Catch fish with dough baits 

Catch fish with dough baits 

Sometimes the best bait is artificial! 


Marshmallow, putty and dough baits have been around for a long time ….Japanese, Chinese and European anglers have used them for decades….and in some types of fishing they don’t use anything else…

…’cos they work!

In Australia we don’t use them so much…they seem “old school” and many anglers feel that good fresh or live bait will beat them every time


That’s not always true!

Hungry fish follow “bait signatures” these are the smell and taste released into the water by anything that might be food.


All your baits will do this including marshmallows, doughs and putties. 


I used them successfully in a recent fishing trip in Queensland.


In the US the anglers have really taken to commercially manufactured dough baits…and they catch plenty of fish. They really like the floating types that let them cast over weed and have the bait float up above the weed where it’s easily found by cruising fish.


In Japan they buy dough powder that is made to break up in the water.


They can choose different blends which dissolve at different rates and sends off a berley trail in the water…competition anglers are masters in getting their baits to break down at just the right speed to bring the fish in. 


European anglers use home made doughs to catch a variety of fish….and they’re real creative when it comes to ingredients and colours


in fact “colour” is sometimes the only difference in their bait…instead of making it white they might make it red or yellow….and this really can change the bite rate of the fish.


A recent development has been “stringy paste”. This is just a dough bait with added fibre….that really makes it stick on the hook.


When you pull the paste apart it leaves “strings” just like the cheese in hot pizza when you pull out a slice. This string keeps the paste wrapped on the hook and solves the old problem of it dissolving or softening and falling off after spending a bit of time in the water.


So will these “funky” baits  improve your fishing? 


The short answer is “YES”…

under the right conditions! 


Dough baits, both home made and factory made, have their place in the tackle box.


They are a great  “back up”  bait to try when nothing else is working….and at times they out-fish everything else.


Where these artificial baits really make a killing is in hard fished waters where the fish get real cautious of the same baits used by just about everybody with a fishing rod… 




if you start using a different bait in these waters, the fish get something new that they don’t have a bad experience with


…they haven’t been hooked by it before or seen their mates get pulled out every time it’s in the water…


So they grab it with both hands (or fins)! 


In the US they use it really well on lakes and rivers with stocked trout…shortly after stocking when the fish are searching for food like they were fed in the hatcheries…the dough baits do the job. 


So how do you use these baits?


I’ve caught – trout, bream, mullet, pinkies, and carp on dough….and I’m sure it would work on other types of fish. 


Most of the dough I made myself but I also use the factory made stuff.


Take a look in your local tackle store for the dough and marshmellow baits that target your favorite fish…you might be surprised at the results….both good or bad!


I must admit that I now prefer to make my own dough bait….’cos it’s great to experiment and find something that really works.


The ingredients can be as varied as you like and you don’t always have to stick to “fishy” tastes…although these do work well…


But other flavors can be garlic, aniseed, strawberry(these are all proven fish catchers)…and the list goes on.


Before you make your paste decide if you want it to be a quick dissolving or slow dissolving. Both work but the quick dissolving have to be rebaited more often…their advantage is that they put berley into the water and release smells into the current more than slow dissolving types.


I knew one old fisherman who fished almost exclusively with

doughand he caught plenty of fish.


He used dissolving baits in still waters and changed bait every 8 to 10 minutes…this brought the fish in and kept them therehe just had to do a lot of casting in his session!



It is easier to make slow dissolving baits when you don’t include any bait particles. These particles, like bits of fish, crab, worm, bread and other stuff, leave less room for actual dough which is the sticky, longer lasting part of the bait. On slow dissolving baits I usually only use scents and oils – no bait pieces.


Making this stuff is pretty simple…if you’ve got kids, or a partner you don’t like, you can get them involved too…’cos it gets a bit messy!


The bulk ingredient is plain white flour. Put a cup of this in a bowl or on a bench top and add your flavors…


Now….flavours is the where the “magic” happens.


I have found that strawberry and chocolate work well in fresh water and just about any “fishy” flavour works in salt water.

Garlic and aniseed work well in BOTH!


But these are just what I have worked with…there are a truckload of other options if you want to experiment.


When I fish the salt water I often buy tins of tuna, salmon, sardines, crab meat, oysters or baby prawns. I eat the contents and use the oils in my dough…its win/win really!


If this oil is not enough then I add a bit of tuna oil, bought from a tackle shop, or squid sauce bought from the supermarket…


…fact is, just about any oily liquid will work as it sends its oil slick into the water and advertises that “chow is on!”


To make the dough bind, after adding the oil, I add egg to the mix and a bit of water….then you get to mix it with your hands…this is where the kids come in…or your favorite partner.


Keep moulding the mix until it starts to stiffen up and the oils are all evenly mixed through. Pull a piece off and check it. You want the dough to be a little firm and sticky, not powdery or sloppy…it should be like Play Dough…this will keep it on the hook.


Lately I have tried using gelatin and honey, not at the same time, to help bind the dough. So far the honey has worked well…it’s just really messy…


…but it is a “work in progress” at the moment!


The last additive to your bait can be colour – food colour!


 You can find it in the “spices” section of the supermarket.


I have used red, yellow and green food colour in some of my baits. I did this to copy the colours of the factory made dough baits…and it worked OK….


…thing is, I don’t know if it made things better or worse because I didn’t compare it to a non-coloured bait at the same time. All I can say is that it did work.


Finally, the only other ‘kinda redicluous thing I have done is to take the “juice” from chopped up worms and add that to a dough bait….it worked on carp but I only used it once!


So why not try dough baits?


You can buy ‘em or make ‘em…either way it adds another weapon to your tackle box!


















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