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Trot Lines and Jug Lines
© 2006

I hadn't even thought about trot line or jug line fishing for survival until I started writing my article about hand line fishing. The trot line is another method of hand line fishing but you don't have to stand around waiting for results. A trot line is a long line with a lot of smaller lines and hooks dangling from it. The line is usually attached to something firm (like a tree branch) and then stretched out over a distance to get the most baited hooks out as legally possible, without creating a horribly snarled mess. Some fishermen using trot lines tie off the starting end to a firm branch and use a heavy weight (like a half a cinder block) on the other end. Others use two tree branches. I used to use a tree branch on one end and a cinder block with a marker buoy (bleach bottle) at the other end.

Over the years of frustration with tangled trot lines, I found that setting the hooks on the line as you set them out is the safest method. It's not the fastest - having them pre-tied on the line is much faster. But, if you tangle the line full of hooks it can hurt getting the lines untangled.

Using a boat is the best way to put the line out, but any flotation device can be used. I've seen guys in Louisiana use old inner tubes to run their trot lines in the summer. If there are alligators around, use a boat.

Setting Up a Trot Line

First, determine where you want to put your line. Never stretch your trot line across a canal or stretch of water where a passing boat or water skier could catch it up. I tried to use areas of lakes and rivers that were slow moving and hard to navigate. That is, where nobody was going to be racing around among the weeds, trees, or bushes. My main target fish was catfish. Most states limit the number of hooks to 25 per trot line. In a survival situation, use your best judgment.

I would tie one end of my trot line to a stout tree branch, just at or below the water line. This stealthy approach kept the location of my trot line a secret. The problem with this secret is that later on, it's hard to find. So, I would always have a piece of material around to tie on to another branch of the tree. This was placed higher up in the tree so I could see it at a distance and putt-putt up to it. In a survival situation, try to insure that only you know the location of this food source. I don't care if other fishermen laugh at me, at least I can find my trot line.

Once the line was firmly attached, I would back off from the tie-off point at least 10 to 15 feet. At that point I would try and find out how deep the water was. If it's shallow, say 5', set your first hook at this point on the line, with a leader line just long enough to just keep the hook off the bottom. You will need a small split shot weight to keep the bait down. Now's the tricky part. Let out more line until it is at least twice the distance as the leader you just attached. Check the water depth again. If the bottom seems to be the same depth, then just attach one hook with a leader about every 10' to 20'. The leader here should be long enough for the baited hook to rest at or near the bottom.

As you stretch out your line, it will naturally sink more in the middle and slope up to the attachment points at each end. The curvature of the line will allow you to fish at different depths in the water.

To avoid as much snarling and snagging as possible, use a metal swivel on each leader line you attach to the main trot line. Remember to space the leader lines so that the hooks won't drift towards each other and twist up by the motion of the current.

A really large fish on the trot line will mess it up pretty good. A large turtle is a LOT stronger than you think it is. If you catch a snapping turtle, kill it before you bring it into the boat. They are MEAN, and their legs can stretch way behind and over their shell. Having a second person in the boat to keep you near the trot line as you run it is very handy, but not really needed. A pair of gloves and a pair of needle-nosed pliers can get you through most days.

Remember to bring enough bait for all 25 hooks. Blood worms, bugs, rotten liver, almost anything that stinks will attract catfish. And turtles. And alligators. Catfish feed on the bottom. Alligators feed wherever there is food. More on bait later on.

When you reach the end of your trot line, attach the line firmly to either another tree limb; or to a bleach bottle that will float (just at the) water line. Fill the bottle with water to find the right buoyancy.

Then tie a heavier rope to the bleach bottle and the other end to a 1/2 concrete block. I don't like to tie the trot line on to a "manhole cover-type" weight in case somebody snags up my trot line in his motor. He'll be mad enough as it is, without you ripping the transom off his boat. If you have to be stealthy, paint the bleach bottle black and let it float about 1" below the water level. If you are running across a channel where a motor boat may pass, put one or more weights in the middle to keep your line away from the propellers of the boats.

A typical day of trot line fishing (the first day) will take about 2 hours to set the line and bait the hooks. Now what? It's "Miller Time". Nothing else to do but rest and relax...WAKE UP!!

There's always something else to do around camp...ask your wife. Come back in 6 hours and check it.

