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15 Hilariously Effective Baits Used by Fishermen

Fishing enthusiasts have long sought the perfect bait to lure their catch, and while traditional options like worms and minnows are reliable, some fishermen swear by more unconventional choices. From household items to pantry staples, here are 15 hilariously effective baits that veteran anglers have found success with.

1. Soap

Believe it or not, soap has been a traditional bait for catfish for centuries. Chunks of pure soap, especially homemade lye soaps without added scents or chemicals, are particularly effective. The soap’s smell and texture attract catfish, making it a surprisingly effective bait.

2. Canned Meat

World War II-era canned meats, such as Spam, are not just nostalgic snacks; they also make excellent catfish bait. In 2001, an Arkansas fisherman set a record by catching a 116-pound blue catfish using canned meat. This bait has been passed down through generations, proving its worth time and again.

3. Dog Food

Dog food, whether wet or dry, is a popular choice among anglers. Some fishermen wrap it in cheesecloth or mix it with cornstarch, water, and flour to create a doughy consistency. This bait works well for carp, catfish, and various panfish species.

4. Chicken Liver

Chicken liver, with its strong smell, is a staple bait for catfish and hybrid striped bass. Its natural scent attracts fish from a distance, making it a go-to option for many anglers. Freshwater fishermen often find chicken liver particularly effective.

5. Raisins

Fruits like raisins, persimmons, and mulberries are excellent for attracting carp. An Alabama fisherman swears by golden raisins, especially in summer when they swell and ferment on the hook, releasing a sweet, irresistible aroma to catfish.

6. Chewing Gum

Chewing gum, particularly the bubble variety, is another unconventional bait. Anglers recommend chewing the gum briefly before sticking it to the hook. The gum’s sweet flavor attracts catfish and trout, making it an unexpected but effective choice.

7. Candy

From chocolate bars to gummy fish, candy has proven to be an effective bait. Sour worms, with their bright colors and worm-like shape, are especially attractive to fish. Some anglers have even used candy to catch non-gummy sand sharks.

8. Mini Marshmallows

Mini marshmallows, the kind you find in hot cocoa, are excellent for catching trout, especially stocked rainbow trout. Bluegill and certain sunfish species also have a taste for these sweet treats.

9. Hot Dogs

Hot dogs, especially chicken or turkey varieties, are a reliable backup when worms run out. They are particularly effective for bluegills and catfish. Bits of hot dog can mimic surface plug lures, attracting fish with their familiar shape and scent.

10. Doughnuts

Doughnuts, especially flavored ones, can be surprisingly effective. One inventive fisherman in North Carolina used a pumpkin-flavored doughnut to hook a sizable carp, demonstrating that fish can have a sweet tooth too.

11. Bacon

Bacon, whether raw or hickory smoked, is a breakfast favorite that also appeals to fish. Its strong smell and the oils in the bacon fat attract bluegills, crappies, and catfish. Most anglers agree that raw bacon is the best choice for fishing.

12. Cheese

Cheese, whether sharp, stinky, or processed, is a versatile bait. Broken into small pieces or balls, cheese has a great track record for landing trout and catfish. Its strong odor and rich taste make it an effective lure.


13. Cigarette Butts

Although unconventional and potentially harmful, some anglers claim success using cigarette butts as bait. They report hooking up to 100 fish in a single afternoon with discarded cigarette butts, though this practice is not recommended due to environmental concerns.

14. Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Peanut butter sandwiches, particularly those made with stale bread and sometimes enhanced with birdseed or garlic, are great for catching codfish, catfish, carp, and bluegill. Packing an extra sandwich for your fishing trip can yield surprising results.

15. Corn

Canned corn is a favorite for reeling in trout, carp, bluegill, and perch. Fishermen often toss a handful of kernels into the water to attract fish before casting their hook. Rainbow trout, especially those raised in hatcheries, are particularly susceptible to corn bait.

Fishing bait doesn’t always have to come from the bait shop. Sometimes, the best options are found right in your kitchen or pantry. These 15 unconventional baits have been proven effective by experienced fishermen, offering a fun and often humorous twist to the traditional fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a curious beginner, trying out these unique baits could lead to some impressive catches and unforgettable stories. Happy fishing!

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