Catfish Bait – Stinkbait 101

Although the number of brands and flavors of catfish “stink” baits is astronomical, they can be broken down in to three main categories: dough bait, punch bait, and dip bait.   Stink baits are available almost everywhere any kind of sporting goods are sold.  Stink baits do not need to be refrigerated, last ages (if they are in a sealed container), and are a great grab and go bait.  They all share one characteristic, they STINK!   While they have been known to catch blue catfish and, on very rare occasions, a flathead, they are primarily a channel catfish bait.   Each one has its pros and cons but, in general, they do catch great numbers of fish in many parts of the country.  In this article we discuss characteristics, baiting, rigging, and a few examples of each type.  Stink baits are a great way to get anyone started catching catfish.  They are a favorite of mine for the kids as the action is usually fast and furious!

Dip Baits:

Dip baits are probably the most prolific of the stink baits. Dip baits are designed to be used with some type of
bait holder
that can be pushed into the tub and loaded with bait using a paint stir stick. Due to their soft, peanut butter like consistency, they can not be used with a regular hook. he smooth consistency adds to their cat calling abilities since it will quickly distribute a scent trail into the water. The downfall is that they do break down quickly in the water and must be re-baited often. Rigging for dip bait is usually a standard carolina rig, but any rigging should work.

Punch Baits:

Punch baits are very similar to dip baits except for the texture.   Punch baits have some sort of binder or thickener such as cotton or cattails added to the mixture.  This allows punch bait to be loaded onto a spring treble or regular treble hook.  They are a “no touch” bait and will be loaded by pushing the hook into the container and working in onto the hook with a stick or paint stirrer.  The biggest advantage to punch baits is they require no special bait holder.  Because of their soft nature, they also will break down quickly in the water, quickly calling in catfish from great distances.

Dough Baits:

Dough baits are only similar to its counterparts in one aspect, smell.  Ocasionally you will find them in a tub but most often they are preformed into balls that can be molded around a spring or regular treble hook.  The pieces are still usually still quite soft, so getting them to stay on a normal j hook or circle hook can be next to impossible.  Dough baits are not messy but do require touching the bait to mold it around the hook.

With such an abundance of different stink baits available, I recommend doing a little research.  Ask around online and locally and find out what is working well for other catfishermen.  My two personal favorites are Sonny’s and Secret 7.  I have never personally caught a monster on these but I have caught hundreds of nice channel cats up to 10 pounds.   It is also a good idea to take along a few different brands or flavors because what works one day may not work the next.  In future articles, we will be doing some field testing, reviews, and instructions on rigging and using stink baits.

Do you use stink baits and have great luck?  Drop us an email and tell us your experiences!  Contact us.

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8 Responses to “Catfish Bait – Stinkbait 101”

  1. James Sanders
    January 13, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Yes I use stink baits. They work great in the upper waters of Pickwick lake in TN. I have literally caught hundreds of channel cats using them. It’s fun and fast. Love it. Only one problem, trying to figure out how to keep the bait from being completely swallowed by the fish. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Catfishadmin
      January 14, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

      James, what type of baitholders are you using? If they are treble hooks, this is just bound to happen. I would say, either try making your own with some surgical tubing or replace the hook with a circle hook. This should help. I will be doing an article soon on making your on dip tubes.

  2. Dennis
    February 20, 2011 at 12:27 am #

    Fella’s had to reply. treble hooks often are called trouble hooks. I make a Channel cat dipworm that comes rigged with a 2/0 heavy single hook. I have no trouble missing fish with a single. This tube floats hook and bait off bottom, holds bait longer than anything on the market, even in heavy current. And comes in a huge 4″ size for blues that has caught several fish over 60 pounds last yr, I use a 5/0 or 6/0 circle hook with the blue cat series.Please visit the web site for a look. I’LL be watching for the dipworm article. thanks

  3. Max
    March 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I like Magic Bait Dough Balls okay. Just stick to King Kat chicken blood and Great Scott liver and cheese.

    • Catfishadmin
      March 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      I personally do not fish with them much any more as I like to target larger fish. I did use them alot in the past and have probably caught 1000’s in the 1-5 lb range. It is hands down one of the best baits for numbers of catfish. I always had the best success with Sonny’s Blood Dip Bait myself.

  4. roy
    October 31, 2014 at 8:46 am #

    here in oklahoma danny king (CHEESE) and benny roberts sureshot (shad) are two of the best and most popular….sureshot does catch blues too…

  5. Hamm
    April 11, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    I fish for channel,blue & bullhead in the San Miguel & Delores rivers in Colorado approximately 100 miles south of Grand Jct. The best bait hands down are Boneytail chub. So the first thing you have to do is catch a chub with a worm then cut it into chunks. Fold the chunk in 1/2 and pierce it with a single hook twice so the meat side is out. I am fishing in a strong current with a lot of debris to get snagged on, so a treble hook is not an option. I cast down stream to where I want the bait to drift into the edge of the shore under the bank. As always, patients is everything. if you have to reel in you may get snagged, so hopefully you want to catch a fish to keep from getting snagged.
    Here in Colorado the catfish do not come up the river until the water warms up. So once again you have to be patient until sometime around the 1st of June.
    We are at the mercy of the Bonytail Chub. So I am trying to find bait to use when I can’t catch a chub. A worm is the best 2nd choice, but you catch smaller fish. I am told that sucker meat is as good as the chub but so far I haven’t caught any suckers. I’m sure that if I chopped up any of the 2 legged suckers that there are an abundance of, I would be jailed for life and the only fish I would catch would be in my dreams. I’ve tried perch,liver,stink & numerous other bait, but so far the only thing that is as good as chub are the guts from any fish (particularly the roe)but guts are limited and do not stay on the hook for long. I am open to any suggestions.

    • Catfishadmin
      April 16, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

      Mesh bait bags, small piece of panty hose, elastic thread would all be options. Do you have gizzard or threadfin shad, skipjack, mooneye, carp in your area. All of them are very productive here. Some are better on different bodies of water. About any fish that is legal bait is good for catfish, live or as cutbait.

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