Some people run their trot lines twice a day (including me) and some only once a day. My problem with the once-a-day system is that if all your bait gets stolen, then it will be at least 24 hours before you can even start to re-bait your hooks.

I've seen guys run out trot lines with 50 to 100 hooks per line. The main line was as heavy as anchor line for small boats. These were always 2-man operations with a large board set up with the hooks attached in sequential order of baiting. The guy in back ran the boat, the guy in front ran the line, baited the hooks and (later) took off the fish. Mostly, these were poachers who would shoot you and use you for chum if you told the law about where their trot line was located. Best to look the other way and go about your business.

Small trot lines (like the 25 hook line) take only about 15 minutes to run and re-bait once they are set out. Make sure you have some way to store the fish, turtles, or whatever you catch. You always have to assume that every hook needs more bait.

There are a couple of commercial companies out there that sell trot line carrier-holders. Pretty inventive stuff: A PVC pipe with a slot at one end, going 2/3 of the way down a 24" tube. A metal rod of some sort is attached inside the length of the pipe. As a hook from the trot line comes aboard, the hook is placed over the metal rod and slid inside the tube. The fish line is doubled over and fed into the slot cut in the tube. Then, as each hook comes aboard, it is fed into the carrier until the last hook is in. Pretty cute. Make your own. An old piece of wood about 36" long and 1/4" wide will do the same thing and you can screw it into the side of the boat. Your choice.

Using this next system, you can follow the contour of the bottom closely enough so that all the leader lines can be the same length. It's a good set up so you can move it fairly quickly to a more productive site should you want to. The center weight, or weights, can be anything that keeps the line in place. The faster the current, the heavier they will have to be.
Use caution pulling up the center weights using the trot line full of hooks. If the line slips, you can get your hands hurt badly from stinky catfish hooks.

The trot line is just one of a couple of methods I have used to catch the ubiquitous catfish.

Jug Fishing

We all have empty plastic bottles lying around the house. The jugs from Arizona Tea (green tea) are some of the strongest I've seen. What a waste putting them in the trash. Use them for fishing for catfish. I've done this type of fishing for years, and it is best done from some form of boat or flotation platform. You need the following items to make up a Jug Line:

  • Plastic jug with airtight cap. (The handle is used to tie one end of a rope). A milk jug works.
  • Rope equal to the depth of the water, plus enough to tie off both ends. 1/4" line works great. Braided rope (line) is better than twisted line.
  • Weight: The easiest to make is to fill a tin can with concrete and have a metal loop sticking out the top to tie one end of the rope onto.
  • Fishing line with hooks attached.
  • Bait.

You can use these jug lines two ways: Free floating or fixed.

Free floating means the weight on the bottom doesn't really hold it in place, but is only enough to keep the bait on the bottom. The jugs used here will float freely with the whims of the wind and current, and you may just find them all hooked up on the beach somewhere where they are no good at all. I have had ZERO luck with this method. Some fishermen have reported that large fish, when caught on a jug rig, can tow that jug for "miles" and then toss the hook.

I recommend the fixed or anchored system. Tie one end of a rope to a jug handle, the other end to a heavy weight. If the jug seems to float too high, partially fill it with water until you get what you want. Now it will stay in one location so you can find it later on, and if necessary, move it to a new location of YOUR choosing.

For both free floating and fixed systems, attach hooks with leader lines onto the main line at various depths, but for sure have one that lies on or very near the bottom. Stagger the others up the rope so you are fishing at all sorts of depths along your line. Pretty soon, you can judge what depth the fish are biting at, and set most of your hooks at or near that level. You may be legally limited as to the number of hooks you can use per jug, so check your local fishing regulations closely. In a survival situation, use whatever it takes to feed your family.

Many states require you to mark these jugs as to who owns what, so that later on, when the jugs are lost, strayed or stolen, you can be contacted to collect your stuff. Each state is different so check with the Fish and Game people before you get fined without benefit of fish in the cooler.

A boat is needed for most jug fishing, but if you want you can try to toss the weight into the water while wading along the shoreline. Use a second line to retrieve your jug after the rig is set in place. I don't like "tossing" things into water where I'm fishing. It takes a long time for the spooked fish to return to the site of the splash.

I should note that the boat you use does not have to have a gasoline motor. A canoe, kayak, or rowboat will do nicely here, as will a trolling motor with battery power. Even a well-made raft with a pole will work in a pinch. Whatever you use, it has to be strong enough to carry you, all the jugs and weights you need, plus the bait...and the fish you catch...out and back to your camp area.

