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Soured Wheat Catfish Chum – How To Make It

soured wheat catfish chum bait

I have been writing a number of articles about punch bait and wrote the other day about what chum is as well as the difference between chumming and baiting a hole.

If you have decided you want to start chumming and you want to make some soured wheat catfish chum there is a pretty simple process to follow to make it. This is an excellent way to bring in channel catfish when fishing with punch baits and dip baits.

There are a lot of recipes on the internet to make this, and many are quite complicated and require a lot of ingredients. I have heard of people using these recipes and having success catching fish with them but I really find them to be overcomplicated and expensive for their purpose.

I have used a number of different types of chum throughout the years and for a long time I believed that soured milo was the absolute best. I used hen scratch for a while but was unhappy with it, so I switched back to using soured milo.

After years of using soured milo I started using soured wheat catfish chum and have been using this for about five years now. I am of the opinion that wheat is the best grain to sour and use for chum.

Soured Wheat Catfish Chum Recipe

Making this is actually very easy. Just go to any feed store or farm and ranch supply and but a 50 lb bag of wheat. The wheat will cost you around $8-$10 for a bag usually.

You need a good five gallon bucket with a good fitting lid.

Take the wheat and pour it into the five gallon bucket. Full the bucket up with between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way full. Remember that it will expand a LOT when it begins to soak up water. If you put too much in the bucket it will overflow and make a mess, and also waste a lot.  If you realize that you have put too much in the bucket when it starts to sour you can always pour some of it into another bucket, but try to get it right the first time.

Once the bucket is filled between 1/2 and 3/4 of the way full, you need to add water. You want to fill it up with water until the water is a few inches over the top of the grain.

You can add some yeast or half of a beer to the bucket and half of a cup of sugar if you are in a hurry and want to speed the process along but it is not totally necessary. If you have made this before and you still have a little left over, add some of the old mixture to your new mixture and this will jump start the fermenting process. Again, not necessary unless you are in a hurry.

Once you have added your ingredients you just need to place the lid on the top of the 5 gallon bucket. DO NOT SNAP DOWN THE LID. You want to leave the lid loose so air can escape from the bucket. As the mixture begins to ferment it will let off gas and if you snap the lid on, it will blow the lid off and blow soured grain all over everything.  I know many people who had this happen and believe me it makes a mess.

I also suggest putting this somewhere where animals cannot get into it. My beagle once decided to knock over a bucket this and take a roll in it and let me tell you folks, it was not pleasant. It took about 4 or 5 baths with her howling and me scrubbing to get that smell of her.

The chum will begin to ferment within a day or so. You just need to check it every couple of days and make sure that the water is about an inch or so above the top of the wheat. I try to keep the water at a minimum instead of just filling the whole bucket up because I like to have as little water as possible in my finished bucket.

It will take about two weeks for the grain to really get fermented in ready in cooler weather. In the heat of the Summer here in Texas it gets ready much sooner than that, especially of you add some of your old soured grain or the beer/yeast and sugar like I mentioned before.

You may need to add water several times before you get the water level right and it is ready.

When you can open the bucket and quit seeing bubbles rising through the liquid, you will know that it’s ready and you can snap the lids on the buckets securely so it will help contain the smell.

Now you are ready to start chumming.

Update 5/23/2012 – Here is an in depth catfishing video that walks you through how to make soured wheat catfish chum and covers some important details on what not to do when making this..

If you want to learn how I go about catching HUGE numbers of channel catfish check out the Summer Channel Catfish Techniques program and the Secret Channel Catfish Rig.

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About Chad

Chad Ferguson is a professional catfish guide and founder of Learn To Catch Catfish. Click here to subscribe for more exclusive catfish fishing tips by email and then follow on Twitter or Google


  1. Chris Stansberry says:

    I’m new to catfishing and I have ever use chum and would like to try it out. Once the chum is ready to go in the water, can you put it anywhere on the lake and the fish will come or do you need to find holes or structures and place it there. Once the chum is out how long do you wait to start fishing in the chummed area, 6hrs, 24hrs etc…

    • You need to try to chum around structure or cover as a general rule. You can start fishing immediately.

