Catfish as Table Fare - what is best size for keeping and eating

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by Duane, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Duane

    Duane New Member

    oKAY GUTS WHAT SIZES DO YOU KEEP AND WHAT GOES BACK AS IM TOLD THE OLDER THEY GET THE MORE CONTAMINETS THEY CARRY ? OOOHH sorry the caps lock was on this would be a good question for biologist
  2. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    I am with Tim on this one. The older they are, the more fat that builds up in the meat. Lead and mercury and lead levels increase with age, and the meat gets more grainy or tough. This is a few of the reasons I don't keep anyting over ten pounds.

  3. steveg442

    steveg442 New Member

    The best eating size for me is 1 1/2 to 5 pounders. That's what i prefer. I take pictures of anything over 10 and release them.
  4. rockbass

    rockbass New Member

    As with other things such as line, rods, reels, it is basically a matter of personal opinion. Everybody will say something different.

    I personally don't eat any Flatheads, but will keep an occasional channel cat or 2. the ones I do keep are under 20 inches.
  5. wpsatisfide

    wpsatisfide New Member

    Pawleys Island, SC
    I also dont keep flatheads and only keep others if they are less than 10 pounds and often not then. My girlfriend dosnt eat fish so a couple of fish will last me a while.
  6. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    Only if I'm really hard up for catfish will I keep anything over 10# or so. On the other end, unless I'm planning to cook it whole, I won't keep a fish under about 1-1 1/2#. I'm the only one that will eat a fish cooked whole; everybody else in my family insists on boneless fillets. If a fillet is too thin, it's almost impossible to cook it without drying it out. By the time the cornmeal coating has turned golden, the fish is overcooked. Of course, I could heat the oil to the point where it's smoking, but then it would be too hot for regular fillets. If a fillet is a little too thick, I'll cut it into fingers; if it's a lot too thick, I'll fillet it in half lengthwise to make two fillets the same size, except only half as thick.
    Being a fanatic about having the oil at the right temperature means having it at the right temperature for that size fillet. Lower temp for larger pieces; higher temp for smaller pieces.
  7. catfish joe

    catfish joe New Member

    louisville kentucky
    I myself perfure channel or albino's to eat and under 10lbs better taste and better meat:thumbsup:
  8. tncatfishing

    tncatfishing New Member

    clk. tn
    Under ten pounds is fare game for me to eat. Although I have ate bigger cats that tasted just as good.
  9. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    true, but ive noticed channels over say, 8 lbs, are kinda tough. they can be tenderized but its really too much work. now blues, ive eaten them up to 35lbs and they never were tough, and boy were they tatsy! havent eaten one in a long time since i dont fish at "those" places anymore. small flats are really good but their not worth killing for what little meat you get off them, theyre mostly head and belly meat! but overall, ill take a blue of anysize, channels under 5lbs, and of course.....those yummy bullheads:D
  10. pendog66

    pendog66 New Member

    Brookville OH
    Honestly i wont eat any catfish that is over 4 pounds
  11. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Tracy Calif
    I keep a few between 3lbs and 5lbs and release the rest! Smaller then 3lbs seems a waste for the amount of meat you get, though they taste the best! 3 to 5 lbs will get you some nice firm filets! Bigger then that and the meat is mushy and of course there is the polutants that build up in the fat as mentioned before! I understand that the big flatheads taste fine though! I intend to eat the first one I catch!

    Attached Files:

  12. KC Jayhawk 78

    KC Jayhawk 78 New Member

    Kansas City, Ks
    Man oh man that picture makes me hungry just looking at it. :)
  13. kspor

    kspor New Member

    Wichita Kansas
    I have to go along with the majority. Smaller is better from a health standpoint. Here in Kansas many waters carry an advisory. I used to work in a sporting goods store. Guy caught a 50+ lb flat and was going to eat it. I told him that it would take approximately 20 years to eat it. He balked called the dept of health and released it back into the river. He kept it at a local fish shop as a display. Personally I feel it is great that fishing is one sport where the trophys taken can be released for another day. Cant do that with a buck/doe
  14. beaneye46

    beaneye46 New Member

    i like to eat flatheads 5 - 10 #. i dont care much for channel or blues. flathead is some of the mildest best tasting fish there is i think. sometimes i will go to a local lake that overan by channel cats and catch a mess of them. but they only get 1pound if your lucky, so its kind of a chore.
  15. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Mercury poisoning.

    It ain't pretty.

    I will not eat anything over five pounds for a couple of reasons. First, the fish have more time to build up high mercury levels the older they get. Second, I like to catch big fish more than I like to eat them or show them off.

    The bigger a catfish gets, the more of a predator it becomes. This means it is eating more fish that also contain mercury and other contaminants. The predator fish is acting as a filter for all the stuff it takes in through other fish.
  16. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Montgomery, Alabama
    I think from 1 to 10 lbs are the best eating.
  17. WishinIwasFishin

    WishinIwasFishin New Member

    To me, the best eating fish is a small channel cat from the Ogeechee River. Although we do keep and eat fish which are a little larger, maybe up to 2 lbs., I prefer the ones that are about 10 inches long. A lot of work, but they are so tasty!
  18. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Los Angele
    like most said, the smaller ones are the best eating especially the ones that come from clearer waters.
  19. Catmaster81

    Catmaster81 New Member

    I agree with almost everything said. I will say that I keep the flatheads up to about 15 lbs. If you don't and just keep the channels, I think it upsets the balance a little. Channels and blues are good to eat up to 20 lbs. Flatheads above 15 lbs I always photo and release for 3 reasons:
    1) They're a pain to clean. Skinning them is like skinning a rhino.
    2) They get really fatty and oily (surely full of PCB's etc. too). I've eaten a few over the years over 20 lbs, and they taste like a case of Pennzoil.
    3) They are well on their way to becoming a trophy fish. I also believe that the monster flats (30-70+ lbs) are what help keep the river from being over-run with nuisance fish (bullheads, fiddler channels, drum, carp, and the dreaded Asian Carp).
    As for taste, it's all about how you clean them. Up until about 10 years ago, we always used to just fillet them, freeze them, thaw them, fry them, and eat them. The problem with this method (especially on larger cats) is you end up with 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch of mudline in your fillets. Unless you like to take up the childhood practice of eating dirt, it doesn't enhance the flavor much. Since then, when we re-thaw the filets, we cut right down the valley line in the fillet, flip it over, and carefully remove the mudline (the red and white striped tissue on the underside of the fillet) from the fillets. You lose a little bit of meat this way, but the taste is superb. Also, I think that most of the pollutants reside in the mudline too, so you're ridding yourself of much of that danger, too! You can soak the trimmed fillets in milk overnight, and this further rids it of the fishy taste. I've caught catfish and walleye from the same water and have had a hard time telling the difference in taste if the cats are prepared like this. Give it a try! You won't be sorry!
  20. Rtpcat

    Rtpcat New Member

    I agree with the others also, As long as the red meat is cut out on the 10-20lb fish they are fine eating. Over about 20 on blue seams that they get to fat and all the trimming seems like a waste. So we usaully throw those back.
    Our flatheads are good up to 25lbs have not caught one any bigger than that but the meat is course and some don't like it as well because of the texture.
    We eat a bunch of sqealers to they just get tiresome to clean sometimes.