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Learn the Most Productive Catfish Baits and Bluegill

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Editor’s Note: I like to fish for eaters. As a child, I fished with my father on almost every day off he had. We fished on nearby rivers and lakes, caught a wide variety of fish, cleaned our catch and took them home for my mother to cook for supper. Eating what we caught extended our fishing fun and provided delicious food for our family. Let’s look at some ways to find and catch more catfish and bluegills.

Catfish Baits: Catfish will eat most anything, including fish like gizzard and threadfin shad, miniature marshmallows, homemade soured-food cooked mixtures like pineapple and rice, dry dogfood sunk in a burlap bag, wieners, chicken livers, soap, golden raisins, commercially-prepared catfish bait, suckers, mullet, freshwater mussels, hellgrammites, worms, leeches, frogs and any decaying matter. Here are some favorite catfish baits:

* Fresh Chicken Livers – Easy-to-find and purchase, this bait will produce cats, regardless of where you fish.

* Shad Gut – This natural catfish food has a strong smell and a tantalizing action.

* Cut Shad – This productive bait works especially good in tailrace areas but also yields catfish further down the river and in most lakes and rivers that home good shad populations.

* Night Crawlers – This natural bait will pay catfish dividends immediately after a rain with a large amount of runoff. Also, in the spring and early summer, when rivers and lakes flood, and cats move into shallow-water areas, night crawlers may be more productive than any other bait.

* Catalpa Worms – Wherever you find catalpa trees close to a river, creek or stream throughout the United States, you can bet those catalpa worms will yield more catfish than any other baits. Even in places where no catalpa trees grow, the caterpillars that feed on the catalpa leaves seem to catch more cats than any other bait you use.

* Live Minnows – Catfish feed on live bait as well as dead bait.  Live minnows always have produced catfish.

* Hot Dogs – Although you can fish hot dogs right out of the package, they catch more catfish if you soak them overnight in some type of catfish attractant like a dip bait or a liquid catfish bait.

* Rancid Shrimp — Most grocery stores and fish markets will have packages of shrimp on-hand that have turned bad. Although not fit for human consumption, the smell of that bad shrimp will pull in cats and cause them to feed.

Best Bluegill Baits:

* Crickets – You most always can catch bluegills on crickets. I think bluegills prefer them rather than worms because they taste more natural.

* Georgia Jumping Worms – When you put a hook in one and watch it twist, wiggle and squirm, that action attracts bluegills.

* The Renosky Keystone Minnow – When fished on 4-pound test line, this small, colorful rubber jig allows you to cover plenty of water to catch bluegills.

* Berkley Gulp! Euro Larvae ( – These tiny baits work great when the bluegills don’t want to bite.

* The Squirrel-Tail Jig – These small lures look like little flies and can cause big bluegills to feed actively.

* The Chartreuse Popping Bug – This bait produces bass and bluegill for the warm-water fly-fishermen who don’t fish for trout.

* The Mepps #0 Spinner ( – This little spinner produces bluegills anywhere you find them.

* Mayflies – When Mayfly hatches occur, you’ll have to spot them, also known as shadflies and fishflies, from the water. When bream are feeding on mayflies, you can pluck these insects off trees and bushes and load up on bluegills with them. The mayflies sometimes swarm so thickly that as many as 1400 have been found in one square foot of surface.

To learn more about catching catfish, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Catfish Like a Pro,” available in Kindle and paperback, at You can also get a free eBook copy of “The Catfish Catcher’s Cookbook” at

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