Catfish Stink Bait 101: Mastering the Best Attraction

Catfish are notorious for their love of smelly baits, and their willingness to bite on unconventional options such as hotdogs or even soap. This peculiarity allows anglers to tap into their creative side and experiment with various DIY baits, tailoring the perfect recipe for their local waters and the fish that inhabit them.

Stink bait for catfish stands out as one of the most popular choices amongst catfish anglers. Although it may repel humans with its potent odor, this bait exerts a powerful allure for fish. Anglers can choose between buying ready-made stink bait or making their own. This sticky bait can be shaped into compact balls, and there are various smelly ingredients available in the market.

Although stink bait is effective, it’s not a guaranteed solution for catching fish. Anglers need to consider different bait options and specific conditions to increase their chances of success. Stink bait is particularly useful for novice anglers, attracting younger and smaller catfish with its strong scent.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons behind catfish’s affinity for stink bait, provide valuable insights on how to effectively utilize it, and even share one of my favorite stink bait recipes, specially designed for beginners. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets of stink bait for catfish.

What is Stink Bait for Catfish?

Stink bait, a powerful catfish bait, is easily made with common household ingredients. Its strong odor attracts catfish due to their keen sense of smell. The irresistible scent acts as a tempting treat, luring these aquatic creatures effectively.

The Appeal and Effectiveness of Stink Bait

Stink bait is highly effective in attracting and catching catfish due to its powerful odor. With their exceptional sense of smell, catfish are drawn to the strong scent emitted by this type of bait. 

In fact, scent is a crucial factor in successful catfish lures. Unlike other fish species, catfish have sensitive membranes in their nostrils that enable them to detect compounds in the water. The more folds these membranes possess, the more acute their sense of smell becomes. It is this heightened olfactory capability that makes catfish unable to resist the allure of stink bait.

Stink Baits Vs Artificial Baits

When it comes to catfishing, stink bait offers a distinct advantage due to its ability to stimulate a fish’s sense of smell. These baits are designed to emit an enticing odor that closely resembles the food that catfish naturally consume. By appealing to a catfish’s olfactory senses, stink bait effectively lures them in.

Artificial baits prioritize visual appeal over scent, unlike stink bait which relies on its powerful odor to attract catfish. While live baits may be better for aggressive catfish species, the strong scent of stink bait is a successful alternative. Catfish have excellent olfactory senses which enable them to detect and follow strong scents effectively.

Stink bait taps into catfish’s natural instincts, attracting them with a delectable scent. This effective strategy gives anglers an edge in pursuing these apex predators. Its potent odor is a game-changer for attracting catfish.

Types of Stink Bait

Commercially available stink bait options: 

  • Dough baits, with their pizza-dough consistency, attract catfish with their irresistible scent trail. To ensure better hooking results, use mesh or cloth dough bait bags and spring-wound treble hooks. Thick dough mixtures that mold around the hook work best. Let the bait sit for 15-20 minutes before moving.
  • Stinky dip baits with a nacho-like texture require catfish worms. Stir the bait until smooth, then dip the dry worm for better adhesion. Fill the lure with the bait, cast it, and let it sink to attract catfish with its scent. Regularly dunk the bait to refresh the scent and ensure fresh appeal.
  • Punch baits are dip baits with added fiber. Push a treble hook into the bait tub and pull it out to snag the fibers and cover the hook with bait.

Homemade stink bait recipes:

