Catfish Cleaning Tips for Beginners and Experts

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by nathan8372, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. nathan8372

    nathan8372 New Member

    Messages:
    101
    State:
    South Texas
    Hey guys,

    Just thought I'd post some simple tips on cleaning catfish. Some tips prove to make the fillet taste better, some are related to general cleaning. Learned these from my dad and grandfather.

    • Caught a large catfish?
    On catfish over 12lbs I always hang them up and cut their tails before gutting them. This bleeds the fish making it weaken, eventually killing it. This is beneficial because it makes a large fish easier and safer to handle when cleaning it. Also, this process also 'drains' the blood out of the meat, making it more tasty later on.
    • Lots of Cats...so little Time
    If you have the luck of catching several cats and find that they keep flopping off your cleaning table, you could build a lip around the edges of your cleaning table to prevent this; or you could stun the fish. Catfish have the ability to lock their dorsal and pectoral fins and that causes the fins to become very rigid and dangerous, espicially if they flop. I was taught that if you have several cats on the table and find that they are indeed jumping off to hit them in the head with a rock or hammer. This stuns them instantly making the fish much more safer to work around.
    • Getting the Lead Out
    Ever find that no matter how you fillet a catfish and/or cook it, there's always a bad taste left in your mouth? Try this:
    After skinning a catfish, fillet it. Then remove the silver-skin on the outside of the fillet (where the skin was) using your fillet knife. After doing this, take your fillet knife and follow the red/rust colored 'vein' along the length of the fillet. I like to make a small 'V' on each side of it to remove it. This will help with taste-issues. It is how we have always prepared catfish.

    There are many people in the world that have turned up their noses to eating catfish simply because the fish was not prepared correctly.
     
  2. catman529

    catman529 New Member

    Messages:
    817
    State:
    Tennessee
    Thanks, I have heard of all of those and you layed them out well - very clean and readable.
     

  3. nathan8372

    nathan8372 New Member

    Messages:
    101
    State:
    South Texas
    Yeah, just some basics I thought some of the guy's might like.

    Nathan
     
  4. neocats

    neocats New Member

    Messages:
    2,130
    State:
    Steubenvil
    Thanks. Your information is accurate and useable.
     
  5. coolarrow2

    coolarrow2 New Member

    Messages:
    249
    State:
    Texas
    Nathan, That is very good info!
    I have found that what works best for me is to keep my fish on ice. I put a layer of ice in the chest and then put in my fish. After that I cover them with ice till I can clean them, usually the next morning. Making sure that the plug is out so no water will be on the fish. I think it makes the fish much eaiser to skin and I know it makes the fish much eaiser to filet! Plus they never kick around. This was all discovered to the nature of running lines the way I do. When we got home with a load of fish I had to do something with them so I could go catch perch for the night ahead. I would ice them down and go. After trying it both ways, now I always ice my fish when running lines. The only ones we clean fresh are the one's we catch the last morning when we are done fishing.
     
  6. bud1110

    bud1110 New Member

    Messages:
    1,096
    State:
    East Texas

    This Is how I clean my fish also, Except I don't skin them. I just go ahead and filet them. It saves time.. Great post, Thanks for sharing..
     
  7. nathan8372

    nathan8372 New Member

    Messages:
    101
    State:
    South Texas
    I haven't thought of that, so you take them off your lines and throw em in an ice chest? Good idea, that way if you drink too many amber-fluid beverages, you wont have to worry about the fish! haahaa Thanks I will have to start doing this.
    N
     
  8. nathan8372

    nathan8372 New Member

    Messages:
    101
    State:
    South Texas
    Yeah I have heard about doing catfish like this, we do all of our marine fish this way but we just can't get down doing the cats like this. Everytime we try it the silver-skin is still left on the fillet. Can you go into more detail?
    N
     
  9. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    The trick to filleting a catfish is to leave the skin attached to the carcass at the tail, then PULL the fillet through the knife rather than trying to PUSH the knife through the fillet.

    Use an electric knife, start it into the skin side of the fillet near the tail and press it down flat on the cutting board and pull the fillet through it. May take a few tries before you get the hang of it, but once you figure it out, you won't leave much if any skin on the fillet.