Where to Set Out Trot Lines or Jug Lines

This is a hard concept for some people to follow. Fish, like humans, are creatures of habit that depend on the water condition (temperature and oxygen content) to follow landmarks to and from feeding areas. Underwater, fish will almost always follow the bottom contours and major landmarks. Wherever you are, try to get a GOOD map of the underwater structure of the lake, stream, river, etc., where you fish. Fish do the same things, day after day (depending on the weather), and when you learn their secret migration routes, you own the lake. If you have a recording depth finder, you are KING. For example:

River and Creek Channels - In submerged river and creek channels follow the edges and drop-offs of the channel ledge. Often times, these drop-offs will hold fish. Watch your graph for bait fish and predator fish. Set your jug lines along the top, bottom and in the middle of these ledges and see which one is producing fish.

Old Road Beds - Catfish love old submerged road beds in a lake. Old road beds are often covered in gravel and smooth, and the catfish will follow along these feeding. Setting your fishing jugs along them usually will produce fish.

Submerged Timber - Look for old sunken timber and trees in the water or under water, especially where it is close to a river or creek channel. Set your jug lines along the edges of the timber as well as inside the timber for great results.

Main Lake Points and Humps - These areas often hold fish. Drive around in the areas of the main lake points and humps and watch your sonar for fish, both bait fish and catfish. There will often be small groups of bait fish around these areas with fish below them (this means the fish are feeding) or larger groups of bait fish also. Remember that catfish are not ALWAYS on the bottom, especially in the summer. Catfish will often suspend in the water column or will even feed on the top of the water. It is a good idea to vary your hook depths within the water column during the summer to assure that you're covering different depths to catch the suspending fish.

Shallow Water Flats- Shallow water flats that are close to deep water are great areas for jug fishing catfish at night. Set your fishing jugs on the edges of the flats at night. The fish will move on and off of these flats at night to feed and these areas produce well. Set your jugs in these areas. Use your sonar and watch for bait fish and catfish below them. Set several jugs out in each area and vary your depth and your baits as well as hook placement. Determine which baits are working best and which areas and depths and then move any jugs that are not producing to similar areas on the lake or reservoir.

It would be a great idea during the 6-P planning stage, to add a day for mapping out the underwater structure of the nearest fishing holes. (Try to convince your wife you are WORKING, not fishing. ) This will give you a good place to start when you have to start fishing to survive. Most local bait stores, particularly around large lakes with lots of vacationing fishermen, will have these contour maps for sale. They are not cheap, but are worth every penny when you get to eat – and the guy without the map goes hungry.

Making your own "landmarks": Many fishermen will deliberately set out areas near their property with large man-made places for fish to hide. Crushed cars and large concrete blocks are sometimes used to create protected and shaded areas for fish to either breed or hide. Both attract larger fish, and only YOU know their locations. A dock is a great landmark, but is visible to everyone in the area.

Fishing Maps (Charts)

This is the type of chart I like to use for setting out my juglines and/or trot lines. The blue area of this chart is the water and the lines with the numbers are called contour lines. The scale of the chart will tell you what the number means, but they are usually measured in feet. The closer together the contour lines are, the steeper the drop-off is. That is, the depth of the water changes (in a short distance) from shallow to deep. In the upper right corner of the chart, I show a number 1, pointing out an area where the banks of the river drop off quickly from 0' to 100'. In the shallower areas, you can set out either juglines or trot lines, without danger of snagging a passing boat. It is a dead-end cul-de-sac.

Center, left, number 2 points out an area of good underwater "structure" where fish may gather. It's in an area relatively free from boaters since the gap between the shore and the small island doesn't lend itself go high-speed boating. As the chart shows, this is a sharp bend in a river that runs pretty deep. I would recommend that you avoid fishing trot lines at the 100 foot level since that many hooks on that long a line will be difficult to handle. However, a few jug lines could very well be manageable for a single fisherman.

This particular chart does not show what the bottom is made of: mud, gravel, sand, etc. It does give a good view of Hog Jaw Bend and how the channel is shaped. It doesn't show sunken wrecks, trees or other underwater structure, you'll have to find that out yourselves. I have not fished this area before, but I suspect at these depths, with all the underwater structure available, there are probably some very large channel catfish in these waters.