  • Chicken Livers – Catfish are big fans of stink bait. While it can be challenging to attach to your fishing line, blending a combination of these baits along with cheese creates a delicious and effective treat that stays securely in place.
Chicken liver
  • Cheese – Smelly cheese like Limburger from old Europe is excellent for making effective stink bait. Blending it with other ingredients helps it hold together.
  • Raw Fish – Forget about splurging on expensive sushi. I’m suggesting using store-bought fish or even something you caught yourself. Let it sit in the refrigerator until it develops a strong aroma. Then, blend it before the smell takes over your home.
Raw fish bait
  • Soap -Catfish are inexplicably drawn to stink bait, and one way to make it even more enticing is by adding unscented soap. Blend it into the bait or use it to coat dough balls for a stronger aroma.
Soap as catfish Bait
  • Chicken Blood – Adding blood to your stink bait mixture can be a game-changer when it comes to attracting catfish. These scavengers are highly attracted to the scent of blood, as it mimics the natural odors of their prey. By incorporating this potent scent into your bait, you’ll be increasing your chances of reeling in a big catch.
  • Sausages – To maximize effectiveness, opt for fresh, high-quality ingredients when making stink bait for catfish. While using aged sausages or hot dogs is common, it’s more effective to use fresh bait made specifically for catfish. This guarantees a potent scent and optimal appeal. If you do choose sausages or hot dogs, cut them into smaller pieces or blend them to enhance their aroma.
Hotdog an catfish
  • Tuna or Sardines – Stink bait is a popular choice among catfish anglers globally. The strong scent of tuna, resembling their natural prey, attracts catfish. While baiting with oily fish can be challenging, the payoff is worth it as stink bait is highly effective.
Canned Tuna Bait
  • Shrimp – Frozen shrimp is an excellent addition to catfish stink bait. Its natural scent and texture are irresistible to catfish. You can use whole shrimp or chop them into smaller pieces, depending on your preference.
    Frozen Shrimp

Now something to stick these ingredients to:

  • Flour – Rolling stink bait in flour is a simple way to achieve the desired thickness, but it may require some experimentation to find the right amount of flour.
  • Bran Flakes – Add some texture and durability to your stink bait by incorporating crushed bran flakes. By mixing it into the bait, you’ll give it a firmer consistency, making it more convenient to apply onto your fishing line.
  • Cotton – Using ordinary household cotton as a binder for stink bait may sound unusual, but don’t dismiss it just yet. While it may require some trial and error, it’s definitely worth a try.

Techniques for Using Stink Bait

1.) For effective stink bait for catfish, opt for small treble hooks wrapped in springs. This design securely holds the bait, preventing it from detaching while casting or during a fish bite. The added spring movement enhances its appeal to catfish, increasing your chances of a successful catch. To attract and reel in catfish reliably, try using these treble hooks.

2.) To effectively target catfish, it is crucial to capitalize on their highly developed sense of smell. One effective method is to employ cheese stink bait, which disperses enticing fragments downstream, attracting them from afar.

Look for swirling eddies on the water’s surface when casting. Catfish gather in these feeding areas, so cast into the eddies to attract them and offer an easy meal.

Increase your chances of catching channel catfish in reservoirs by targeting bridges. These structures create strong water currents, making them ideal spots for catfish. Use stink bait in these areas to attract them effectively.

3.) Surgeon gloves protect against stink bait smell, but may not last all day. Use multiple gloves and replace as needed to keep scent at bay during fishing.

How to Keep Stink Bait on a Hook?

For effective stink bait that stays on a hook, consistency and stickiness are important. Sticky varieties work best and treble hooks are optimal, although this bait is not ideal for catch and release. Punch baits can be used alone, with the hook laid on the bait and firmly smoothed in with a spatula. Dip tubes can hold thinner bait, and some anglers use sponges or cheesecloth to firm it up.

To make stink bait sticky, add peanut butter, molasses, or cattail instead of flour or cornstarch. Molasses should be used sparingly due to its sweetness. Experienced anglers recommend using peanut butter with cheese-based bait and cattails with blood and liver-based bait. Any dense, creamy, and sticky cheese will work well, regardless of its level of smelliness. Also, don’t forget to consider the catfish stink bait rig.


Stink bait for catfish is a game-changer due to its irresistible scent. It’s a reliable choice for all anglers fishing in rivers, lakes, or ponds. Anglers can improve fishing skills by experimenting with various scents and textures finding the ideal combination that attracts catfish.

This fosters innovation and contributes to the collective knowledge of the sport. Stink bait brings anticipation and excitement to each fishing trip, making it a captivating tool for success. So, embrace the challenge and let the world of catfish fishing unfold with the power of stink bait.

If you would like to learn more about stink baits that were not covered in the blog, please leave a comment below. We are eager to engage in a discussion and provide further information on this topic.

Additional Resources:

  1. How to make your own catfish stinkbait:,spend%20any%20money%20buying%20sushi.
  2. How to use dip baits on channel catfish:
  3. Number 1 tip for catching more catfish with stinkbaits:
  4. How to bait a hook with catfish punch bait:

Home made catfish bait secrets:

Scroll to Top