      • So I can chum and fish immediately; how much of a bucket do I dump in? the whole bucket or in parts? thanks

        • Yes you can fish immediately. Don’t throw a full bucket. You only want about half a coffee can full. Go look at the article I wrote about chumming and baiting a hole for catfish.

  2. Gary Quinlan says:

    I river fish for catfish,when putting out sour wheat milo.How do I put it out by the handfulls are in balls in plastic buckets with holes in it what do I do? I realy enjoy this website.

  3. Ron Babbs says:

    Have you ever tryed Soybeans that way, I have heard that it works verry well. waiting for your reply!! If soybeans do work,Thinking about useing half and half what do you think?

  4. nice need to try it thanks for the info……

  5. Why not just use panty hose before putting in the bucket? it would seem to be a little neater. I am trying milo with hose right now. then try the wheat.

  6. Is it possible to make this in an apartment, or would the off gas be too much to handle?

  7. how does this work in cold weather–in a river that is only deeper than 14 ft in rare spots. Plenty of gravel bars that drop off into some holes. In central tx and the river rarely gets below 55-60* until way downstream.

  8. You can also use warm water to get the process started a little quicker and place bucket in the sun.

  9. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Chad,

    That stuff makes a real stinky smelling batch… Don’t get it on yourself!!!!

  10. Raymond Rivera says:

    Chad, can’t find wheat at any feed store and the ones on the web are $47.00 to $69.00 FOR A 50LB. BAG OF WHEAT.
    There is a Russel feed store in Saginaw I haven’t checked yet. Please tell me where you can buy 50lb. for around $10.00 I have been using Milo also but would like to try the soured wheat and ckeck it out. I also live in tarrant county and fish local lakes too.
    Thanks, Ray

  11. Bruce Austin says:

    Hey Chad!!
    Man you have some great tip and tricks all the time!! I really want to try this. My question is, will this work for bank fishing for the catmen that dont have a boat. Also, will this bring in some blues as well? Can I use cut shad and this will work as well or is punch bait better to use with this chum?

  12. Chad,

    I live on a river/lake where the current is fairly swift. Would an onion bag work, or should I try to make a dough ball for a delivery system? Tournament is august.

  13. Is this stuff really supposed to smell this bad? Brown bubbling water and all? I feel like I may cause a fish kill if I use this stuff.

  14. chad when i order this stuff do i tell them wheat or do i tell them sour wheat milo

  15. Once I have the chum in my 5 gallon bucket, is it a good idea to sink it to the bottom? It would seem that this procedure would keep the catfish around for quite some time.

    I know I would need to cut holes into the bucket but how big should they be?

  16. I was thinking of making this and putting some in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag to freeze it up. I’m a bank fisherman and thought if I froze some of it then took it out with me and broke it up into chunks and threw it out a ways from me it would work? Any thoughts on that process Chad?

  17. i made this up about a month ago and holy crap!! it smells pretty bad. if your military and live in base housing, your neighbors get a little upset. it worked great. i just tossed a few handfuls out by some old water logged trees and fished outside of those. seems like it brought them in very well.

  18. Fiske Haller says:

    if you want to seal the lid can go to local home brewing store and get the beer bubbler for 5gal. buckets and will work fine. Been fermenting grain beer for 30 years. You might go to local micro brewery and get spent grain and put in a bucket cover it with water might work too. They will probably give you all you need.

  19. Does it “go bad” after a while? How long can I store a batch?

  20. Can you put the chum in pantie hose and then throw it in, or just throw it in by itself?

  21. I’m using a hoop net in the river and I’m goin to make the wheat chum but am wondering if I should use the hose or make something for it any advise I’m new to freshwater fishing if salt water fished all my life

  22. Larry & Carol Thomas says:

    Great website. Thanks for the info!

  23. Once you seal it up for storage do you need to keep adding water or just let it set

  24. Micheal Akers says:

    After its is ready do you still add water or just leave it be

  25. Micheal Akers says:

    I live in Illinois is using soured wheat legal here I looked in are regulations book and under illegal device it said that treated gain is illegal just thought you could help me understand this

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