Hot dogs are not something you see in tackle stores, yet they can be very effective bait.
Certain fish like catfish like hot dogs because of their smell. Other fish like bass, who will readily try new foods, also find hot dogs appetizing.
Can You Fish With Hot Dogs?
While it may seem strange to be heading to the grocery store for your fishing bait, that’s often the place where the best fishing bait is found.
Yes, you can fish with hot dogs, and for certain species of fish, hot dogs can be highly effective.
For some fish, the smell of the hot dog is enticing; for other species, it’s the appearance and texture.
Why do Fish Like Hot Dogs
Different species of fish like hot dogs for various reasons; this could be taste, smell, or appearance.
For catfish and carp, they can smell the hotdogs. A catfish’s whole body is covered in sensory organs that allow them to smell and taste things in the water much more than other species.
Carp are equally adept at smelling out a tasty meal in the water. Baits are often scented when fishing for carp. Anglers will add different flavors like cheese, garlic, anise, etc., to attract carp. The smell of a hot dog is a good addition.
Pike like the appearance of hot dogs. Pike are visual predators, and anything that looks like a tasty meal could quickly become its prey. Pike are also scavengers and will eat any dead carcasses they find in the water. Hot dogs are a meaty product with the appearance of a good meal to pike.
Bass are similar to pike because they readily try anything and won’t turn down a free meal. They also like the appearance of hot dogs, but bass will use both sight and scent for finding food.
Other fish like panfish are mostly curious. They don’t know they like hot dogs until they try them. Hot dogs are extremely effective for panfish, but that’s because their curiosity drives them to try it, and the taste keeps them coming back for more.
What Can You Catch With Hot Dogs?
While many fish may likely try a hot dog, some fish will definitely be taking your hot dog bait.
Catfish – Catfish have more tastebuds than any other fish. So if you put a hot dog in the water near a catfish you are sure to get its attention. These fish have taste buds up and down the length of their body, and although a hot dog is not smelly like most catfish baits you come across, it is more than enough to attract them.
Carp Carp use their powerful sense of smell to find foods in murky waters. Hot dogs are especially appealing to carp because of their high-fat content. Hot dogs are best incorporated into homemade bait for carp, I like to add hot dogs into some of my boilie recipes.
Trout – Chances are you’ll have a hard time catching wild trout or even stocked river trout with a hot dog—wild trout like natural foods that they can find in their surroundings. However, pond-stocked trout will readily eat hot dogs. Trout will eat hot dog pieces, or you could make them into a paste.
Bluegill – Bluegill are a curious fish that will try any new food in its surroundings. Hot dogs are a great bait choice for bluegill year-round. The best method for using hot dogs for bluegill is to break off small little pieces and use as is.
Northern Pike – Pike are scavengers at heart, and a big meaty hot dog is the perfect bait for pike. It’s best to use the hot dog as-is for pike and fish a bottom rig.
Bass – There’s very little that bass wouldn’t try. While I can’t say a hot dog is the best bait for bass, it’s certainly not the worst. The biggest challenge when using hot dogs for bass is to make it attractive. Bass are attracted to moving things, and if you get too enthusiastic with the movement of a hotdog there is a good chance it will fall off the hook.
How do You Catch a Fish with a Hot Dog?
There are different methods of using hotdogs as bait; some methods like making it up into a paste for homemade bait work great for certain species, while for others, you can use it as is.
Hook and Bobber
A classic hook and bobber rig works well for hot dogs for the majority of fish. This method works with pieces of hot dogs. The type of species you are fishing for will determine the size of the piece of hot dog you should use.
For bluegill, a size 6-10 hook and small pieces of hot dog work well.
For trout, you would need a size 8-14 hook.
The species choice, along with the weather, will also determine where to fish in the water. You can fish just under the surface or just off the bottom.
Bottom rigs are great if you’re fishing for larger fish. Again hook size will depend on what fish you are after; the main thing is that the hot dog covers most of the hook.
To fish a bottom rig, you need to add some split shot 12-18 inches above the hook.
This method works great for pike, catfish, trout, and carp.
If you are specifically targeting carp, you can incorporate hot dogs into your boilie recipe. You can then fish it with a hair rig as normal.
How to Keep Hot Dog on Hook
Without a doubt, the hardest thing about fishing with hot dogs is keeping the bait on a hook. Every angler who has tried using hot dogs as bait has experienced this. It’s quite infuriating losing your bait to the fish who can easily pull it off the hook or, worse, lose your bait on the cast.
There are a few methods to keep your hot dog on the hook, and it mostly comes down to personal preference.
Using salt to harden your hot dog is a great way to keep them on your hook. Place the hot dogs in a Ziploc bag and cover them in salt; place the bag in the fridge overnight.
