Flathead Catfish with Parasitic Worms

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by martinman, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. All,

    I went fishing over the weekend and caught a few flatheads. I kept a couple small ones to eat the next night. As I was cleaning one of them, I noticed a bunch of parasitic worms that were attached to the outside of its stomach. I have never seen this before. They were real small, say the thickness of a real small rubber band, and curled into a circle when not attached.

    My question to everyone is has anyone ever seen this before? What kind of worms are they and can they migrate from the stomach lining to the meat of the fish?

    I know that there are some parasitic worms that can be found inside the stomach, but I have never heard of them on the outside.

    I am open to anyone's interpretation of this.

  2. Hi, I've caught some LM bass (while bait fishing) with the same thing,, also, those fish had some red/pink colored "sores" on the outside of the body.. was wondering if the cats you caught had the sores??
    also, did a bit of research, and the only thing I could find was to cut away the affected meat.. It didn't indicate anything else detrimental...
    but, ,,,, I don't know

  3. Ryan... Like Greg says... cut away any problem areas... I caught LMBass with same as well as stripers in the Delta but all on the outside of the stomach.....I mostly fillet my fish and then check the meat closer...

    good luck,

    Bayrunner Ray
  4. AlaCatter

    AlaCatter New Member

    I caught a couple of rock pattern flatheads last year that had worms on them. The worms were short and fat though, about the size of a good buger. It was in the middle of summer, I thought it had something to do with the heat. Plus the fish they were on weighed 25 and 30 lbs. I release them all so I don't know if it affects the meat. Fish were out of the Coosa river north AL. They would probably be good bream bait.
  5. Everything I have always heard is that there is nothing that lives in fish flesh (no parasites, no worms) that will do you any harm so long as you cook the fish. Most of the parasites won't bother you even if you eat them raw, but why take the chance, I say. I personally don't like the idea of eating worms (even if they are cooked and dead), so I cut away any little areas of meat with worms in it.

    There are lots of kinds of worms in fishes. Some are actively making a living in the gut or in the meat. Some are just curled up and waiting for the next host. Most parasites have complex life cycles with more that one host and they will curl up in the meat or other places and go dormant until the fish is eaten by the next host (osprey or bear or dolphin) and then they reactivate and go on to the next stage of their life cycle.
  6. Yes I find Flatheads with worms in the belly meat all the time just cut them out and don't eat any fish row, Cook your fish . If you see a dark spot in the meat where it should be white meat , cut it out it could be a worm or just a blood shot spot either way you dont won't to eat it . And if you are trimming your meat and there is anyone standing around watching you . Wife or friends . Don't say a word just cut it out and discard it and keep right on trimming your meat . If you start shouting out Ha look at this it looks like a Worm . You have just Runt the Fish fry The Women and Friends won't want to eat your fish . Ever again And there is noughting wrong with the fish . Just be quit and do you job.
  7. USE TO BE

    USE TO BE New Member

    I caught a bunch of Channel cats that had some type of worm attached around the mouth area. Also seen them on their fins. They are grayish white, about the size of a small grain of rice.
  8. Those sound like the small leeches I see on cats in brackish water around here some times. I never see them in full fresh water, though.
  9. USE TO BE

    USE TO BE New Member

    I wondered if they were some kind of a leech. I've never seen them on the Flatheads I've caught, just the channels.
  10. BigOBear

    BigOBear New Member

    I've seen exactly what you're describing on flathead guts from Medina Lake where I live. Never in the meat... just on the exterior of the guts inside the gut cavity. Asked a game warden buddy about it last year and he said his official answer was to fry them hot... maybe even overcook the meat just a little and you'd be ok. His unofficial answer was to not eat it. I also asked a few old timers on the water about it and they gave the same first part of my buddy's answer... fry them hot and you'll be ok. I have 5 kiddos and fight cold, allergy, and flu bugs enough as it is, so I catch my flatheads elsewhere just to be on the safe side.
  11. BobbyR

    BobbyR New Member

    A biology teacher I had in college said the worms in fish, and mushrooms are tasteless and harmless after being cooked.
    For the health nuts, they are actually a protein rush that does the body good.

    FATFLATTIE New Member

    I've seen them in some of the flatheads that we catch out of the lake we fish. However, every fish in that lake is loaded with those worms, not just the catfish. In the river though I've never noticed them in the blues or flatheads.
  13. This sounds exactly like what I noticed on this flattie...no worms attached to the meat, but were on the outside lining of the stomach and digestive system. I had the fish on ice...when I cleaned it, all the worms were dead because the fish was so cold. I inspected the meat and did not find any sign of worms attached to the meat. I did as many of you mentioned and cooked it hot just to be on the safe side.

    It is a little surprising though because I have never seen this on any catfish before. I have caught my fair share over the years.