Usually Made By Local Anglers


Stink Bait Gives You A Lot Of Bang For Your Buck


Picking up a one-pound jar of densely packed homemade stink bait you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch channel catfish.  When people make a batch of it, they will usually mix large quantities in five-gallon buckets and then reduce it to smaller containers.

Homemade cheese/stink bait usually runs between $5 and $8 per jar, and unless you’re planning on catching over a hundred channel cats in one day this should be all you’ll need!


Stink Bait Catches Catfish As Well As Any Bait!


Next to leeches, stink bait has been the second most productive bait for me when fishing for channel catfish.  Between the Big Muddy River, Rend Lake, and Grain bins located along the Ohio River, I don’t think you could choose a better bait to catch them!


Catfish Anglers Are Usually The Ones Who Make Stink Bait.


Who better than a catfish angler to test, develop, and make a side income off of their passion?


The Disadvantages Of Using Stink Bait To Catch Channel Catfish


  • Stink Bait STINKS!
  • Stink Bait Doesn’t Stay On The Hook Long



Stink Bait Stinks!


I used this stuff all through my teens and perhaps that explains why I didn’t have a lot of dates…

Most of the times I went to bait my hook, I’d just dip my bare hands in there smashing that stuff under my fingernails.  Evenings when I got home to eat, I could smell it as I lifted a for full of food towards my mouth (it was still worth it).

For this stuff to work it has to be potent so as long as you can handle it, the channel catfish can handle.


Stink Bait Doesn’t Stay On The Hook Long


The one downfall I could never get past was all the snags I would get while fishing on bottom for channel catfish with stink bait.  Stink bait has additives to it like cat tails in order to bond it to a treble hook once it’s wrapped around it.  Regardless of how well the chemistry is the current will eventually dilute the bait down and wash it away.  

Consequently, you’ll have to check your bait every fifteen to twenty minutes which raises the risk of getting caught up on the bottom.


Tips On Using Stink Bait To Catch The Most Channel Catfish!


1.) Use Small Spring Wrapped Treble Hooks

 Given that channel catfish are the smaller of the popular species to catch I go with a smaller treble hook.  Certain hooks contain springs around them which with the assistance of the cat tail cause the bait to stick to the hook a little bit longer.  

You can get up to an extra five minutes of the bait sticking to your hook using the spring vs. not using a spring at all.  This extra five minutes will give the catfish time to find your bait and believe me it makes a difference!


2.) Use Stink Bait In Current Always!

The main objective is to take advantage of the channel catfish’s sense of smell.  Current drags fragments of the cheese stink bait down river bringing them in from all over!

If you see eddies forming on the surface cast directly into them.  Catfish will setup just outside of these trying to catch any easy meal they can!

If you’re fishing a reservoir, then use stink bait around bridges as these provide the most current!


3.) Use Gloves When Possible

Surgeon gloves make a great barrier between your fingers and stink bait.  When you do use it understand that you’ll need an entire box if you plan on fishing all day as they ware out quickly!




Homemade stink bait is a very powerful weapon in your arsenal when chasing channel catfish.  It has the advantage of drawing the treasured fish in from the longest distances.

The great news with stink bait is that if you catch one, cast right back out there as likely more than one was using their noses to find your bait!

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