Do Catfish Like Garlic? Garlic Baits for Catfishing

Do Catfish Like Garlic? Garlic Baits for Catfishing

Do catfish like garlic?
Yes. Catfish do like garlic scented baits. The strong scent from the garlic provides a flavor that catfish cannot resist.

Best Garlic Bait

The best garlic catfish bait would have to be chicken liver. Garlic scented chicken liver has caught me fish in every spot I have catfished. Starting in the west coast, the catfish in the CA delta loved this bait.

From channels to white cats, and even striped bass, garlic liver caught em all. Any new spots I would try for catfish, I would bring garlic liver and find massive success. It is just a great baseline bait to use to figure out what your catfish population looks like.

If you have trouble keeping chicken liver on the hook, you can try either magic thread, or roe sacks. Magic thread is what I prefer, as it still lets the bait have a natural texture to it. Roe sacks, you put liver inside, and the texture is completely different.

Different Ways to Add Garlic to Baits

There are a few ways to add garlic to your bait. I have found all of these to work equally as good.

Garlic Powder– Garlic powder is very inexpensive, and blends extremely well with chicken liver. The dissolvable powder works very well to soak the scent into baits. It is not messy at all, as you just pour powder into your bait. The ease of use and productivity of garlic powder puts it in the number one spot for scenting your baits.

Garlic Salt– Garlic salt is a good alternative to garlic powder. It is as easy to use as garlic powder, and still has the scent soak. If the store is out of garlic powder, I just grab some garlic salt.

Minced garlic (jar)– Minced garlic is a great way to spice up your bait. It works extremely well to add scent to your baits, and has the natural oils that garlic poses. The only thing I don’t like about it is it is a bit more messy than powder, and it does not dissolve into the bait.

I like the powders because they dissolve well in the bait, while minced garlic does not. This does not seem to affect the bite, just a personal preference.

Artificial Scents– This is I would say sort of a last resort. I always try to get the freshest, most natural form of garlic I can. Artificial scents such as gels, sprays, and powders work well also. You simply apply a dab of gel, or spray your bait and your good to go.

These are a bit more pricy than your standard garlic, but they tend to last longer, as you can use them every trip you go out.

Just remember with these, you do not need a lot of it. Conserve your scents the best you can because they can last you a while.

Fresh cut garlic– As fresh as it gets! Freshly cut garlic is a classic among catfisherman. If all else fails, you should be able to find a clove of garlic at any supermarket. Simply cut and mince garlic yourself, it works just as well as any powder, or jarred garlic.

I try to get it as fine as possible, but it still doesn’t beat powder. I just really like to have the powder dissolve into the bait.

Garlic Bait vs Cut Bait

This does go back in forth, as there is no better or worse bait. Some scenarios call for garlic, and some for fresh fish. However, I generally like to start a piece garlic liver and adjust from there.

Garlic liver attracts a lot of fish, so I like to get that scent in the water ASAP. The garlic attracts fish of all sizes, so it is very possibly to get a lot of small bites and fish.

This is a good baseline to start within your spot. From here you can see what the bigger fish want. I usually use one rod of garlic bait and another rod with cut bait. Usually the bigger pieces of cut bait catch the bigger fish. Cut bait also seems to (sometimes) limit smaller bites.

You can also just have some kind of chum out with the garlic, than fish with cut bait. This can help to at least get some fish in your area.

The Best Baits to Add Garlic

The best baits to add garlic to are usually the ones with the most moisture. That is why I use chicken liver, chicken breast, shrimp, and mackerel.

The Goal is for the garlic scented to be soaked into the bait as much as possible. I try to leave the garlic in the bait at least over night, as it helps get most of the scent absorbed.

If you are in a hurry, you can just throw the powder in the bait and fish with it. I have had success both ways. Be sure to mix the garlic in thoroughly, you want all of that scent to penetrate your bait. It is just like marinating steak, but marinating bait for catfish.

The Best Species to Target with Garlic

The best species to target with garlic bait is probably channel catfish. Channel catfish tend to gravitate toward the smellier baits. Although I have caught blue and bullhead catfish with garlic baits also.

The garlic leaves a smell and scent trail that catfish just can’t resist. I really never found out why catfish like garlic so much.

Can You make Garlic Scented Worms?

Yes you can. To make garlic scented worms, you simply chop up some cloves of garlic, and put them in your tub of worms. Shake it up, and let them sit.

Overnight will do, but you can keep them longer if you would like. You will be surprised in the difference in garlic worms, and regular nightcrawlers.

Adding garlic is a good way to narrow down your catch’s to mainly catfish. If you are having trouble with small baitfish pecking off your bait, simply put some garlic cloves in your bait.

The Best Time of Year to Use Garlic Baits

I have found the best time of year to use garlic baits is spring to summer time. This is when I see the bait being as effective as it is going to be. Anything from small catfish, big catfish, and little baitfish cannot stay off my hook.

From the bite already turning on in the beginning of spring, it is perfect time to bust out the smelly yet tasty bait. Channel catfish are rather inactive (at least in my body of water) in the winter time. When spring hits, this is my best chance at getting one.

As you creep more into summer, I would say the fishing only gets better. I often have many summer days where I completely run through 2 tubs of chicken liver. Garlic liver really is a great bait that gets fish to bite, and keeps them around.

The Best Spots to Use Garlic Bait

Garlic bait can be used in many different spots. I usually use it as experiment bait for fishing new bodies of water. It can be used in lakes, rivers, ponds, etc… It should not be limited to one body of water.

On days where the bite is finicky, give it a try. Garlic scented baits have a tendency to get the fish feeding. It has a scent much different from other cut baits, so changing things up is always a good bet.

Sometimes all it takes to get the fish biting is trying something new. Whether it is using a new bait, switching up your rig, different technique, all it takes is a change.


Garlic baits work! Do not be afraid to try some of these baits out on your body of water! You will be surprised at how productive it can be.

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