Use the furry head of a cattail to thicken up dip bait when necessary. Many catfish dip baits contain ingredients such as cheese that are thicker and more solid in cool temperatures but may begin to melt outdoors on a sunny day while you are fishing. If this happens, locate a cattail and hold it firmly in one hand just under the head of the cattail. Use your other hand to pinch the head of the cattail and move this hand up and down to scrape the fuzz away from the cattail and directly into your dip bait bucket. Give it a stir and if the bait is still too thin, add another cattail.
Flour or Cornstarch
Flour is an old standby when it comes to thickening recipes as it is commonly used to create sauces or gravy. Your catfish dip bait is no exception. Mix in flour a few tablespoons at a time or by 1/4 cup at a time if you are thickening a large bucket of catfish dip bait. You can also use cornstarch in the same manner, but remember that cornstarch thickens twice as effectively as regular flour, so you only need to use half as much.
Whether you use instant or old fashioned, oats will thicken your catfish dip bait. Start by mixing in a small amount of oats, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, and let the mixture rest for five to six minutes. The oats will absorb moisture in your bait and expand, so if you mix in a large amount at once, you may be left with a solid brick of catfish bait a few minutes later.
Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
Instant mashed potato flakes work in the same manner as oats, by absorbing the moisture in the dip bait. Start by adding only a few tablespoons at a time as these flakes will thicken your dip very quickly.
Cotton sounds unappetizing, but catfish do not seem to mind when you mix cotton into their bait. You can tear apart a few cotton balls and stir them into the bait or use this as an opportunity to dispose of some cotton from a damaged comforter or pillow. Mixing cotton into the bait is a little messier than using other ingredients, so if your dip bait is especially stinky, you may want to skip this additive.