One thing to remember, if you plan to try your luck at catching catfish with soap bait, is that not all soaps are created equal. In fact, your every day, run of the mill soap just might act as a repellent rather than a bait to entice catfish onto your line. Your soap must be 100% pure, and contain no preservatives, no deodorants, perfumes or fancy ingredients.
Catfishermen have mentioned two brands in particular that work very well catching catfish. The two brands most well known to entice catfish are Zoat and Ivory brand soaps. These two brands have graced the tackle boxes of avid catfish anglers for centuries, but more and more catfish anglers are relying on family recipes for catfish soap bait that they claim never fails to put big, tasty catfish in their freezers trip after trip.
One such home made soap bait is your standard lye soap. Now, if you do not want to make your own, it can usually be found in various places such as specialty stores. If you would like to make your own, it is really not that difficult. Additionally, to the standard lye soap recipe, you can add your own custom ingredients to make it even more enticing to your quarry.
You will need:
6 C. water
24 oz. Pure Lye (sodium hydroxide)
12 lbs. animal fat or lard
*Warning!! Lye is caustic and must always be handled with care. Follow manufacturer's cautions, precautions, and warnings to ensure your safety!!
*Warning!! Lye reacts to metal. Always use lye only in glass or plastic containers!
Intructions: It is important that you pour the lye into the water (not the water into the lye) stirring to dissolve. Be very careful not to allow it to splash or spill. Attend to any spills or splatters with extreme care. Allow the lye and water mixture to come to room temperature. Melt the animal fat in a stove top safe container. Once the fat is melted, allow it to cool to about 90 degrees F.
Don't let it begin to solidify. As you stir the fat with a wooden (not metal) spoon, gradually stir in the lye and water mixture. The mixture will immediately start to thicken and solidify. Don't stop stirring until all the lye and water have been added, and a pudding like consistency is achieved. At this point, you may add ingredients to enhance your fishing experience. Some common ingredients to add are:
Canned corn juice
The stirring process may take up to an hour to complete. Then, the soap mixture can be poured in to containers so it can set up. Most people use milk cartons or jugs cut down to a manageable size. It can take three or even four days or more for the soap to set up and harden. Remember, you must use only glass or plastic containers and utensils, and never put the soap mixture in metal containers.