Every dedicated catman has a favorite stinkbait he swears will outperform all others. Secret recipes for proven potions are passed from generation to generation with explicit instructions never to reveal the ingredients. Stink-baits also are produced by many manufacturers. There are scores available in different forms—dipbaits, doughbaits, chunk baits and more.
Small channel and blue cats are most likely to be caught on stinkbaits. These young fish eat a wider variety of foods than heavyweight adults. As channels and blues mature, their diets become less varied, consisting mostly of live baitfish and other abundant forage. Flatheads rarely scavenge, so stinkbaits rarely catch them.
The method used for fishing a stink-bait is determined primarily by the bait’s consistency. Doughbaits have pizza-dough consistency. Many won’t stay hooked when casting, especially during hot weather. Cloth doughbait bags and spring-wound bait-holder treble hooks are helpful, but stick to thick doughbait mixtures that can be molded to form a firm ball that won’t fly off when casting.
Make your own doughbait by mixing flour and water to form a thick dough. Add your favorite flavoring—anise oil, blood, rancid cheese—then roll the dough into balls and store in a loosely sealed plastic container.
To fish doughbait, move it little; the bait must melt to lay a scent trail. Hit prime fishing areas, then after you cast, let the bait sit 15 to 20 minutes. If you don’t get bit by then, relocate.
Dipbaits have the consistency of, well, dip—the kind in which you dunk potato chips. Because they won’t cling to a hook, they’re fished using catfish worms, plastic grubs with rings, dimples or holes to hold the bait.
The best worms, such as Cat Tracker Bait Company’s Tubie 2000, can be rigged using a treble hook or single hook, an important trait for those who prefer single hooks that allow catch-and-release cattin’. Worms come in many colors, and some are impregnated with flavorings such as anise or shrimp.
Most catfish worms come pre-rigged or have hooks and worms together in the package. Follow package directions for rigging, then tie an 18- to 24-inch monofilament leader (30- to 40-pound test) to the hook. Run your main line through an egg sinker (1/2 to 4 ounces, depending on current), then tie a barrel or snap swivel to the line’s end. When fishing with trebles, use a snap so you can quickly replace a swallowed rig.
Tie the leader to the swivel and you’re ready to fish. Stir the bait with a stick until smooth, then dry the worm and dip it in the bait (drying helps the bait stick). Push it around with the stick until thoroughly coated, forcing bait into all of the worm’s pores or grooves. Dipbaits melt quickly, so dry and dunk your lure frequently to keep it covered.
Chicken And Cheese
One top dip is a mixture of chicken liver and limburger cheese. Combine equal measures of each in a plastic container, mash together, cover, poke some holes in the lid, then place in a warm location for several days. Avoid bodily contact; the smell can’t be scrubbed off.
Chunk baits are solid grape-size baits. They generally melt slowly, so a cat must be close to find your offering, unless you have time to wait. This fact, however, makes chunk baits desirable for baiting trotlines and limblines.
Make your own chunk baits by slicing hot dogs into one-inch pieces and putting them in a jar. Add two packages of strawberry Kool-Aid (unsweetened) and several cloves of garlic. Fill the jar with water, and allow the wieners to marinate overnight.
As you can imagine, fishing stinkbaits is a smelly situation. To be a real catter, though, you must give it a whirl. It’s one sure route to success.