Catfish skinning and stuff like that...

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by jeremiad, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    State:
    Virginia
    I had a catfish die on the boat, so I proceeded to clean him without skinning him first. I placed the fish on ice and was pleased to find a fresh fish when I got home hours later.

    Then the trouble began. Without a head, skinning the critter was a challenge at best. The skin was holding on so well that I was pulling chunks of meat off in places. The fish was hard to hold, and I didn't want to drive anything through the fish to hold it for fear of harming the good filets.

    I learned my lesson to do the skinning on the water. Perhaps some of you have some good advice both ways. Thanks for your input!
     
  2. puck55

    puck55 New Member

    Messages:
    55
    State:
    Illinois
    at the river we got a head pole you nailed there head to it and start skinning or a tree works good to anything solid works hammer and nail match made in heaven
     

  3. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    I quit skinning catfish at about the time I got tired of eating fish that tastes like mud...
     
  4. grizzly

    grizzly New Member

    Messages:
    229
    State:
    Griffithville, Arkansas
    If your cooler is big enough, leave the head on and just gut them. Put them on ice and they will be fine. I have put them on ice whole overnite and they have been OK the next morning.
     
  5. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    State:
    East of KC
    My neighbor swears up and down that you can filet them and then lay the filets skin side down and "filet" the meat off of the skin. I've never tried it, but he claims he does it all the time. I don't clean many fish anymore, I usually fish all night and by the time I'm ready to go home, the last thing I want to do after being up all night is clean fish. A lot of mine get a short ride in the livewell only to be released at dawn because my laziness gets the best of me. I did build a pretty swee fish cleaning table, though, that works well. The top is marble a buddy gave me after he remodeled his kitchen.

    Marty, if you'll soak the filets in water with a splash of white vinegar or lemon juice for a day or two it will take the mud taste out of the meat. I didn't believe it at first, buy my old man eats a LOT of fish and he told me that trick. His fish never taste like mud and mine don't either since I started doing that.
     

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  6. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

    Messages:
    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Nice set up.:smile2:
     
  7. turkey22

    turkey22 New Member

    Messages:
    41
    State:
    alabama
    You dont have to gut or clean the fish just because he dies. Just put him on ice till you get home. I run a charter boat in the Gulf of Mexico and we throw the fish straight on ice and sometimes stay out 36 hrs. The fish are just fine when we get in.
     
  8. Mr.T

    Mr.T New Member

    Messages:
    2,553
    State:
    MO
    I didn't mean to imply that I stopped cleaning fish because of the taste; rather, I stopped skinning them because of the taste.

    If you'll bleed them out first, then filet them and carefully remove the red meat and any fat, you'll end up with fish that's way better tasting than walleye as far as I'm concerned. No need to soak them in milk, lemon juice or any of the other cover-ups, as there's nothing to cover up.

    Skinning a fish leaves the layer of whatever-it-is that the skin attaches to, plus all the red meat, bones, blood and whatever. Blech.

    Learning to filet a catfish is pretty easy, just takes a bit of practice. The trick to getting the meat away from the skin is to use an electric filet knife and PULL the fish through the knife, rather than pushing the knife through the fish.

    I've got some photos that I've been meaning to post for a while, showing the sequence I use (as learned from my favorite catfishing guide, who also served as the hand model for the photos...) - they're on my personal photography site here: http://www.pbase.com/martyt/fishcleaning -- I'll eventually get descriptions for each photo, but you can get the idea for now...
     
  9. bud1110

    bud1110 New Member

    Messages:
    1,096
    State:
    East Texas
    I don't skin any of my fish, I just fillet them and throw the rest away. This is the easiest way I have found. It can be done out on the water too. Then put the filet's in a ziplock bag and put them on ice..
     
  10. anchorpuller

    anchorpuller New Member

    Messages:
    857
    State:
    North Caro
    Most of the catfish that I keep to eat are smaller, the 2-6 pound range. I usually filet them after I get home. The smaller ones I just filet like any other fish, the larger ones I cut the tail and bleed them out. If I do keep a larger fish, I will bleed them out at the lake and then throw them on ice to filet out later.
    Mr T's pictures are great. That is essentially how I do it too.

