Tagged: knowledge

How to Fillet a Catfish


Even though catfish don’t have scales, they are still often considered to be a tough fish to fillet, mostly because of their tough skin. There are a number of different techniques out there for dealing with catfish. But with a good, sharp knife, or electric knife, filleting a catfish may be easier than other fish.

Some people try to remove the skin first, but this usually requires the use of pliers and a good grip to pull the skin off after making a thin incision around the fins and fillet. A sturdy glove may come in handy with this method. A more preferred method is to cut off the fillet, with skin, followed by cutting the fillet from the skin. This is an easier method that can also leave less skin and connective tissue on the fillet.

There is some disagreement on whether a knife or an electric knife is better for the job. This may depend on how many fish or how often you fillet a fish. Both require some training to get it right, but usually those with less fish to fillet tend to use an electric knife. If the number of fish gets large, a good knife may be less costly than a number of electric knives and blades. One knife that looks very sturdy is the Bubba Blade knife. A number of people swear by the Mister Twister electric fillet knife, or at least their blades. The 110 V plug-in version is needed for the power. The American Angler electric fillet knife also gets high praise.

Another big difference in approaches is whether to cut through the rib cage or around it. For small catfish, it is fairly easy to cut through the ribs, but on larger sizes (5-6 lbs and up) you will need a sharp, sturdy knife to cut the ribs.

On a small fish – make a cut on the side, behind the head from the top of the fish (dorsal side) near the front of the dorsal fin down behind the pectoral fins to in front of the pelvic fin. Cut through the rib cage to the spinal cord, then turn knife to go parallel to spine and cut to the tail. Stop the cut before cutting through the skin at the tail, and then flip the fillet towards the tail so that the fillet is showing. While holding onto the fish, beginning from where the fillet is attached at the tail, cut the fillet from the skin by pushing the knife between the fillet and skin while pulling the fish to keep the skin tight. It helps to begin the cut with the point of the knife or flex the electric knife blade to get a good cut. If you didn’t stop the initial cut of the fillet at the tail, you will need to grab the skin at the tail with pliers and cut the fillet from the skin, from tail to head. Finally, cut out the ribs from fillet.

On a larger fish (> 5-6 lbs) – make a partial cut on side, behind the head, up to the spine, then cut along the spine until you get past the ribs, then plunge the knife through the fish (from dorsal to ventral side) and cut along the spine to the tail. Then come back and trim around the ribs back to the initial cut on the side. The fillet still needs to be skinned and if you didn’t cut the fillet off at the tail, flip the fillet over at the tail and cut the fillet from skin from where it attached at the tail. If you cut the fillet off at the tail, grab the skin at the tail with pliers and cut from tail to head. There is some dark red meat on the lateral line of the fillet that you may prefer to remove. This can be cut with a V-cut to remove, but it will split you fillet in half. The top and bottom edge may need trimming as well. A slightly different version for larger fish is to start the cut behind the rib cage at an angle. Cut to spine and then back to tail. This loses some of the shoulder portion of the fillet. For this size fish, the belly flap can also be trimmed off. This is under the section of skin on the belly near the head. Just finish cutting from the initial side cuts from both sides, towards the jaw. Cut or pull any small tendrils attached, and cut in front of the pelvic fin to separate the belly flap. There is skin on one side and membrane on the other that needs to be removed. This is sliced off just like removing the skin from the fillet by grabbing the skin/membrane, with meat on top, and cut while pulling the skin.

Watch these three videos. They are very good at describing these methods of filleting catfish.

My Best Catfishing Tips And Secrets

Channel Catfish

Here are some of My Best Catfishing Tips that you should keep in mind the next time you go drown some worms. With warmer weather just around the corner catfishing is in the forefront of most anglers minds. Follow these tips and tidbits and make your next catfishing trip an adventure.

Seasonal Catfishing Tips

Catfish move in to shallow banks to spawn during springtime and using minnows will bring a quick catch.

Catfish are very active during spring and early fall. This is the time when the waters are rising either from the winter snow melts or the autumn rains.

The reverse is also true.

Catfish are less active when the water levels are falling.

Catfish are much less active during the daytime and become very active and feed at night. Dusk is the Best time to drown some worms.

The Winter months should not be ignored. Just present your bait in a slower manner giving the sluggish yet hungry catfish time to respond.

Summer catfish seem to prefer the cool, oxygen rich fast moving streams.

At night the reason the catfish come into the shallows is to feed on the baitfish, normally they are bottom feeders.

Hot summer nights are a great time to go catfishing, the warmer waters of the day tend to make the catfish groggy and slow moving. They tend to do their hunting and feeding at night.

Catfish Habitat Tips

Catfish LOVE to lurk in holes in side banks, (Undercuts) or sink holeson the waters floor, in and around fallen trees, hollowed out stumps, or at the base of dams.

Know where a clam bed is? For catfish a clam bed is a great source of food. Fishing slightly down river from the clam beds should allow you to snag a catfish coming to chow down.

Areas around docks are good in lake or pond fishing. A lit dock at night is even better.

Light means insects,

insects mean baitfish,

baitfish means catfish.

When fishing at night be sure and be more quiet than usual. Remember you don’t have the daytime backgroud noises to cover up sounds.

Fishing in moving waters or those with a current requires the use of cut bait, you lower the bait upriver of the vicinity of the catfish and allow the movement of thwe waters to carry the scent of the bait to the catfish, drawing it out to feed.

Learn the habitats of the different catfish species such as Channel Catfish that enjoys a different habitat from the Blue Catfish.

Catfishing Bait Tips.

The Fresher, The Better, cut bait from fresh chicken livers to bloody scraps from a catfishes usual diet of baitfish such as, trout, bass, shad, perch, and minnows, to even the bloody entrails of another catfish.

When using liver or cut bait be sure to secure the bait to the hook in some way. Elastic thread, or a small section of panty hose wrapped around your bait and the hook will assure you of not having to continually replace the bait because it simply fell off in casting or was pulled off by the prey.

Remember, when your using cut bait that you need to give your bait at least 15 minutes to soak to allow the catfish to discover the scent and lock on to it before you relocate your bait.

Catfish like to feed on moss and algae that grow on and around structures that are man-made.

If using a Cheesy type bait in the summer heat you’ll need to add a little flour to thicken the consistency and therefore make it easier to keep on the hook.

Fishing in still waters like Lakes or Ponds requires a Live Bait that will wiggle around creating vibrations in the water that get the catfishes attention.

Catfishing Rig Tips.

When considering the weight of line to use, take into consideration the depth you are fishing. The deeper you fish the heavier the line you should to help protect frombreaking your line on snags on the bottom. Average choice is a 10lb. line.

When catfishing in rivers or streams you fishing pole length should be in the 6′-8′ range. For the lakes and ponds the shorter rods seem to do just fine.

Using a leader with a swivel allows the catfish to twist around which they tend to do once hooked. The twisting fish stands less of a chance of breaking off and saves your line.

Hook sizes of 1/0 and 2/0 are recommended, circle hooks have gained quite a following among anglers as they seem to set themselves.

In closing I want you to remember that… Fish show up at the same places and times every year and go after the same baits, year after year. They aren’t aware of the state, country, or body of water they reside in. Catfish behavior is the same everywhere.