What human food can you fish with?

Fishing is a popular hobby and sport for many people. Anglers enjoy the relaxation and excitement of casting their lines out into the water, waiting to see what they’ll reel in. While live bait like worms or minnows is commonly used, some fishermen have found success using human food as bait to catch fish. But what kinds of human food actually work well for fishing?

Why use human food for fishing?

Using readily available human food items as fishing bait provides several potential benefits:

– Convenience – No need to buy live bait from a tackle shop if you have leftover food at home that will work just as well. This saves time and money.

– Allows for impromptu fishing trips – If you find yourself near a promising fishing spot without any bait on hand, looking through your picnic basket or backpack might provide something that can substitute.

– Variety – Human food comes in many forms – soft, hard, smelly, colorful, etc. This variety can sometimes outperform live bait.

– Fun – It’s an interesting challenge to test out new food items to see if they’ll attract fish. Kids often enjoy this type of experimentation.

So if the right kinds of human food are used, they can be a useful bait option for catching fish. Let’s look at some of the best options.


One of the most commonly used and effective human foods for fishing is bread. White bread, wheat bread, and other bread varieties work well. The key is that the bread should be allowed to sit out and stale slightly before being used. Fish are attracted to the smell of the bread as it decomposes. The staler and smellier the bread, the more irresistible it seems to fish.

Bread can be put directly on a hook by pinching a small piece onto the barb so it stays on. Or it can be used by creating dough balls that are sticky and allow for easier casting. Simply mix a few pieces of bread with a small amount of water and form into a ball around the hook. Bread pastes can also be made by blending bread with some milk or cheese. The paste is sticky and easily forms on the hook.

Some tips when fishing with bread:

– Don’t pack bread down too tightly on the hook or it will be difficult for fish to actually eat it. Leave a bit dangling loosely.

– Add a sinker above the hook so the bait rests near the bottom where bottom-feeding species like catfish live.

– Toss bread bits out regularly to get fish feeding in the area, then cast out your baited hook.

Best fish species to target with bread

Bread works well for many popular game fish:

– Catfish – Catfish love bread baits and are often easily caught with this classic technique. Any catfish varieties including channel, blue, and flathead will be attracted.

– Carp – For carp fishing, bread is one of the top baits. Carp will zero in on fresh or aged bread floating in the water or on the bottom.

– Panfish – Bluegills, crappies, and other types of panfish happily nibble on small pieces of bread.

– Tilapia – In lakes and ponds stocked with tilapia, bits of bread fished on light tackle is a good approach.

– Trout – Trout will strike at bread, particularly in areas where they have grown accustomed to being fed bread by anglers.

So load up on loaves of bread next time you head out to catch your favorite game fish. It’s a handy food to keep on hand when fishing.


Cheese is another excellent human food bait for fish. Cheese has a strong scent attractive to fish. And its soft, pliable texture allows for easy use on hooks. Virtually any hard or soft cheese will get fish interested such as cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella, or string cheese.

Cheese can simply be sliced into cubes and threaded onto the hook. Or it can be mixed with other ingredients to make a paste. Some examples of cheese bait recipes include:

– Blending cheese with wheat bran or cornmeal to form dough balls. The bran gives a good texture.

– Mixing grated hard cheese with breadcrumbs or flour into a firm ball of dough.

– Melting cheese and blending it with oats to form a paste.

– Blending cheese with yogurt, garlic powder, and cornmeal into a bait.

The strong smell of cheeses like limburger or gorgonzola are especially good for attracting fish. Roquefort, camembert, and other soft cheeses also work very well. Avoid hard cheeses like parmesan that are difficult to keep on a hook.

Best fish species to target with cheese

Productive fish species to target with cheese baits include:

– Channel catfish – Catfish have an excellent sense of smell and love smelly cheese baits.

– Carp – Carp are drawn to the scent of cheeses mixed with other flavors.

– Sturgeon – For monster sturgeon, try cubes of soft cheese on large hooks.

– Eel – Smelly cheeses spread on the bottom can lure eels out of their hiding spots.

– Perch – Perch will hit smaller bits of cheese suspended off the bottom.

