Do Catfish Like Bacon?

Bacon is an excellent bait for catfish. They will take it up readily, but the bait is one of many essential things when catching catfish. No matter how well the bait works, you must first know how to catch catfish properly.

One reason why catfish love bacon is because of its strong odor. Catfish have an incredible sense of smell and use it to locate food in murky waters. The scent of bacon can attract them from far away, increasing your chances of getting a bite. Additionally, the texture and taste of bacon make it easy for catfish to swallow and digest quickly, making them more likely to take the bait.

Raw bacon for catfish
Raw bacon for catfish

Can You Use Bacon for Catfish Bait?

Catfish are fish that eat a lot of junk in the water. To catch catfish, many different things can be used as bait. Using bacon can be an excellent way to get rid of leftover bacon.

Not only is bacon great for fishing for catfish, but any meat product works great, including ham and hot dogs. Catfish love fatty food, and bacon fat can be used on a type of dough for a more potent scent on the bait.

Most people prefer to use bacon that has gone bad, and they cannot eat it. Also, only raw bacon works because cooked meat is useless. After all, it does not smell strong, so catfish get attracted to the meat. Using bacon as bait is a well-kept secret among fishermen because it is cost-effective and a great way to eliminate waste from your fridge. Not to mention, you do not need to go anywhere special to buy bacon.

Another excellent reason bacon is used as bait is that one piece can go a long way. You see, raw bacon is pretty hard, and a catfish cannot bite off the bacon. So, it holds on to it, trying to tear it apart, and that’s enough time to pull the fish in. Ultimately, one piece can help catch 3 to 4 fish before falling apart.

How to Use Bacon as Bait for Catfish?

We know that bacon can be used as bait, but it is not like traditional bait, so how do you use it? How is it prepared? The process is pretty simple.

To start, you need raw bacon. You cannot use cooked bacon as it will not smell as strong and break apart, so get a raw piece of a bacon strip. Another vital preparation note is that the bacon needs to go bad before you can use it. The moldier and more aged it is, the stronger it will smell, which is the most important factor in catching catfish.

After that, put the bacon in a plastic bag and store it in an area that does not have sunlight for a day or at least a night, and you will be ready to use it as bait.

First, cut the bacon into smaller pieces or strips and place it on the hook for bait. Make sure to use a treble hook or a hook with a barb to help secure the bacon. You can also use a slip-weight on the main line tied to a swivel 9 to 12 inches above the bait. But whatever you do, make sure the bacon is securely in place. When putting the bacon through the hook, aged bacon will seem too soft to last long, but it will stay a while, so do not worry about that.

How to Use Bacon Grease and Bacon Fat as Bait?

We also mentioned how you can use bacon grease and bacon fat. First, let’s see the difference between the two and how to use them to catch the catfish.

Bacon grease is the splatter you get from cooking bacon, and it needs to be collected as it cannot be dumped in the kitchen sink because it can clog the sink. Also, bacon fat or bacon lard is the leftover bacon grease left over at room temperature. It turns into a jelly-like texture.

However, like traditional bacon, this cannot be hooked on as bait. To use this stuff effectively, take the bread, wet it a little, and roll it into a ball. Then, rub the bacon grease and fat all over it before using it as bait. You can also use artificial bait and roll it in this grease to get the smell into the bait, which matters in attracting the catfish.

Why Does Bacon Work as Catfish Bait?

There are many reasons people love using bacon as bait. It is how it works and how easy it is to secure this bait. Here are four reasons why bacon works as catfish bait.

Strong Smell

The starting point is pretty simple. The bacon smells so delicious. Catfish are fish that primarily relies on their barbels to look for food and identify it, and bacon smells like good food to them. Catfish also do not hunt for food and get whatever they see lying around, so the smell of bacon is strong enough to lure them to it and take a bite out of it.

Opportunistic Feeders

Catfish are not picky and are opportunistic feeders, so they eat whatever they can get. This includes small fish, crustaceans, plants, and some leftover decay matter on the floor. Knowing this, many unconventional bait items work for catfish as long as they have a strong smell.

