Gut Rumbles
 

April 30, 2005

catfish

I like to fish. I am NOT a Bill Dance kind of fisherman and I doubt that I'll ever win a tournament among really good competetors. In fact, my idea of a good day fishing is to sit in a boat and drink beer with my shirt off while I enjoy the sunshine. If I catch some fish, that's fine. If I DON'T catch any fish, that's fine, too.

I've caught a lot of bream around here where I live. Worms or crickets make good bait, but I've seen bream bite on bread-balls, too, if you get into a hungry swarm of them. If you catch them "bedding," you can tear their asses up.

"Bedding" is when the female lays her eggs on the river bottom and the male comes around to squirt his manly juices all over them. They don't have face-to-face sex. The female just lays a few thousand unfertilized eggs and the male swims by to fertilize them. And he won't swim away, either, as long as he still has a stirring in his fishy loins. (Do fish have loins?)

Catch a male bream during the bedding and he feels like he's been greased with vasoline. He'll also jet a stream of cum all over the place while you're trying to get the hook out of his mouth. Those fish are totally hormone-driven at that time of year. Some of the redbreast and bluegills are damn near as big as a dinner plate, too.

Bream are bony fish, but I believe that they are delicious pan-fried. I've learned to pick out the bones and enjoy the fish. Just gut 'em, scale 'em and cut off the heads. They are ready to cook.

But my FAVORITE fresh-water catch is catfish. I usually use chicken livers or some other really funky bait for them, but I don't think the bait really matters. A catfish will eat anything. Just bait your hook and put enough weight on it to make it sink to the bottom. A catfish will find it there.

Once you catch one, the fun really begins. You can't just grab a catfish in your bare hands the way you would would a bream. That cat has barbs behind his gills and he'll throw those razor-blade-like contraptions out as soon as you haul him out of the water. Getting a catfish off your hook without being cut or stabbed is a delicate art. I've seen a lot of blood in a boat from someone mishandling a catfish.

After you catch them, you've got some work to do. Catfish have SKIN, not scales on them. I used to nail their heads to a tree, cut all around the head and then use a set of needle-nosed pliers to pull the skin offa them. After that, gut them, cut the head off and cook them.

You end up with delicious, tender, white fish-meat, with very few bones in it. Breaded and fried, they are incredibly good. For a turd-wrestler, a catfish makes good eating. When I pooted around running a trot-line, I caught as many as fifty in a single day.

You wanna fuck with a rookie over some catfish? Just tell him to stick his hand in the cooler and haul out a fish. He'll get cut by one of those slashing barbs and damn near pull back a nub where his hand once was. I once saw a guy get his foot stuck to the bottom of the boat when he dropped a catfish when the barbs were out.

The fish landed on his foot and one of the fins went clean through his flesh and penetrated the bottom of the boat. He was stuck there as if he had been nailed. What really made it funny was the fact that he was demonstrating a home-made catfish de-hooker at the time. It was a device he made out of a coathanger.

"You just run this loop down the line, find the hook, then twist like this... and... BEJUS! GODDAM! OY, OY OY!"

Actually, his invention was a good one. I have one of my own and I have used it many a time. I like to catch catfish. I just try never to drop one on my bare foot. And I keep a pair of work gloves in my tackle box, just in case.

You ever done much fishing for catfish?

Comments

We call catfish 'horned pout' up here in NH for some reason...I thought they were two different fish but apparently not. Anyways, I've gotten tagged by a catfish spine once and it's not a lesson that I'll ever forget.

Posted by: Chablis on April 30, 2005 07:23 PM

Used to use rotten chicken or any rotten meat for catfish. You do learn as a young un' to watch those damned barbs. I got one when I was about 8 or 9. It ended up getting infected.

When we ran out of worms, we used to use Bazooka gum to catch the sunnies and bluegills. Worked pretty well.

Posted by: rightisright on April 30, 2005 07:41 PM

I always though catfish were a pain in the ass. If you're fishing with worms for bream (called 'perch' south of I-10), the damn catfish could suck the worm off the hook with the bobber just barely twitching.

Or one time I did catch a catfish the damn thing stabbed my father in the thumb. The barb went in one side and came out the other. My dad pulled the fish off, threw the fish into a bucket then wrapped a rag around his thumb. The rag got pretty bloody but we kept fishing. I think my father is tougher than me.

Posted by: Joe on April 30, 2005 08:34 PM

Saltwater fishing is fishing. But freshwater fishing...for those tiny, pathetic underdeveloped bass and trout...that's just an excuse to sit in a boat and get drunk.

Posted by: Steve H. on April 30, 2005 08:59 PM

Steve, it can be frustrating in salt water, too. Ever look down into perfectly clear water in the Keys and watch a parrotfish delicately nibble all of the bait off of your hook?