The next morning when you take the hot dogs out, you will notice that they are a lot harder, and the skin is extra tough. The salt has extracted all the moisture making the ht dogs much more durable.
When rigging the hot dog hook, just through the skin as this is the toughest part. You still need to use caution when casting, but this method keeps the hot dog on the hook much better than using the hot dog as standard.
If you plan on keeping the fish, using treble hooks is a good way to keep hot dogs on the line.
First, you should check if treble hooks are legal where you intend to fish.
Treble hooks hold hot dogs better because of the triangular shape, and there are more hooks to hold it in place.
The best way to use a treble hook with hot dogs is to run the shaft through the piece of hot dog you are using.
You can also use a snap swivel tied to the end of your line, and after you run the shaft through the hot dog, attach it to the snap swivel. This method is very common when using liver for fishing and will most certainly secure the hot dog in place.
You still need to be careful when casting, but it is much more sturdy than a single hook, and the fish aren’t likely to steal it from a treble hook without being caught.
Garlic powder is similar to using salt, except that it adds more flavor. Put the hot dogs in a microwavable bowl and sprinkle over a good portion of garlic powder. Place them in the microwave and heat until warm.
Remove the hot dogs from the microwave and pour over more garlic powder. Place back into microwave and heat until hot.
Remove and let them cool down. The hot dogs should be a lot harder now and more likely to stay on the hook. This method also works with salt if you are in a hurry; if not, I prefer to use the other method for salt.
Sewing Thread or Rubber Bands
Using sewing thread or a small rubber band to hold the hot dog in place also works well.
Use fine thread or thin rubber bands, place it around the hot dog, and tie it to the hook. You need to be careful not to place it so tight that it cuts the hot dog.
This method works well, but it is a little more tedious, and if you cast too hard, you could still lose the hot dog.
Catfish Hot Dog Bait Recipe?
In some instances, you may want to step your hot dog game up a notch. There are a couple of things you can try to make them more effective. There is no need to get too creative when using hot dogs for catfish. These fish will readily take a standard hot dog straight from the packet. But if you want to try something different adding one or two ingredients to your hot dog can make a difference.
Garlic Hot Dogs
Most fish love the scent of garlic. Catfish are no exception to this rule. With powerful taste buds, coupled with a powerful sense of smell, garlic will definitely give your hot dog the extra oomph. Adding garlic to your hot dog is real simple.
You can do it one of three ways.
- Sprinkle over garlic power – This is my favorite method, as not only is it the easiest it aslo hardens the hot dog skin which helps to keep the hot dog on the hook. It also happens to be the less messy out of all three and is easy to carry to the side of the water.
- Soak in garlic oil – While garlic powder is the easiest, there is something to be said about soaking hot dogs in garlic oil. This method deifinetly gives more garlic flavor than using garlic powder. By soaking in garlic oil your allowing the garlic flavor to penetrate the hot dog a lot more.
- Toss in fresh garlic – Using fresh garlic works in a pinch if you don’t have time or have no garlic powder. It may seem simple but I’ve had great success by rubbing fresh garlic onto my baits.
Hot dogs and Jello for catfish
This method works great for channel catfish. The flavor doesn’t really seem to make much of a difference but I like to use grape flavor.
- Cut the hot dog in half, or one-inch pieces and put in a ziploc bag
- Add one pack of jello powder to one pack of chopped hot dogs and toss around
- Let the hot dogs sit for a few hours
- After a few hours you will see the juices from the hot dog start to interact with the jello and the bait turns really juicy.
Kool-Aid hot dogs for catfish
You can use kool-aid as an alternative to jello. The method is pretty much the same. Chop the hot dogs into pieces, I like to use around 1-inch pieces.
Add all the pieces to a Ziploc bag and sprinkle over the kool-aid. Some people like to add a couple of drops of water, others like to use the juices from the hot dog.
Store the hot dog in the fridge for at least one day, three days would be better.
You can also try adding different scents and flavors to the mixture. I mostly use grape flavor kool-aid but I will frequently add in garlic which seems to work really well.
Catfish Hot Dog Rig
A slip sinker rig works extremely well when using hot dogs for catfish. To do this, you can use the whole hot dog or a piece of hot dog.
- Pre-tie hooks with about 1 ft of line and tie a loop at the end
- Slide a slip sinker up your line
- Tie a loop with a surgeons knot
- Run the loop through the eye of a snap swivel, and then run the swivel through the loop
- Using a hook disgorger or homemade tool, or latch stick needle, pierce the hot dog lengthwise
- Hook the pre-tied snell hook and pull the line back through
- Push the shank of the hook into the hot dog
- attach the line to the snap swivel