Duck or goose livers saved over from huntin' season are the best bait - But, I usually eat them, so the next best bait is chicken livers, followed by beef hearts bought from your local food store. If they are left in the sun a little, this adds to the attraction, but right out of the container works, also.
Channel cats love them, and so do bullheads. If fishing the Delaware River, Stripers will take the livers, also.
You won't have to worry about other panfish taking your bait using those mentioned above.
Shiners (live or dead are also good), but you may have to worry about b [no swearing please] swiping them.
Use the elastic "stretchy" string to tie the livers to your hooks. It can be purchased in any saltwater bait and tackle shop.
I use a med. light to med. rod with 10# test line on a spinning eel.
Slide on a light slip/egg sinker (enough to hold bottom), then tie on a small barrel swivel, then tie on about 1-2 feet of line, then your hook. Bait up, then start near the eye of the hook with a few wraps of stretcy string,, then wrap it a few times around the bait and then work back to where you started wrapping. A few more wraps, then break the remaining roll of stretchy string away.
Cast it out, and NOW YOU'RE READY TO GO !!!!
Channel cats are voracious feeders and will haunt the deep holes and shallows for forage.