Will Catfish Eat Corn or Pickles?

Corn or pickles are not part of a catfish’s diet and do not really work as bait for catfish. However, catfish do fall for many other human and unique food recipes, but corn and pickles are not the first choices for weird bait for catfish. Catching a catfish is a fun time, and to increase your chance of success, you need to select the right bait. Sometimes, store-bought baits are too expensive, and you only have a few options, except for some household items, like corn or pickles.

Pickles and Corn
Pickles and Corn

Why Will Catfish Not Eat Corn or Pickles?

You already know catfish will not actively seek corn or pickles when used as bait.

This is because they are not enticing enough, and corn and pickles are not part of their diet. Catfish have barbels that sense food in the water, a whisker-like feature on catfish. The catfish has strong eyesight but mainly relies on its barbels to search for food. When the food smells strong and resembles a fish, catfish leave their hiding place and take the bait. Corn or pickle are not very strong-smelling items and are not digestible for the catfish. The barbels will not register these items as food items that can be eaten.

If you want to use corn or pickles, you should use some scent that attracts catfish to them before using them as bait. You can soak the corn or pickles in strong-smelling stuff overnight, like blood or garlic, and then use it in the morning. It does not guarantee a successful fishing trip, but it does increase your chance of catching the fish. The success of corn or pickle as bait also depends on how hungry the catfish is. If it is desperate enough, the fish will try to eat corn or pickle, but if it has plenty of food or just ate, it will not care for these items no matter how hard you try.

Will Corn or Pickle Work for Any Other Fish?

Pickles are a doubtful bait item that does not work for any fish. Many people do not even try using pickles as bait because they know it will fail. However, corn can sometimes work to catch some other fish.

Canned corn is sometimes used to catch trout, carp, bluegill, and perch. But it is not used like ordinary bait because the corn kernels are too small to be hooked on. So, fishermen dump a whole can of corn in an area where they know these fishes are present, and the fish will come to the surface to catch the canned corn. This is when they catch the fish using a hook or even a net. Corn is an effective bait, especially for carp and rainbow trout, but sadly this will not work for catfish.

Catfish often hide and come out at darker times to feed, then stay in a hole or spot during daylight. They also occupy the bottom of the water. The catfish is not a fish that will swim to the surface to catch bait; it will wait for the bait to come down before trying to catch it. This is why corn is not an effective bait for catfish. Even the logistics of using corn as bait for catfish do not make sense, so you should look for other more effective homemade baits for catfish that we will mention now.

What Are Other Unique Baits for Catfish?

Corn and pickles are not the only items you could imagine using as bait for catfish because there are so many more baits. Catfish mainly rely on scent, so many catfish catchers have found this way for expensive bait sold in stores.

Also, since these are things you have lying around if you run out of store-bought bait, these make a great replacement. So, without any further due, let us look at bait items for catfish that are strange but work!

Blood from Cow

The blood from a cow is a very effective bait, especially for blue catfish.

You will need a bucket of at least 2.5 gallons of cow blood to use cow blood. This is easy to get from a butcher shop or a slaughterhouse and will probably not cost anything. This works because after you leave the blood, it thickens into a jelly-like texture. Even then, hooking it without it falling into the water is impossible. This is why you need a net or pantyhose to hold the jelly-like blood and tie the net around the hook to hold the bait. The cow blood works the best during the night as in the daytime, and the brim will eat the blood before you catch any real catfish.

A Soap Bar

It might seem like a fictional option, but a bar of soap also works great as bait, even though it is not a food item. The trick is to find the best soap.

As mentioned above, finding the best soap is super important as the soap needs ingredients that do not ward off catfish, like some chemicals and additives. Cheaper soap work better than expensive scentless ones because the more potent the soap smells, the better it is. Fishermen have been using soap for a long time, so some of the best soaps are ivory soap and Zote soap bars.

To use soap as bait, you need to cut them into one-inch cubes; the smaller the cube, the better chance of it staying in place. After that, pass it through the hook and cast it in the water. Since soap dissolves and smells, the water will disperse the smell all the water until the catfish finds it and comes over.

