While it may seem unusual, many fish like the smell and taste of cheese. Cheese is commonly used as a very effective fishing bait for carp, tench, catfish, and other fish species.
Why do fish like cheese?
Many types of fish, such as carp and catfish, are attracted to pungent smells. These fish are not fussy eaters and will readily try most things they come across as long as they find the scent appetizing.
While catfish have scent receptors throughout their whole body, catfish have very powerful nostrils just below their eyes.
Most fish have a sense of smell, many times that of a human. This makes it easy for them to pick up smells in the water.
The smell of cheese is a definite attractant to some fish, and in the likes of carp, this can trigger them to feed.
What fish will eat cheese
Many fish will eat cheese, but the most common fish attracted to cheese are usually bottom feeders. However, other fish like trout also eat cheese.
Normally when it comes to catfish, the smellier, the better. This also holds true for enticing catfish with cheese. Catfish love smelly bait, and sometimes the best catfish bait is so pungent humans can’t tolerate it.
Tench are another bottom-feeding fish that eat just about anything. Cheese is another great choice of bait for these fish.
Similar to carp in the winter months, tench use their sense of smell to find food. Similarly to fishing for carp, I recommend using cheese in boilies or cheese paste for tench.
While the other fish you expect to see on a smelly unusual bait list, you don’t expect to sea trout.
However, cheese has been used as a very successful trout fishing bait for decades.
Cheese is mainly used when fishing for hatchery trout, especially trout that have been freshly transplanted from the hatchery.
One suspicion as to why trout like cheese is because it’s a dairy product and in some hatcheries the trout pellets contain dairy.
Using cheese for bluegill is quite similar to using cheese for trout. Use a mild-smelling cheese in small pieces or use a small amount of cheese paste.
Bluegill will eat cheese year-round.
What is the best cheese for fishing?
The best cheese for fishing depends on the species you are going after. However, the consistency of the cheese is important to take into consideration.
Cheddar cheese is a hard cheese. This cheese originates from England, and anglers have been using it to catch fish like carp and tench for a long time.
Cheddar can be used in its natural state, melted down into a paste, or used in homemade boilies.
Cheddar is best for trout, carp, tench.
Parmesan is another hard cheese with a powerful scent. Sometimes I struggle to justify using parmesan as bait due to the cost and the fact that I prefer to eat it myself. Nonetheless, parmesan is a very effective bait.
It’s challenging to use parmesan in its natural state, given that it is so brittle.
The best way to use parmesan is to melt it down into a paste or used making boilies.
Parmesan works best for catfish.
The stinkiest cheese on our list also happens to be one of the best for catfish. There a various forms of blue cheese, but whichever you choose will work.
Blue cheese is best melted into a paste.
Blue cheese works best for catfish.
Velveeta is a great all-around cheese for fishing. It melts easily so can be incorporated into boilies or paste quite easily, and it is also a great texture to use straight from the packet.
Another great thing about Velveeta cheese is it is affordable and readily available in most stores.
While these are the cheeses, I had the most success with, nearly any type of cheese will work.
Things to consider when choosing cheese for bait
When choosing cheese for bait, the 3 main things you have to keep in mind are consistency, scent, and cost. Depending on what type of fish you are fishing for, these 3 things will vary.
Consistency will determine how you use the cheese. While cheese like Gruyere can stay on your hook and be used straight from the packet, other cheeses like Feta will fall off, and you will have a hard time casting.
Making a paste out of most cheeses is a great all-around option. However, if you want to fish with the cheese naturally, you need to look for a cheese with a rubbery texture.
Fishing cheese in a natural state works best for trout and bluegill.
Using scent in fishing is a very big factor to take into consideration. This is especially important when fishing for catfish and carp.
Some cheeses on the market have very powerful scents. While it may not be appetizing to you, it is a dinner bell to scent-feeding fish.
Another great thing about strong-smelling cheese is it can mask the scent of human odor.
Catfish, trout, and carp all have a very powerful sense of smell and can easily pick up on human odor. If you are fishing in a heavily pressured area, the fish are more likely to pick up on your odor from handling the tackle.
Cheese is a great way to mask your odor and entice fish in from far away.
However, while extra smelly cheese is great for certain fish, I wouldn’t choose a strong-smelling cheese for trout.
The reason cheese works for stocked trout is because it’s something they are familiar with. As the fish becomes more accustomed to his wild surroundings, he will pay less attention to unnatural baits and start feeding more on what’s in his natural surroundings.
While this doesn’t directly impact how the fish perceive the cheese, it’s important to mention.
Some cheeses can get very expensive, and in some instances, it’s just more viable to fish with something like worms or corn.
Fish like nearly every type of cheese, so you don’t need to go out and buy expensive cheese.
Fish will readily eat natural cheese or precessed cheese, so choose whatever is affordable to you.
How to use cheese for fishing?
Cheese can be used in many different ways. My absolute all-time favorite way of using cheese is to make a cheese paste. However, other methods are as equally successful.
Cheese paste is simple to make and is an extremely effective and versatile bait.
There are multiple recipes for cheese paste, but the method remains the same.
Melt the cheese to a runny texture, add in something to bind the cheese like bread or pastry, add in any extra flavors you want, like garlic.
Keep adding bread until the mixture starts to form a doughy texture. Wrap the mixture tightly in film or a Ziploc bag and store it in the fridge.
Boilies are best used for carp and tench. There are hundreds of boilie recipes, and by all means, you can get creative and invent some of your own.
Adding cheese to these boilies will likely increase your chances of success, especially in winter.
I like to use cheese pieces for bluegill and trout fishing. I use a not-so-brittle cheese for this.
Velveeta is a great cheese for this method. Break off a small piece of cheese and mold it onto a size 16-18 treble hook. A single hook can also be used here, but you will have a much more difficult time keeping the cheese on it.
Use a small splitshot to help with the casting. It’s as simple as that.
When is the best time to use cheese for fishing?
Depending on the species you are targeting, the time of year for using cheese will vary.
For trout, the best time to use cheese is as soon as they are transplanted from the hatchery. During this time they are in a new area and readily trying new foods.
Using cheese also has the benefit of being familiar due to some trout nuts containing dairy.
For carp, the best time is in winter. In the winter months, carp are using their scent over their sight, so the smell of cheese becomes a powerful attractant.
For catfish, cheese can be used any time of the year. Catfish are always using their powerful scent receptors to find food, and cheese will work perfectly here.