Catfish are exciting to catch and can often be very large, making them good sport for anglers. The meat is often breaded and fried. One of the most popular baits used to target catfish is soap bait. People used store-bought soap as bait when it was made of lye and animal fat, but store-bought soaps are no longer made of lye and have other ingredients that will not attract catfish. The recipe here adds an ingredient that catfish love. Wear the following when working with lye: eye protection, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, rubber gloves and closed shoes (not sandals).
10 ounces of lye
2 quarts of water
Glass containers to mix ingredients in. Do not use metal with lye it will corrode the metal.
5 pounds of animal fat
1 cup of shredded cheese. Use the cheapest available.
Pot to melt the fat in.
Wooden spoon to mix the ingredients with.
A mold for the soap. The bottom of a cardboard milk carton is good.
Put the fat in a pot and melt it on a stove at medium heat. Remove the fat from the heat once it is melted and allow it to cool. If it cools too much and becomes solid, melt it again.
While the fat is melting put the water in the glass container. Add the lye to the water by stirring it in. Never add water to lye. You will have a reaction that will cause the lye to splatter. Be careful when handling the lye; it is caustic and can cause serious burns.
Making the soap
Combine the fat with the lye mixture, stirring until it becomes thick. Stir slowly so air is not introduced. If air gets into the mixture the bait will float. You can use a sinker on your fishing line if this happens to get the bait to the bottom. Use only enough of the fat to get a thick paste.
Slowly stir in the cheese, being careful not to mix air in. Catfish love cheese.
Pour the mixture into the mold and let it harden. This will take a couple of days.
Using the bait
To use cut off a piece (one-half inch cube) and push your fishing hook through it.