Cutbait Recipe for Channel Catfish

I’ve been preparing some cutbait for an upcoming catfish fishing trip on the Grand River at Dunnville, Ontario. The recipe starts with a short trip to the Thames River here in London, Ontario. Any recipe that begins with a fishing trip is awesome – just think if they were all like that.

“Honey, I’ll cook tonight, but first I need to go down to the river to get some ingredients.”

Fresh white suckers for cutbait.

Fresh white suckers for cutbait.

There is a large run of white sucker that comes up the river in the spring (April) and catching them using a simple slip (egg) sinker rig with worms (rigged in large balls on a #4 baitholder hook) is actually a lot of fun. A swivel used as a stopper with a foot or so of line to the hook works well and keeps the twist out of your line in current. I’ve made a couple of trips with my sons this spring and we’ve been rewarded each time with good action. Some of the suckers we caught were quite large (24 – 26″) and great sport on lighter gear. The best place to catch them seemed to be at the break between the strong spring current and slackwater areas.

Cutbait Strips

Cutbait Strips (1 – 1.5 ” in width)

For the cutbait recipe, medium sized suckers were quickly dispatched, bagged and immediately put on ice (freshness is important). Using an electric knife I cut off fillets from each side of the sucker. The skin is left on as it provides excellent holding power on the hook. The fillets are then cut into strips of approximately an inch to an inch and a half in width. Remove some of the entrails (liver, kidneys, blood) and mash and mix in a bowl. Some people will use an old blender to mix up the entrails. Quick marriage saving tip – do not use your spouses good blender, sucker flavoured smoothies probably don’t taste that great (at least for us humans, catfish might like them though). Add the strips, mash, and flavouring into a ziplock bag, shake well and freeze. Flavours I’m trying this year include garlic (from garlic powder), Parmesan cheese, and a coffee and garlic mix. Strike King makes a coffee infused bait (KVD Perfect Plastic Caffeine Shad) for bass so I thought maybe catfish might like it too.

I’ll post an update with the results on how they work after our trip.

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