May 16, 2006
Guy you need to be dragged off and shot for posting that story. (sorry about not linking you on my first try here...) The first fish I ever remember catching on my own line, using a cane-pole, was a catfish in a stocked pond covered with lily pads. I used chicken liver for bait.
I hooked a four-pounder and got him back to the boat while my daddy praised my every move. I dragged that BIG sumbitch (at least for ME, that fish was big, since I was six years old at the time) and when I tried to take him off the hook, he finned the shit out of me and drew blood from my hand. I dropped him right quickly, but he landed in the boat and I had my revenge by eating him for supper that night.
I know some guys around here where I live who sink old tires in the creeks, bait them with a chunk of rotten meat and catch HUGE catfish the next day, just by pulling those tires out of the water. I've seen some 30-pounders with mouths big enough to swallow my farking ARM. Those over-grown bastids ain't fryin' size, but they make good chowder or stew.
I gotta ask a question: I "clean" catfish by gutting them, making a cut from the gills to the tail, nailing their heads to a tree, and then stripping off the skin with a set of needle-nosed pliers. Have YOU ever "cleaned" catfish that way? If not... how do YOU do it?
And I still say that for being a turd-wrestling bottom-feeder, a catfish tastes GOOD, any way you cook it. I just don't like the really BIG ones.
I agree. Those giant ones are kinda creepy in a prehistoric way.
I cleaned catfish in a similar way in my yoot. Instead of nailing the head to a tree, a friend would hold the it with a pair of pliers while I ripped its skin off with another pair.
If we were camping, we would poke the cleaned fish with a stick and roast it over the campfire until the meat got white and slightly crumbly.
I've done it the "get out the pliers and pull off the skin" way, but now? I just fillet them as I would most other fish,
If you have a really sharp knife with a narrow blade, you can just about cut the meat off at skin level.
You get an almost boneless fillet out of it, and if you want, you can use the bones and tale for a fish stew.
I miss fishng.
Done the pliars thing as well. Did not know about nailing them to a tree though.
Have never caught one that would classify as BIG cat.
Today I filet them with the rest of the catch that is for keeps.
I used to skin catfish now I filet them and try to leave about a quarter of inch of flesh on the skin. That gets rid of most of the fat and the rest I trim off as well as the blood line and any dark colored flesh. Give the fish a lot better taste
Hell, I'm a catch and release man. I just cut the damned line, save my fingers, and tie on another hook.
I have cleaned Bass out of Aunt Flora's pond before, and we'd take them on a rainy day in the 'bacca fields to the barn, fire up the cast iron pot and have us a fish stew though... That's some gooooood stuff now.
In the small town of Heilbron in the Free State province of SA I took a canoe to go and rebait our lines.
A barber (catfish) swam underneath the canoe and lifted it.
I was of a small build (then about 49 kg) and 15 years old.
I only swam in the shallow waters from then.
Nailing the head to a tree or barn is the normal hillbilly way of skinning a catfish. The electric filet knife works well and you don't lose a lot of meat. It you still want to skin them, bring a tub of water to a rolling boil, hold the catfish by the tail with pliers and dip in the boiling water for a couple of seconds. When you remove it the skin will have bubbled up and came loose from the meat. Easy to strip off and fix any way you want. I'd rather filet a hundred or so 10-12 inch crappie and have a neighborhood fish fry myself.
Catfish is definitely a southern thing, and I ain't knocking it.
I always ate store-bought farm raised catfish and I like it.
When a buddy caught some cafish from a river in Tennesee he brought some home, had a party and fried them for everyone. The taste was very unusual and reminded me of a musty basement.
He told me that is the real flavor of catfish because they spend a lot of time on the bottom of the river sucking up mud and other shit.
Years ago on Lake Whitney, my roommates old man would run traps at night and bring in 15 and 20 pounders. He would throw them in a tank overnight; too drunk to do much else. Next day he cut the throats and bled them out, then cut filets off the sides. He removed all the dark veins from the meat and cut them into chunks; breaded and deep fried there was no musty or fishy flavor at all.
Bleeding a catfish out is a must if you want good mild tasting fish. I hang them from a tree limb and cut the tails off and let them flop and bleed out before I fillet them.
But, then again I bleed out most fish including sea trout and redfish and always my grouper. Just makes for better eating.
I do the same thing with pussy.
I always cleaned them that way too. I didn't nail the head to anything though. I put my index finger through their gills and pushed down on the bottom jaw and pushed up on the top jaw with my thumb. It worked real good until you got past a 10 pound fish. The I had to smack them on the head a couple of times before I put my fingers in their mouth. It always worked good for me.
Catfish are amazing that way. One late summer when the water was really low and sluggish in the Mississippi at Winona, MN, I caught some bluegills and a catfish at the dam.
The bluegills were absolutely disgusting--tasted like muck mixed with algae. The catfish tasted just fine.
That's the only way I ever knew to clean 'em. Least that's the way we always did it in Maryland where I grew up. Works just fine.
Got 4 I caught out back last night to take outta the ice shortly & clean 'em for dinner, the same way.
My Dad and I were commercial fishermen, running nets and trotlines on the White, Arkansas, and Mississippi Rivers. I've cleaned more catfish than a freight train can haul, and we did it like you describe. Nowadays I filet them with a sharp, flexible blade.
On another topic, my neighbor has quit gutting his deer; he just skins them and cuts the meat off the carcass. Me, I still skin and gut, cause I want those tenderloins that rest up next to the backbone in the belly.