Spotted in a lake or served up next to a fresh batch of hush puppies on your dinner plate, regardless of where you find them, the catfish is an amazing creature. These fish are found all over the world, everywhere in fact except Antarctica, and there are over 2,200 species in the catfish family.
Before you start making catfish stink bait, you should know why you are making something that is going to smell so bad that it causes small pets and children to faint. Catfish have an amazing array of senses that include not only their senses but taste, sight, and hearing as well. The more you know about how a catfish sees its watery world, the more likely you are to catch it.
Taste and smell go hand-in-hand. Catfish have taste buds located all over their bodies. You’ll find them on the mouth, fins, and gills but also on the tail, on the belly, each side, on the back, and even on the whiskers. Scientists estimate that a puny six-inch catfish has over a quarter of a million taste buds scattered over his body. Adult catfish have an estimated five million taste buds per square centimeter. Equal to its sense of smell is its ability to smell. Compared to other fish, such as rainbow trout and large mouthed bass, the ability of a catfish to smell compounds is worthy of Olympic gold. Catfish can detect select compounds at one part smelly substance to ten billion parts water. Anglers should remember that catfish smell compounds in the water, not the air. This makes creating stink bait more challenging.
The first thing to remember is to wash your hands. Catfish are turned off by the smell of gasoline, insect repellant, sunscreen, and tobacco. If you fill up your gas tank on the way to the lake and get some gas on your hands, you may risk undoing all your hard, smelly work. If your spouse is going along, you could have her fill up the tank for you. It’d be best for all concerned if you didn’t explain why. Most people feel that fishing is a peaceful hobby and revealing too much could ruin that aspect of your trip.
The next step is to find a mixer. Buy your own and keep it out in the garage along with a small dorm-size refrigerator that holds the ingredients for your stink bait. It won’t make your bait any more effective, but it could save your marriage. Do not, under any circumstances, create a batch of stink bait in your wife’s high-dollar blender. Nothing good will come of that, no matter how well you wash the blender afterward. It is unseemly behavior without successful defense. Remember, if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.
Every angler has his own stink bait recipe. Ingredients include:
• dead fish
• cheese – This can be common cheddar cheese or the harsher smelling cheeses such as Limburger.
• hog brains – Some people recommend leaving them out in the sun for a few days. This will not sit well with the neighbors.
• chicken livers
• night crawlers
• water dogs – A type of salamander
• cornmeal or crackers for a coating
Select your ingredients and pile them into the blender. Be careful not to make your mixture too wet as you will be rolling it into balls. Once you have the mixture ground to just the right consistency you can start making your bait. Take a spoonful of the mixture and form it into a ball. Sprinkle corn meal, ground crackers, or breadcrumbs on some wax paper and roll the formed ball around until it’s well coated. Put the balls into a zip lock bag and store them in your refrigerator to firm up a bit.
Remember to use gloves while rolling your bait unless you are leaving directly for the lake. The smell of stink bait on your hands will not endear you to your loved ones. Spend a couple of dollars and save yourself a little misery.
You’ll have to experiment to discover which ingredients work best for the catfish in your part of the world. Remember to write down your recipe; otherwise, you won’t know which mixture landed you that 45-pound blue channel cat.