Using dip bait is a popular and effective way to catch catfish. It allows you to quickly get long lasting and strong smelling bait out to catfish without having to handle much stink bait yourself. When anglers want to get into a bunch of catfish quick they often turn to dip bait. And for good reason!
Dip bait is a semi-soft type of bait that is made from things that are known to attract catfish. That means blood, cheese, garlic and the like. Catfish Charlie probably makes the most popular dip bait in the United States. But it’s definitely not alone. Other national companies like Magic make dip baits too. So do a number of local manufacturers.
Dip bait normally isn’t solid enough to simply mold onto a hook like you would do with doughball or dough bait. Plus, it usually stinks pretty bad. So it’s not necessarily the kind of stuff you’d want to mold into balls with your hands anyway.
Putting dip bait on your hook
So how do you get dip bait on your hook? As the name suggests you use dip bait by “dipping” a hook into it. Single hooks don’t hold dip bait well. A treble hook can be used, but specially made dip bait holders are better. The bait usually isn’t all that soft though. So it’s more of a push and pull process than a simple dip. For that reason, dip bait is also known as punch bait because you can “punch” a hook into it with a stick.
After you push your hook or holder down into the dip bait, you simply pull it back up by the attached line. Then you’ll have a nice good gob of the dip bait covering most of your hook. Dip bait holders that are made right will really hold onto the dip bait and lock in the scent. This gives you a better chance of bringing in catfish and hooking them.
Dip bait rigs
Dip bait holders come in numerous forms. You can even make your own. But since they are a lot of really good dip bait holders sold at reasonable prices, a lot of people simply buy them ready made. There are dip bait sponges, dip bait worms, dip bait balls, dip bait tubes and more. I think the best and easiest to use dip bait holders widely available today are the Catfish Charlie Dip Bait Worms and K&P Catfish Bait Balls. But plenty of other things like Magic Sponge Hooks work too.
Rigging a dip bait holder is easy. I normally run a slide sinker on my main line. Then I slide on a small bead. After that I tie my line to an appropriately sized barrel swivel. I use SPRO swivels almost exclusively because they’re so strong and well made. Then I tie a couple of inches of line on the other end of my swivel and attach the dip bait holder to that. Many dip bait holders come pre-rigged on a leader. So you can just connect the leader directly to the swivel.
Dip bait works well for catfish
Once it’s all ready to go, I get a stick and push my hook down into the dip bait. Then I pull it out and cast it out to a likely spot. I set the rod and wait for a bite. The dip bait scent disperses in the water and the catfish move in. When I see a take I set the hook. That’s really all there is to it!
Dip bait holders can also be fished under slip bobbers. This is especially effective when the cats are feeding up off the bottom. Sometimes you can even entice sluggish catfish laying on the bottom this way. They sense the bait up above them and move in for the kill.
Dip bait is mainly meant for channel catfish. They really love the stuff. Since channel cats typically don’t have much fear of hooks and rigging, using a dip bait holder covered in dip bait can catch a mess of them. You might also catch some bullheads on dip bait. I wouldn’t expect to catch any blue cats or flatheads on this stuff though. Sure it could happen, but it’s not all that likely.
If you’re looking to catch some channel catfish, give some serious consideration to this approach. It really is one of the best ways to catch channel cats pretty much everywhere you can find them. Varying your bait is easy too since there are so many varieties. Try a few things and see what works best for you.