The #1 Stink Bait & Setups to Catch Catfish

Catfish Stink Bait - A Guide On What to Do

A reliable and age-old catfish bait, stink bait is used to catch every catfish species, including channel cats, blues, and flatheads.

What is Stink Bait?

Stink bait is a general term for extremely smelly bait primarily used to catch fish (often catfish). There are many different kinds of stink bait, and each has a unique smell and ingredients designed to lure and catch fish.

Docs Catfish Stink Bait
Image Credit: Docs Catfish Bait Company

What is Stink Bait Made Of?

Ripe cheese, flour, wheat, anise, chicken livers, and blood are all common ingredients for stink bait. Ingredients vary depending on who makes the stink bait.

Some catfish anglers make homemade stink bait, while others purchase pre-package stink bait from national suppliers. We have a list further into this article on the best pre-made stink bait options for catching catfish. After reading this article, if you decide stink bait isn’t for you, read our article on The Ultimate Guide to the Best Catfish Bait where we outline the 10 Best Catfish Baits (stink bait is one of them).

What Does Stink Bait Smell Like?

Stink bait does not smell good. It is stinky and foul, but it attracts catfish.

Why is Stink Bait Good for Catfish Fishing?

The pungent odor of stinkbait does a great job of luring catfish, which is the ultimate goal of catfish fishing.

Catfish are sensory predators. They heavily rely on their sense of smell to locate food. Stink bait capitalizes on this and attracts catfish by smell alone.

Image Credit: Docs Catfish Bait Company

Does Stink Bait Work?

Yes, stink bait works for catching catfish.

It is one of the best baits for catfish because it is versatile, affordable, and can be stored for a long time. Stinkbait works so well because it lures catfish out of their hiding areas. Catfish are notorious for living in places that are hard to get to, such as undercuts and holes. Stink bait does a great job at enticing them out of their hiding area. Check out our article on Where Do Catfish Live?

When using stink bait while fishing for catfish, try different areas within your body of water. Also, reel in your line every 45 minutes to re-apply stink bait to your rig. Stink bait tends to dissolve over time.

How to Fish with Stink Bait

Stink bait is often used with a 3-Way Rig. This is a simple way to fish for catfish. It consists of a swivel, bell sinker, a length of leader line, and a hook.

For a more in-depth discussion about catfish rigs, check out our article The Best Catfish Rig for Bank Fishing.

What Hook to Use with Stink Baits

The best hooks for stink baits can hold the bait on the hook for a long time.

The longer the stink bait is in the water, the higher your chance of catching a catfish. Here’s a list of the best hooks to use with stink baits, all specialized in their ability to hold stink bait on the hook.

Treble Spring Hooks

The spring on the treble hook captures and holds the stink bait in place while the hook is in the water. This hook works well in waters without much vegetation.

Another name for treble spring hooks are “dough bait hooks”.

This hook features a stainless steel spring spun around a high-quality treble hook. You can choose which size works best for what type of catfish you are fishing for. These are available in packs of three. They are made in the USA.

Dip Worms

Dip worms are perfect for stink bait. They have ridges throughout their body and end with a quality treble hook.

These are more weedless than the spring treble hook and provide a better form for the stink bait stick to.

The deep ribs of the plastic worm also look natural once the stink bait wears off. This heightens your chances of chasing catfish.

Stink Bait Bait Holder

Bait holders are one of the best ways to keep stink bait on your hook, increasing your chances of catching catfish.

These hooks feature a premium mesh bag, a foam cushion, and a treble hook. The bait holder connects to a leader line, making it an easy tie to any catfish rig.

The one downside is bait holders often aren’t large enough to catch giant catfish. The treble hook options are on the smaller size.

Secret 7 Catfish Mini Furry Thang Bait Holder

The mini furry bait holders are an excellent hook for stink bait. They feature the option of a single hook or treble hook design, both made with 80-carbon steel.

Surrounding the mini furry hooks is a synthetic loop material that is the best for keeping the stink bait on the rig. The Secret 7 Mini Furry is the highest quality hook for using stink bait.

How to Make a Homemade Stink Bait Hook

Homemade Stink Bait Rig

First, choose your preferred hook style and size (6/0 treble hooks are the best for stink bait).

Next, cut a small piece of pool noodle approximately 2 inches long. Once done, press the pool noodle over the treble hook’s eyelet and secure it by pressing down.

If the pool noodle presses into the actual hook, then take a knife and cut the pool noodle until the hooks are exposed.

Pool noodles work well for a homemade stink bait hook because of their porous material. The stink bait smell and juices will penetrate the noodle. Other materials, such as old socks, green cleaning pads, and pillow fiber, also work for homemade stink bait hooks. Stink bait with a homemade hook works great when jug fishing. Check out our article What is Jug Fishing? for more information.

Common Problems Fishing with Stink Bait

  • The biggest issue anglers face when using stink bait to catch catfish is the stink bait comes off the hook easily. The hooks highlighted in the previous section do a great job of preventing stink bait from falling off the hook, but it is inevitable. Water naturally washes the bait away, and smaller bait fish such as minnows and panfish will nip at the bait.
  • Another problem with stink bait is the smell. When applying stink bait to your hook, make sure to wear gloves.
  • The last most common problem fishing with stink bait is choosing the right mixture for you. In the next section, we will overview a variety of stink baits that work for catching catfish.

The Best Catfish Stink Bait

The following catfish stink baits are the best available on the market. They vary in ingredients, but all are created for the sole purpose of helping you catch more catfish.

Sonnys Stink Bait (Triple S)

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Sonnys stink bait is the best stink bait for catfish fishing. It is made by Hootman Brothers Manufacturing, based out of Iowa. Sonny Hootman has been making this recipe for over 20 years.

Originally, the name was Sonnys Stink Bait but changed in recent times to Triple S Stink Bait. it is still the same ingredients, just with an updated name.

The two primary options when purchasing the Triple S Stink Bait are blood and cheese. Both work extremely well as stink baits.

MondoMash Catfish Dip Bait (Formely Doc’s Stink Bait)

Image Credit: Mondocat

This stink bait recipe has almost been around for 100 years. The licensing of this bait has changed hands many times, initially created by a veterinarian “Dr. Shock” in 1927. The trademark and ingredient recipe was then sold to Mr. Hosch, whose son Robert Hosch eventually continued.

Now it is owned by Mondocat, who rebranded the bait to “MondoMush.”

MondoMush sticks to plastic catfish dip worms. Once in the water, the scent travels fast. Mondocat’s website states this bait “should produce catfish in no more than 10 to 15 minutes per fishing hole.”

This is a catfish stink bait with a long pedigree. Generations of Americans have been using this to catch catfish.