Can you catch catfish on soap? The answer is yes. That doesn’t mean that every catfish species in the world will eat every kind of soap. But certain bar soaps and homemade concoctions including soap can definitely catch blues and channel cats.
Bar soap can be cut to shape and it stays on the hook for a long time. It also breaks down in the water and leaves a trail. Since catfish utilize their sense of scent to feed it makes sense that they would be able to key in on soap. But why do blue catfish and channel catfish eat soap?
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The key is the ingredients in the soap which can include animal products that catfish might recognize as food. Certain kinds of bar soap like pink Zote laundry soap in particular are said to work well. Other soaps with a more man-made or antibacterial ingredients probably aren’t going to work as well, if they even work at all.
Pink Zote laundry soap seems to be the most popular overall. The white Zote soap supposedly doesn’t work at all. I have met some older guys who swear that white Ivory soap works well for catfish. I am sure soaps with natural ingredients like animal fats would also work.
Others have run with this and come up with their own soap baits made especially to catch catfish. Cool Cat Anise Soap is made in America as a catfish bait. There are also some pre-cut soap chunks available that are meant to be used as bait.
Some people will also make their own homemade catfish soap bait using things like bacon grease, anise or other flavorings. The soap works as a sort of a sturdy base and the rest of the flavors leech off into the water dispersing a scent trail for catfish to home in on.
Soap is used to catch catfish in the warmer months. When the water is warm it helps break down the soap a little faster and spread the scent around. Some people swear by soap in the hottest periods of the year when catfish can be a little more difficult to catch.
I haven’t personally fished with soap. But I have seen others do it. Old timers used to talk about it a lot. It wasn’t until I met some guys who run trot lines that I actually saw it in use though. Now people who run trot lines are fishing for food. They’re trying to maximize the return on their time and energy. So I believe that they would use baits that actually work.
I also some of their catches. The proof is in the pudding. They certainly did bring home a number of catfish. So there is no doubt in my mind that soap does work as a catfish bait. It is not necessarily the first thing I would reach for when I am trying to catch channels or blues. Though I do like to have this sort of knowledge, because you never know when it might come in handy.