High-fat Content

One reason that the bacon smells so good is because of the high-fat content that it has. Catfish naturally look for high-fat content in food as it helps them get more energy and nutrition. Once they smell bacon, they know it is a good food item.

Can be Manipulated

Another reason bacon works as catfish bait is that it can be manipulated and is versatile. Regardless of the hook type and thickness, you can customize the catfish to fit it. Also, you can add more scents to the bacon strip before using it as bait to increase its power. It is an easy and customizable bait that anglers can buy from any convenience store.

Catfish successfully caught
Catfish successfully caught

What Other Fish Can Be Caught Using Bacon?

You are mistaken if you think catfish is the only fish that can be caught using bacon. A lot of fish are caught with food, and a lot of them can also be attracted by bacon.

Here are some other fish attracted to bacon:


There are four crappie species in the wild, and they can all be caught with bacon. These are smaller fish than catfish but just as well known because crappies are known for tasting great. If you manage to catch these using bacon, everyone around you can have something delicious to eat, but with a whole lot of bones in them. The work it takes to clean crappie makes lots of people through them back.


Bluegill is a much larger fish that comes in many different colors. They are active at dawn and later at dusk. These fish usually hide in crevices where they find smaller fish and larvae; when they see bacon, they latch on to it. Catching this fish is a little more challenging as the fish will only put the bacon in their mouth out of curiosity.


Bass is a large fish, but this is a name shared by many fish species. The bass that will love some bacon are smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and spotted bass. When catching them, bacon is an excellent option as bait, especially if you cannot find anything else.


Trout is an abundant fish, and being able to catch it with bacon is an excellent thing. You can easily catch the fish with just one piece of bacon. This fish is also known for eating dragonflies, like smaller fish, so they will gladly try some bacon.

Sunfish, Carp, and Perch

These are more fish that are found to be fond of bacon. These fish mostly react to the strong smell of bacon and get enticed by it. Primarily these are the fish that like bacon, but any fish that is hungry enough will eat bacon.

What Factors Matter When Catching Catfish?

As mentioned above, bait is just one part that helps catch catfish; so many other factors also matter. Some factors include the specific catfish species, fishing location, weather conditions, and the preferences of the catfish population in that area.

Catfish Species

One thing about catfish is that they are the most abundant fish out there, meaning there are over 100 species of this fish. Not all of them will like bacon, especially the species of catfish that are herbivores and only depend on algae and other plants for their diet.

One fish known as a great bacon eater is the channel catfish, the most abundant catfish. Channel fish have a powerful sense of smell, mainly because they live in muddy areas and are huge opportunistic eaters. It would help if you remembered that individual fish preferences could also vary, so while bacon is generally effective for channel catfish, there may be instances where other baits or techniques are more successful in enticing them.

Fishing Location

Now, not all catfish love bacon. There are some areas where people have tried this technique and seen success. Mostly, fish in that area will prefer to eat bacon.

Catfish will hit bacon in North America when you are fishing with it. Particularly in the southern United States, Midwest United States, southeastern United States, the Great Lakes region, and Canadian provinces are some places that have the most success. Because anglers have been using bacon, the catfish in this area will more readily take up rotten bacon when given a chance. What also matters is how abundant catfish are in a particular area. The more catfish there are, the easier it is to catch them using bacon.

Weather Condition

Weather conditions also indirectly affect the catfish that you can catch with bacon. This is because when the weather conditions are right, there will be more catfish, or more catfish will be hungry.

If the weather is sunny, more fish like venturing to the top, and also during the day, it is easier to see them. But of course, there are also advantages of fishing in winter and at night, but these times are usually when the most tried and true fishermen will venture out.


Now you know catfish like bacon, especially channel catfish found in northern America. As long as you have a raw bacon strip that is rotten enough and has a strong smell, you should be good at catching some fish with it.

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