The next time you clean out the fridge, save any leftover cheese hard or soft. Cheese is convenient for impromptu fishing trips and lasts unrefrigerated for several hours. Target big catfish, carp, or other species with this smelly protein-packed bait.

Hot Dogs

Hot dogs make a quick and easy fishing bait. They are readily available, easy to put on a hook, and attract fish with their strong smell. Hot dog pieces can simply be threaded onto the hook and fished whole. Or they can be blended into a meaty paste.

Some tips for fishing with hot dogs:

– Cut hot dogs into 1/2 inch chunks and thread them up the hook leaving the point exposed.

– Blend hot dogs in a food processor with wheat flour and a few drops of anise or vanilla extracts for extra scent.

– Add a strip of bacon to give an extra scent burst.

– For catfish, rig a whole hot dog strip on a wide gap circle hook and let it slowly thaw.

As with other human food baits, allow hot dogs to sit out and develop an even stronger aroma before baiting up. Fish are attracted to the stench.

Best fish species to target with hot dogs

Some top targets when fishing with hot dogs include:

– Catfish – Channel and blue cats love a meaty hot dog bait fished on the bottom.

– Carp – Ground hot dogs mixed with cornmeal or wheat bran makes a carp enticing flavor bomb.

– Sturgeon – Cut hot dogs into big chunks or strips for monster sturgeon.

– Striped bass – Fish chunks of hot dog on heavier jig heads for stripers.

– Eel – Smelly hot dog bits fished at night will produce slippery eels.

Keep a stash of hot dogs in your tackle box or backpack when fishing. They can help you reel in a wide variety of sport fish with their beefy, fish-calling scent.


Here’s an unusual one – cooked spaghetti works as an effective bait for catching many game fish. The long noodle strands wiggle enticingly in the water. Fish nibble and suck them down.

Uncooked spaghetti is too brittle and hard. Make sure to boil noodles until tender before using. Some tips for rigging spaghetti as fishing bait:

– Feed several strands of noodles up the hook shank leaving the barb exposed.

– Make a spaghetti ball by mixing in breadcrumbs or flour into a firm paste ball.

– Add scent attractants like vanilla, anise oil, or garlic powder. Fish like a variety of smells.

– Dye pasta a bright color using food coloring to attract visual attention.

– For bottom fishing, add a slip sinker and let noodles sit on the bottom.

The carbohydrates and starches in cooked spaghetti produce a scent trail attractive to omnivorous fish. And the noodle strands move with any slight current, tapping into feeding triggers.

Best fish species to target with spaghetti

Spaghetti works on fish like:

– Carp – Gamefish like carp suck up noodles fished off the bottom or under a float.

– Catfish – Channel and blue cats readily strike spaghetti baits.

– Tilapia – Tasty tilapia can’t resist slurping down dangling noodles.

– Bream – Bits of spaghetti attract opportunistic bream.

– Chub – Chewy noodles entice lazy bottom feeding chub.

Pasta is inexpensive and found in any kitchen. Next time you cook up spaghetti for dinner, save some cooked strands in the fridge to take fishing. This unlikely bait really produces.


Corn is an absolute staple bait for generations of anglers. Whole kernels or corn meal attracts a huge variety of fresh and saltwater fish species. Omnivorous fish are used to scavenging for grain matter blowing into the water or washing off fields. They associate this food type with nutrients.

Canned corn or fresh corn cut off the cob works equally well. Fishing methods with corn include:

– Thread single whole kernels onto the hook as bait.

– Make a sticky dough ball from cornmeal mixed with flour.

– Use corn kernels, breadcrumbs, cheese cubes and spices mashed into a chum ball.

– Add corn to a mesh bag tied to your rig for scent dispersion.

– Grind canned corn in a processor and paste it directly onto the hook.

Corn can be fished on the bottom, under a bobber, or even flyfished on the surface with floating varieties. No matter the technique, fish are attracted to corn’s familiar flavors and colors.

Best fish species to target with corn

Corn tempts a wide range of species:

– Carp – A classic bait for carp, sweet corn drives them into a feeding frenzy.

– Catfish – Channel cats feast on bottom fished corn.

