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Simple Dough Bait Recipe for Catfish

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I am an avid fisherman and hunter from the great state of Texas.

Simple dough bait on hook.

Simple dough bait on hook.

Problem: You Don't Have Any Bait

You might want to go fishing for catfish but find that you forgot to buy bait at the store.

Solution: Simple Dough Bait

This easy recipe only uses five readily available ingredients! It's ready in less than 30 minutes and can be used immediately for catfish fishing.

Good Luck and Good Fishing!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

20 min

25 min

Good for multiple fishing trips when refrigerated!


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (if substituting vanilla flavoring, use 3 tablespoons instead)
  • 1 cup corn meal (do keep another cup of corn meal in reserve as it will be used to "dust" the bait)


  1. Pour the water and vanilla extract into a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water/vanilla extract mix to boil, combine the flour and cornmeal into a rectangular container and mix the dry ingredients with a spatula. The flour and cornmeal should be fairly uniform when mixed.
  3. Once the water/vanilla extract mix comes to a boil, slowly pour it into the flour/cornmeal mix. While pouring, use the spatula to stir the dry ingredients with the liquid.
  4. Continue to mix the ingredients together until its consistency forms into bread dough. If more water is needed, add only in small amounts and stop as soon as the bread dough consistency is achieved.
  5. Then, transfer the dough bait into a container that will be used for storing the dough bait. It should have a cover that can be sealed.
  6. After transferring the dough bait, apply a "dusting" of cornmeal to form an outer coating that does not readily stick to one's hands when handling the dough bait.
  7. The dough bait can be used for fishing at this point, or it can be placed in a refrigerator to be used at a later date.

Read More From Skyaboveus

Dough Bait in use in the field; note how the outer coating has hardened slightly

Dough Bait in use in the field; note how the outer coating has hardened slightly

Suggestions for Fishing

Here are several suggestions for fishing with the Simple Dough Bait:

  • Form a ball of dough around the hook, covering the entire hook except for a slightly exposed area for the hook point. This will aid in setting the hook and reduce the number of missed hook sets.
  • Use a circle hook and size that is appropriate for the Catfish you are targeting. If a fish fry is in the making, a treble hook will make for easier baiting but be prepared to take extra care when removing the hook from a fish so as not to injure it when catching and releasing them.
  • Use the weight of the dough bait to cast your line, and try not to use any weight. If weight is needed, then use a rig that minimizes drag as Catfish are often times sensitive to drag and may drop the bait at the slightest hint.
  • When fishing heavily fished community lakes and ponds, allow the Catfish time to take the bait. You may need to free spool your reel and allow the line to be taken out unimpeded, else risk the Catfish dropping your bait.
  • If the dough bait hardens, add a little water and knead the dough bait back to its bread dough consistency. If too much water is added, keep a cup of cornmeal handy to add as needed.
  • Bring a net... the biggest fish seem to bite when you don't have a net!

Dough Bait in the Field: Video

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on February 28, 2014:

Just proves that catfish will eat anything! lol

hbng84 (author) on February 26, 2014:

New one that we hope our Readers will like... a simple recipe that works!

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