Canned Meat

Many types of meat cans are available, like beef and chicken preserved in cans, but the most famous form of canned meat is spam. In fact, 2001, in Arkansas, a fisherman broke state and world records by catching the biggest blue catfish using spam, so you bet it works.

Spam works well because of the high oil content that attracts the catfish. However, the smell of spam also attracts carp, so you have to be careful choosing the right area where there are mostly catfish. Also, the spam is slippery and falls off the hook in the water, so it needs some preparation before being used.

It would help if you started by leaving the spam in the fridge or freezer to allow it to harden or leave it out in the sun so it toughens. This will allow it to keep on the hook for a more extended amount of time. After the spam hardens, cut it into small 1-inch cubes and use it to look for catfish.

Dog Food

Dog food is not just a food item for dogs but also for catfish. There is still discourse on whether wet or dry dog food works best, but that you will find by experimenting.

Wet dog food is easier to use, and it works best for channel catfish as they have taste buds all over their body. Also, what is dog food made out of? Usually leftover meat, cheese, gravy, and oils. These things are proven to work for catfish, so it is best to catch them. Some dog food comes in chunks and is super easy to use; you take the chunk out and hook it through.

For dry dog food, you need it wrapped in cheesecloth or an onion bag to stay secure, but when the dog food touches the water, it releases its scent to attract the catfish. You can also throw the dry dog food in the water as it is and attract the catfish towards your position and then use the line to catch the catfish and reel it in.

Chewing Gum

The sweet scent and flavor of chewing gum attracts the catfish as well. It is unlikely bait but wait to skip it until you try it.

It is best to choose bubble gum as it is the most scented. The most trusted flavors to choose for catching catfish are green apple, strawberry, grape, or any juicy and fruity taste with many flavors that hopefully last long.

You use this by chewing the gum for a few seconds; if you chew for too long, all the flavors will be gone, and it will not work. Once you chew it and spit it out, it will very easily stick to the hook and will not come off when the fish latches on to it. Due to all these reasons, chewing gum is a quick and mess-free bait.


Although the best type of food that attracts catfish is strong-smelling and meaty products, the catfish is also an opportunistic feeder. This means if the catfish sees something like mulberries, they will be attracted to it if they smell strong.

To use mulberries, it is essential to get fresh ones from a tree as they smell the strongest. Also, fishing for catfish with mulberries is best done in certain areas. If you find water below a mulberry tree, it is best for catching catfish using these because the catfish below is already used to the taste. Make sure to use berries before they are fully ripe so they can hold on to the hook, and if you use ripe berries, you should hold them in a net, so they don’t fall off too early.

Chicken Liver

Chicken liver is another staple for catching catfish because of its strong smell. The older the chicken liver, the better it will attract catfish as it smells more pungent. The catfish also likes the taste of chicken liver.

It is not easy to hook it, so you must secure it using mesh, net, or thread so the liver does not fall off. After that, the catfish and many other fishes in the water will be attracted to this bait.

Old Shrimp

By old shrimp, we mean spoiled shrimp. If shrimp is lying in your fridge and has gone bad, do not throw it out because it will be a perfect bait. Seafood goes bad quickly anyway, so instead of throwing it away, catch some catfish with it. 

Some grocery stores that throw away spoiled shrimp will also give it to you for free. Letting them know that the shrimp is for bait and not for a person is essential. After that, you can keep a bag full of spoiled shrimp in the freezer and use it when you fish for catfish. But only do this once you successfully catch catfish with this technique.

Leave the shrimp out for a week or so, so that it can smell very strongly. Yes, it will not be a pleasant smell, but the catfish love the scent. To use it, hook the shrimp through the head and run it through the tail. Leave the tip of the tail exposed. This is the best way to secure the shrimp on the hook.

Catfish being fed
Catfish being fed


Although corn or pickle do not work as bait for catfish, there are many other nontraditional baits that you can choose from instead. When it comes to these bait items, it is a process of trial and error to find which household item works best for you.

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