Liver is one of the most widely used baits for catching catfish. It is readily available nearly anwhere, inexpensive, and is known for catching large numbers of “eater-sized” catfish. Livers strong smell and large amount of blood can call channel cat in from great distances. Chicken or turkey livers are preferred but beef or just about any other animal liver will work. Although liver is commonly used on a treble hook, in this article, we will show you a few ways to make it stay on a standard J or circle hook much better. I do not like to use trebles as they are often swallowed making a successful release impossible.
Nothing really magical about Magic Thread, this is simply elastic sewing thread. It can be used to hold a chunk of liver on a J or circle hook very easily with no knots.
- Thread a piece of liver repeatedly on to your hook.
- Tear off a 6-8 in. piece of thread and begin wrapping it around your liver and hook.
- Continue wrapping until there is only an inch or so left, pull it tight, and go fish. The elastic should hold without a knot.
While this method is somewhat laborious, it is one of the best ways of keeping liver on the hook. Making these pouches is easy, inexpensive, and materials needed are easy to find. You will need “magic thread”, scissors, panty hose or bait mesh, and of course liver.
- Take your liver out of the tub and try to shake off some of the blood.
- Using scissors, cut your livers up into bait-sized pieces. 1 1/2-2″ cubes or so.
- Cut the panty hose or bait mesh into 2-3″ squares.
- Place one piece of liver onto a square of panty hose or bait mesh.
- Pull the mesh tight around the liver and wrap the top with a few turns of thread to seal.
- Put all of the pouches back into the tub and refrigerate for your next trip.
- Hook the pouches once through the hose and catch some fish!
There are several ways of curing livers for catfish bait. One good way is to simply dehydrate them in a food dehydrator. When they are cast into the water they will rehydrate and begin distributing scent. They can be stored in ziplock bags and cut into bait sized pieces as needed. Dehydrated livers will keep for up to a year when packaged and refrigerated. Another way to dehydrate livers is simply to place them on racks of hardware cloth and set them in the hot sun for a few days. Livers can also be salt cured. Salt curing takes less time than sun drying and also allows the option to add other flavorings. Salt curing is commonly paired with a large amount of garlic powder, which in known for calling in channel catfish.
- Curing livers can be done on cookie sheets but, I prefer doing it on 2′x2′ racks made from hardware cloth
that you can purchase online or at your local hardware store. This will allow the moisture and excess blood to drain away reducing the cure time.
- Remove the livers from the tub and spread them out onto your rack being sure they are not touching each other.
- Cover the liver thoroughly in salt or in a salt and garlic powder mixture.
- When they become dark brown and no longer feel moist, flip them over and repeat.
- Continue this process until they feel like soft jerky and are not moist to the touch.
- Cut into bait-sized pieces and store them in ziplock bags in the refrigerator.
For the beginner catfisherman and to put some nice channels on the table, there are few baits as productive, easy to use, and readily available as liver. Be sure to look at our other articles for more great catfishing bait ideas!