Posted by: Justthisguy on April 30, 2005 09:26 PM

I used to take cans of dogfood and poke holes in em with an icepick and drop em in the water where I wanted to fish at.. A few days later I could have a ready-made "honey-hole" .. I baited a hole like that one time and took my 9 year old daughter to it and baited her hook and just sat and rebaited her hook for her while she caught over 30 big brem, just as fast as I could bait her hook.. Nothin but a cane pole.. I used some big-ass yellow grasshoppers to bait with.. Back before I lost my leg, and I could crawl thru the briar thickets, and get to the creek behind my farm, I could take a can of worms or grasshoppers and catch enough catfish for a damn good-sized fish fry in a couple of hours.. I'm talkin bout some 10 to 15 lb-ers too.. If I can find one of Steve's non-nigerian addresses, I'm gonna send him a pic of a fish some ol boys caught on a lake up north of Dallas a while back.. Sucker looks like the size of a sea bass !! Rob, the trick to handlin a cat without gettin yourself impaled by those fins is to have a pair of wire dykes handy and before you ever take that big bastard off the hook, you just snip them boogers off.. That is if your gonna keep it and clean it.. I got tips on how to clean one of those slippery suckers too.. You ever hear of usin mustard to batter fish with, then roll em in your cormeal ?? Dont taste half-bad !! Makes me wanna go start cuttin up the french fries rat now .. Ya'll have a goodun..

Posted by: Wild Bill on April 30, 2005 10:07 PM

If you get barbed, rub the area on the slime on the cafish's belly. It counteracts whatever is in the barb.

Posted by: Cythen on April 30, 2005 10:51 PM

In the northern parts of Australia , there's catfish a plenty in creeks , estuaries and off the beach. We used fresh caught prawns (shrimp) , still squirming for bait.

The rare times that we bothered to cook one , it was wrapped in foil and left on hot rocks by the fire , until a thin stick could be easily pushed into the meaty parts.

I allways thought they were a trash fish , to be thrown back , unless really hungry or drunk.

But , when there's abundant , fat, barramundi and Mangrove jacks in the river , who's gonna bother with catfish.


Posted by: efa on April 30, 2005 11:26 PM

I caught a few below a dam on the Mississippi when I lived in Winona, MN. Even in late summer when the bluegills coming out of the river taste like algae, the catfish are still tasty.

Posted by: Desert Cat on May 1, 2005 12:48 AM

Fishing for catfish? You mean they don't jump out of the water into the frying pan, already fileted and breaded and ready to fry?

Learn something new every day.

Posted by: McGehee on May 1, 2005 09:17 AM

I love fishin' for cats. My problem is that I always seem to just catch the tiny ones, like 1 or 2 pounds. Maybe I'm not using a big enough hook and enough bait?

I was working day labor for a farmer last year and he made us lunch. He deep fried chunks of catfish and served it along with raw onion and tomatoes. He'd take a chunk of onion, tomato and fish and eat it all in one bite. I'd never ate fish that way, boy was it good!

Posted by: Nick Wright on May 1, 2005 10:25 AM

Sunfish, Bluegill, Perch, and the dreaded Catfish "Watch out for him, put a glove on before taking the hook out!"

And some nights after a rain my brother taking me out to the yard with a flashlight to get nightcrawlers.

Like I said Acidman, reading you is like a free trip back home. Thanks.

Posted by: Grace on May 1, 2005 04:28 PM

Jug fishing is another fun way to catch 'em. String your bait and hook from the handle of a capped clorox bottle. Toss it in the river and let the current carry it down the river while you drift along behind in the boat. Drinking copious amounts of beer all the while, of course. When you see a jug go under and pop back up, you paddle up to her and pull in your catfish (or occasional gar ). It's an incredibly relaxing way to fish.

Posted by: PaulB on May 1, 2005 09:02 PM

I just got back from eating some of the best blue-cats I have had in a while. My father and law and I went down to Three Rivers, Texas last weekend, which is about an two hours from Ingram where we live, to Choke Canyon Resevoir and sacked them up, 63 to be exact at around one and a half to two pounds a piece. We set out lines and fished rod and reels. Then went down to our family "get out of the fucking city spot" in Vance and had us a good ol fish fry hush puppies included. Good Times. And speaking of the barbs they have on them. My brother in law and I went down to the same place about two years ago and set out 3 lines with about 50 hooks a piece. We baited ours with some fresh perch and some cut bait and went back to camp,consumed a bit of alcohol, and did some rod and reel fishing to kill some time between running the lines. Well nightfall came and we went out to check the lines (keep in mind we haven't stopped the flow of beer for about 8 hours now) we had a fish on damn near evey hook, and in a 12 foot john boat thats a shit load of fish. There was not a empty spot on the floor of that boat. Damn fish everywhere well in the heat of battle he is just unhooking them and throwing them behind him while I am guiding us down the lines. Well we get done with the last hook and are turning around to rebait. He stands up and just plops his ass down in his seat only to find one of the fish had decided to land there belly down barb up. He let out a howl that damn near curled my hair. That barb went straight into his ass and that fish was doing the catfish shuffle trying to free itself. It took all I could do to remove that fish from his butcheek. Between laughing my ass of and trying to help him I tugged and yanked on that sum bitch for ten minutes each time him letting out his howls of pain. Needless to say he could not sit down for a while and always looks where he sits when we go out now. I wish I had a video camera with me I would be at least ten thousand dollars richer.

Posted by: gravdigr on May 2, 2005 11:36 AM
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