I would avoid fishing for catfish in the area I marked #3. This is a flat-bottomed area with little or no structure, right in the center of the boating industry. You do NOT want local water-skiers or jet skies using your jug lines for a slalom run. Unless there is something else on the bottom in this location, I don't think it would be very productive for catfish. However, the outer edges of flats may have activity as the fish move in and out of the area. Jug lines would be best here.


Trot lines and jug lines use the same bait. Catfish are NOT Gourmets. They eat stuff that would gag a maggot. There are as many different baits for catfish as there are cat-fishermen. The really great part about fishing for catfish is that they will eat most of the leftover scraps from your table as well as the rotten parts of killed fish and/or animals you have access to. The bloodier the better. Liver is always a good choice, as is spoiled meat. The hardest part about cat-fishing is baiting the hooks. It can be like working with toxic waste. Some of it really stinks. In fact, many fishermen call it "stink bait".

Cut Bait: This term applies to any type of meat, fish, poultry or road-kill that you cut up into small chunks to use as bait. Almost every recipe for catfish includes something to the effect of "leave it in the sun for 1 to 3 days". This leads us right back to the term "stink bait". Cut bait also includes using the smaller fish caught by nets and the parts put into a bucket to "ripen" into good catfish bait. When fishing at sea, it's called "chumming" to attract large predator fish. In fresh water, the chunks are put on hooks. Worms and small minnows still work too.

Dough Balls: This is a home made concoction using kitchen food items as well as some unusual ingredients to make the dough attractive to both catfish and carp. I don't like carp, but I wouldn't throw one away if I was starving. But for sure, I'd have to be starving… Dough balls have to be fairly solid to stay on the fish hooks in the water. Some recipes call for the use of old panty hose to wrap their bait...or just a lot of wraps of cotton string. The smell of the bait is what attracts the fish. Then, once the fish finds the bait, they have to be hungry enough to bite on it.

Once a fish bites onto the bait on the hook, the fish will try to swim away. For both trot line and jug fishing, it is the swimming away part that "sets" the hook (s) into their mouths. There is no fishing pole to pull back to set the hook, only the motion of the fish itself. You will know if there is a really large fish on your jug line. The jug will be swimming back and forth in the water as the fish frantically tries to disgorge the hook.

Many fishermen use "treble" hooks for both trot lines and jug lines. This is a hook with only one eye – but three hooks. This increases the chances of hooking a fish, but makes baiting the hook more difficult since there are three points to hide instead of just one.

Commercial catfish bait is available in most bait shops and on the internet. Commonly used baits include beef parts such as hearts, livers and kidneys as well as turkey and chicken gizzards, livers and other disgusting internal organs. In Louisiana, in the 1960's, the most commonly used bait for really large channel cats was – live baby chickens. That's too much, even for RogueTurtle. Let the chicken grow up and eat the eggs later.

HOOKS: Use nickel-plated or stainless steel hooks which won't rust and stay sharp the longest. The 3/0 and 4/0 sizes seem to be recommended the most on the internet. I have used almost every size, style and shape of hook made, and found that if the fish are hungry, they will bite on anything, regardless of the hook used. Small hooks will work but will be swallowed by the fish. You now have to cut open the fish to retrieve your hooks. I don't particularly like to do that since once the fish dies it starts to spoil rapidly. Internally, fish fighting with a hook in its stomach will quickly kill itself.

Typical Baits or "Classical Baits" used for catfish:


Crawdads (crawfish) are one of the primary food sources for catfish in Clear Lake. At times live crawdads are excellent bait but more often the meat from the tail is the top producer. Just remove the shell from the tail of the crawdad and place the white meat on the hook. They produce the best results from spring to late fall when they are readily available to the catfish. Trapping crawdads will not only get you a good supply of bait, but the crawdads themselves can be boiled into a nice dinner for you too. I spent many a summer in the White River in Indiana, turning over rocks to catch the fleet-finned crawdads. They can be caught by hand if you're quick enough. This is a GREAT pastime for kids.


Shrimp or prawns as they are called in the fish markets are a perfect substitute for crawdads. Although I have never been able to get a catfish to admit it, I believe they taste just like a crawdad to them. Depending on the size of the shrimp and the desired size of the bait you can use them whole or cut them in half. You can use them with the shell on but most anglers remove the shell. Unlike the crawdads you can use shrimp in heavy current or for long vigorous casting or even drift fishing without fear of losing your bait. They can be purchased in most seafood sections of supermarkets either frozen or fresh. They work best from spring to late fall just as the crawdads do. In a survival situation, eat the shrimp yourself, and use "road kill" for bait.