– Panfish – Small bits of corn attract clusters of bluegill, crappie and perch.

– Trout – Kernels threaded on a small hook will trick stream trout.

– Bass – When fished in moving water, corn appeals to smallmouth bass.

As one of the cheapest, easiest to find baits, corn should be a staple in every angler’s arsenal. Pick up a few cans or some fresh corn cobs before your next fishing adventure.


That’s right, doughnuts. These ring-shaped fried dough treats are not just for humans. Fish go nuts for the taste and smell of doughnuts too. Their soft, absorbent texture also allows doughnuts to stay on the hook well.

The best technique is to thread a whole mini doughnut completely onto the hook and fish just off the bottom. The outer sweet glaze and inner doughy body give off a signature scent trail. Some tips:

– Plain cake and yeast raised doughnuts work best. Avoid crispy, crumbly types.

– Allow doughnuts to firm up slightly before baiting by letting them sit open-air for about 30 minutes.

– If using larger doughnuts, cut into 1/3 or 1/2 sections and bait a piece.

– Powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar coated doughnuts can help release more scent.

– Impale the doughnut so the hook goes through the center ring for best attachment.

As the doughnut soaks in the water, it gives off sugary and yeasty aromas that fish hone in on. The bait steeps like a tea bag. Adjust hook size to the diameter of your selected doughnuts.

Best fish species to target with doughnuts

The best targets when fishing with doughnuts are:

– Catfish – Channel and blue cats feast on sunken doughnuts. The scent drives them crazy.

– Carp – Sweet toothed carp will suck up doughnut baits.

– Bass – Try doughnuts in lakes and rivers for hungry largemouth bass.

– Panfish – Bobber fished mini doughnuts will catch suspended bluegills.

– Trout – In heavily fished areas, doughnuts are a novelty bait trout may strike.

Pick up a dozen assorted mini doughnuts at the store for your next fishing expedition. The ring-shaped pastries can help you reel in tasty fish fillets for dinner!


Fluffy white marshmallows are another human sweet treat that doubles as an effective fishing bait. They are inexpensive, stay on the hook well, and give off a sugary aroma trail. Whole mini marshmallows are the best option. Thread one completely onto the hook for best results.

Some tips when using marshmallows as bait:

– Use smaller marshmallows for panfish and larger ones for catfish or carp.

– Colorful Easter-style pastel marshmallows can add visual attraction.

– Add a small dab of flavored gel icing to marshmallows for more aroma.

-Using colored or flavored marshmallow varieties can help attract fish.

– Let marshmallows firm up slightly before impaling for best hold on the hook.

The trick is knowing what species the sweet bait will work best on based on factors like bait size and location fished. When something looks like an easy meal, fish rarely pass it up.

Best fish species to target with marshmallows

Fish that aggressively take marshmallow baits include:

– Stocked trout – In lakes and ponds, marshmallows are a familar bait trout associate with food.

– Tilapia – Nestled under a bobber, marshmallows catch suspended tilapia.

– Bluegills – Small marshmallow bits tempt schools of hungry panfish.

– Catfish – Extra large marshmallows work well for larger channel cats.

– Carp – Fished alone or added to dough bait, marshmallows are carp candy.

Marshmallows last longer in water than many other soft dough baits. Have a bag handy to thread onto a hook and tempt your favorite fish species.


As we’ve seen, many commonly available human foods make excellent improvised fishing baits if matched to the appropriate species and conditions. Bread, cheese, hotdogs, pasta, corn, doughnuts, and marshmallows can all catch fish. Anglers should experiment to see what food items work best for their target fish in a given body of water.

The keys are picking foodstuffs that stay on the hook, release appetizing smells, and have a pleasing texture when submerged. Allowing bait to stale slightly amplifies scent. Fishing the offering either on the bottom, under a float, or suspended beneath a bobber are all effective tactics.

So raid your pantry and fridge for bait before your next fishing adventure. You might be surprised what you can catch with kitchen leftovers! Armed with the right knowledge of which human foods to try, anglers can save money on bait while still reeling in tasty fish fillets. Get creative with your bait selections and the underwater critters in your local fishing hole.

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