    The guy I learned this from can get the entire fillet off of the fish in about 5 or 6 seconds per side - it's almost one continuous motion.
     
  10. richard dunbar

    richard dunbar New Member

    Messages:
    550
    State:
    Washington
    What I do is get a 2x4 or 2x6 that I have on a wall or tree and a large nail, put right thru its head. I make a cut all the way around its head and take a pair of skinners or pliars and just gently pull. Its pretty easy and you can manage the insides faily well too.
     
  11. 1fishhead

    1fishhead New Member

    Messages:
    30
    State:
    ky
    thanks guys great info and my grandpa used a big gaf hook nailed to a tree for the realy big ones ... again thanks for the info
     
  12. nathan8372

    nathan8372 New Member

    Messages:
    101
    State:
    South Texas
    On the big ones, I just hang em up on the old cotton scale and clean them right there. It's pretty easy doin' it that way.
     
  13. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Nice tips guys!
     
  14. krowbar

    krowbar New Member

    Messages:
    664
    State:
    South Caro
    I agree with Mr. T , an electric filleting knife works great on the bigger catfish.
    Start behind the rib cage and cut to the backbone and then down the backbone stopping just short of the tail leaving the fillet attached to the fish. Flip the fillet over and pull the fillet back through the knife keeping the blade flat against the cutting board.
    With a little practice you get whole boneless, skinless catfish fillets that you can either leave whole or cut up into nuggets. I do cut the red of the fillet. It has a strong taste.
     
  15. dust777man

    dust777man New Member

    Messages:
    536
    State:
    SC
    Great info! That is what I do myself. A few times and it is real easy.
     
  16. catfishindaddy

    catfishindaddy New Member

    Messages:
    2
    State:
    California
    New to the Boc, caught my first Cat this am. It was just under 4 lbs. Is there a different way to clean the smaller ones?

    I killed and cleaned it like I do with any fish, and I threw it in the freezer to fillet it later on. Was this wrong? Help, never done this before.



    Brian
     
  17. ho_shi

    ho_shi New Member

    Messages:
    170
    State:
    Texas
    runnin most the time in my john boat i carry a igloo ice chest with ararater (spellin) I put all my fish in there and keep them with fresh water every 20-30 mn dependin on the weather and heat...

    use same cooler to fillet on BEFORE I EVER LEAVE LAKE, makes it soo much easier then goin back or trashin the leftovers, i try to return to where i wana fish if possible or throw as far in the water to entice the next round...

    carry hammer in truck for a "stunner" as was mentioned earlier.... 12 volt/110 elec fillet knife, hook to trollin motor bat or truck bat (can put trailer plug on it and use taillights and tailgate if needed) fillet down to tail, flip over and fillet skin off, THEN CUT THAT SKIN off so that the other side has a nice smooth one sweep motion down to tail and flip it over and continue on..... Total time to fillet nice medium cat?? 45 seconds (for me not doin it too much not bad time) rinse off meat and knife and put in 1 gal freezer bags (always carry a box in truck) if far away get some ice to ice them down in the cooler untill get home.... Finish washing and cuttin red line out and trimm whatever else i missed and wash one last time, put in nother bag with some water and lil salt, squeeze air out and lay plat with the zipper up keepin any water from exiting...


    hope this helps, the 12 volt fillet knife is WORTH EVERY PENNY of the price
     
  18. coondog east fork

    coondog east fork New Member

    Messages:
    49
    State:
    IND
    I put all my fillets in vinegar water for 24 hrs it cleans the meat and no bad
    taste it turns the yellow meat white
     
  19. allena

    allena New Member

    Messages:
    164
    State:
    WV/Preston Co.
    I`m also one that filets cats and then cuts the skin off. As others say get rid of the gray. I also take out the red meat that is in the middle line of the filet if I`m deep frying. If making stew it doesn`t matter. One thing I haven`t seen recommended, TRIM OFF THE FAT, it tastes worse then the gray. On bigger cats it`s on his back.
     
  20. jdmert

    jdmert New Member

    Messages:
    48
    State:
    Missouri
    I was told once that if you sqeeze the tail on a catfish for a few seconds it basically paralyzes the fish for a while so you can clean it without flopping. I have done this for years with good success and then you dont have to worry about hitting it or killing it first. Just a tip I learned when I was young!