Freshwater clams are another excellent bait for catfish and can be productive year round. Fresh clams are more productive than the frozen or processed ones but if the fish are on the bite any kind will catch fish. They can be especially productive for pan sized catfish when fishing at night in the summertime. Indiana rivers teem with freshwater clams. They are really big, usually larger than your hand. Open them up, cut up the guts, and you have instant bait. They can be eaten by humans if THOROUGHLY COOKED. They aren't very tasty.


This category includes night crawlers, mini crawlers and garden worms. Most locals prefer a gob of garden worms or if not available then mini crawlers. They are highly productive in winter and early spring when the creeks and drainage ditches are pouring muddy water into the lake. The catfish lay in waiting for worms and other food to be washed into the lake with the muddy water. It is best to use just enough weight to drift along the bottom in the current to provide a natural presentation. Night crawlers and mini crawlers are available at all bait shops around the lake but garden worms must be dug up by the angler. HINT: At dusk, sprinkle used coffee grounds on the lawn (Indiana). Then, about an hour later, water the lawn thoroughly. 30 minutes after that, go outside with a flashlight and pick up the worms that have come up to eat the coffee grounds. It works every time on good soil. It will NOT work in sandy soil like we have in Florida.

Live or Dead Minnows

Live minnows, especially large or extra large are a good bait all year round. The only drawback (or maybe not) is that you will catch as many bass, or maybe more, as catfish. Most serious cat-men kill their minnows just before they put them on the hook for this reason. They can be used under a bobber in shallow water in spring and summer as well as drift fishing in semi deep to deep water all year long.

Unusual Catfish Bait

The following list of baits was taken off the internet to show you typical (or non-typical) baits that fishermen have used in various parts of the country to catch large catfish. Try them all if you have access to the ingredients. Strangely enough, the use of strawberry flavoring seems to keep coming up. My guess is that there is something in the smell of this flavoring that attracts catfish underwater. See for yourselves:

State of Original Recipe


Bait Recipe


Dead Fiddler Crabs


Raw Bacon


Candy gummy worms


Pepperoni Sticks


Moldy Swiss cheese


Ground beef with Parmesan Cheese


Sour dough French bread


Large Crickets

North Carolina

Raw squid


Catalpa Worms


Treat (similar to Spam)


Milky Way candy bar


Raw hamburger mixed with shredded wheat


1 large (or 3-4 small) marshmallows


Chicken gizzards


Raw Hamburger, shredded wheat, and a dash of garlic powder


Saltwater taffy and bubble gum (?)


Hotdog soaked in Pepsi Cola


Cattails, peanut butter, maple syrup, garlic powder, and cheese


Ivory Soap


Roaches, horseweed worms, chicken breast soaked in Jack Daniels, jar flies, turkey flies and maggots. (Yuk!)


Dry dog food, flour and oatmeal paste.


Chicken breast with strawberry Kool-Aid


Chicken breast + Baltimore Real Craw Attractant.


Spoiled deer meat


Dog food soaked in shrimp scent


Wild onions, locusts and raisins


Lean pockets with mozzarella meatballs


Pickled pigs feet


Limburger cheese + raw hamburger & flour


Cooked turkey tail


Freezer-burned Salmon roe chunks

North Carolina

Bloodshot deer meat (damaged meat)


Shorty party hot dogs cooked w garlic


Elderberry wine + raw chicken fermented


Shrimp soaked in strawberry Kool-Aid


Hamburger, Wheaties, Lucky-7 blood bait


Salmon steak marinated with beer


Big John's baked beans, Wheaties + horseradish sauce


Chicken breast soaked in anise with cherry or strawberry jello + brandy


Chicken McNuggets


Raw pork and garlic powder (set in sun for 6 hours)


Pork or beef kidney stored with minced garlic


Chicken guts marinated in vanilla

North Carolina

Raw chicken skin with a squirt of WD-40


Bran flakes, bananas and strawberry jello


Shrimp dusted with garlic powder and a drop of liquid cinnamon


Beef liver soaked in butter-flavored Crisco


Peanut butter bread dipped in chicken liver juice

North Carolina

Old shrimp, grape Koolaid, salt, 4 whole limes. Ripen in sun for 9 hours


Molasses, vanilla extract, hot dog, crème cheese, hot dog buns, Limburger cheese, American cheese + flour


Raw shrimp in hot sauce


Magic scent + cheese powder, chicken liver, garlic salt, tabasco sauce, flour, vinegar, lemon juice. Paste on chicken liver and dry in sun for 5 hours


Shrimp soaked in vanilla extract


Jimmy Dean Spicy Sausage


Chicken livers soaked in Soy Sauce + spray with garlic and salt fish attractant


Hot dogs soaked in strawberry Kool-Aid


Raw biscuit wrapped in bread, no weight

West Virginia

Chicken liver, flavor aid (cherry & lime)


Strawberry star burst + one salmon egg


KFC fried chicken skins


Hot dogs (1/2" pieces), sardine oil, vinegar, anchovy oil, 1 medium shrimp, powdered cheese (from Mac/cheese pack), garlic powder, red jello, anise oil..set in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks. Dip hot dogs in oils.


BBQ ribs-shaped patties made from pork


Steak sauce, ground up hot dogs, bag of cheese, mustard and ketchup, flour. Set for 4 days in the sun, stir daily


Live bluegill stuffed with squeezable cheese


Soft meaty doggy treats + hot shot breath spray

North Carolina

Cheap canned dog food + 6 eggs. Sit 1 day in sun. Add flour and chicken livers with blood mashed into paste. Sit 2 days in sun. Add 12 ground up shad prior to fishing.


Velveeta cheese + chicken liver oil/blood on cigarette butts (for hook)


Breadsticks from pizza joint


Tuna, mustard, ketchup, onion salt, garlic salt, dill pickle chunks, 2 slices bologna


Chicken breast soaked in Mad Dog 20/20, mix in blender with tuna in oil, clam juice, salt, red pepper; mix in corn flakes and flour and set in sun 3 days. Wrap with panty hose.


Mashed up dog food, flour water, Wheaties, leftover beef roast. Sit in warm place for 24 hours


Raw bacon soaked in vinegar

By now you should have noticed a trend in some of these more unusual baits. They all are very smelly stuff. Catfish are not gourmets, they are called "bottom feeders" for a reason. They will nibble at anything that remotely resembles food. Garbage is food to a catfish.

Almost all the recipes called for these baits to be formed into a ball of dough, although some are just dipped and put on hooks. I didn't include measurements, I'm sure you can play with the recipes until you get thrown out of the kitchen.

All these baits use items with a strong smell. Catfish will follow strong scents until they find the bait. Like sharks, they are attracted to blood. If the bait smells like its over-ripe, then it's just about ready to use. If you want to save your marriage, make ALL these baits outdoors...and keep them there.

One of the things I noted was the use of leftover or spoiled food as bait. From a survival standpoint this is the best possible use for spoiled food: Catching more food.

Almost every state in the Union has catfish in the lakes and rivers. Down south, they can grow to truly monstrous sizes. Channel catfish over 100 pounds have been caught in the Mississippi River.

Catfish are good eating.

Most of these baits were listed in Catfish Ed's Unusal Baits and are explained in a lot more detail if you have to have specific measurements for your bait.

Dough Balls for Fishing

1 cup water
2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/4 cups ground cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
Bring water and sugar to a boil. Lower heat and add cornmeal and flour. Stir over low heat for 5 minutes. Cover and put in double boiler on low for 1/2 hour. If too thick, add water. If too thin, add flour.

Knead dough when cool enough to handle. Divide dough into 5 parts. Wrap each piece tightly and freeze so it will be ready for those last-minute fishing trips.

Variation: This recipe can be varied by adding a tablespoon of peanut butter or a secret flavor of your own.


Another Dough Ball Recipe

1/2 cup corn meal
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup white Karo syrup
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons water optional
3 tablespoons Peanut butter (optional)
Oil scents can be substituted for peanut butter
cotton balls (shredded)
Marshmallow creme (optional to add floatation)
food coloring (to get desired color)

On low heat mix water, syrup, food coloring and peanut butter (or oil substitute)
After mixing corn meal and flour together, slowly add to liquid while stirring
Stir while cooking until thick or water is gone.

Mixture can be blended with marshmallow crème for floating baits.
After mixture cools, add cotton ball fibers to keep baits together.