    I know I'm a novice and have a lot to learn, but it's nice to see that I'm doing it about the way someone with a lot more experience does it.
     
  11. Pirate Jerry

    Pirate Jerry New Member

    Messages:
    613
    State:
    Yulee Florida
    if the cat is big enough to keep and you need it for a fish fry do the salt water trick of cutting them into steaks cross wise and the skin the steaks.
    a large knife with some elbow grease will do the trick...........
     
  12. x575599

    x575599 New Member

    Messages:
    42
    State:
    South Carolina
    I don't mess with skinning either. I just filet them and cut the meat away from the skin.
     
  13. riverdawg-1

    riverdawg-1 New Member

    Messages:
    738
    State:
    salem, va
    I always fillet them and then flip the fillet over and cut or fillet the skin off. It's really easy and saves alot of time and work.
     
  14. smhmc6

    smhmc6 Member

    Messages:
    744
    State:
    Kansas
    I skin all the fillets I do(after being cut off the fish) ... and the way I do it is pretty easy too (I think).

    First, to kill them and get the blood out of the meat I will hang them all up on a stringer and cut their tails off right at where it joins with the meat. Whenever they are done bleeding out or if I loose patience, I'll fillet the meat off. I usually can make a cut into the spine along a line from about the dorsal fin to the anus (its really just wherever you like to make the first cut to avoid the guts/ribs). Then take the knife down all the way to the end of the fish and because the tail is gone the fillet falls right off. Now I'll skin the fillet, but the trick is I bought a pair of skinning pliers at walmart (I think). I suppose normal pliers would work just fine, but I like these cause they seem to work a little better. I'll lay the fillet on the top of a cooler/cutting board skin down and grab one of the long ends of the fillet with the pliers. I don't think it really matters what end but I usually do the tail end of the fillet. Then I'll cut down to the skin as close to the pliers as i can without cutting the skin (this takes a little finesse but its really not too hard). Then I'll angle my fillet knife at about 30-45 degrees and put some pressure on it so that there is a little bend in it. Then its as easy as pulling the pliers with the skin out from under the meat. I have tried to "fillet" the skin away from the meat and it just seems to be too hard. But if you think about it as pulling the skin out from under the meat.... comes off like butter. I haven't mentioned it yet, but I think it goes without saying that the sharper your knife is, the more success you will have with this method. Just remember to get a good angle for the knife, put some good pressure on it... then just pull the skin from under it.

    I wish I could do a step by step picture type thing, as I think it would be much easier to explain in less words.... but it has been about 1.5 months since I even caught one so who knows when I'll do my next fillet. Hope this helps guys, give it a try and I think you'll like this method
     
  15. Netmanjack

    Netmanjack New Member

    Messages:
    3,734
    State:
    Ohio
    I do it just about like Marty except that I take the meat above the ribs with the fillet knife, all one piece. It is easy to slide down over the ribs. Then I take my skinning pliers and hold the fillet by the tail end and just slide my knife through. A sharp flexible fillet knife is required. Now for Flatheads, I hang and gut them, you have to to get the belly meat which is nearly half of the meat on the whole fish. :big_smile:
     
  16. kscathunter

    kscathunter New Member

    Messages:
    2,367
    State:
    Louisburg,
    :smile2: well quit eating fish out of the kaw:smile2: lol :wink:

    that would be why i dont clean the flats. the 3-5lb blues and channels are a whole lot eaiser and cleaner to skin and fillet, Catch Fillet Release.:cool2:
     
  17. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,207
    State:
    Virginia
    There is a lot of good, useful information in this thread.

    Thanks, brothers! :0a31:
     
  18. Sparky Larson

    Sparky Larson New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    Marlette Michigan
    If I plan on taking fish home to eat, I put them on a stringer, make a small cut on both sides of the meat by the end of the tail and cut their gills. I just hang them over the boat, or just wash them back and forth on the side of the bank. This will get all the blood out. Then I just put them on ice in a cooler. When you get home to filet them you don't have that bloody mess to contend with. I do this with walleye, salmon, trout, and bass.
    You must remember, the first thing that causes meat to spoil, is the blood. I don't care if it is deer, upland game birds, small game, or fish. So, if you get the blood out, and get it cooled down as quick as possible, you will have better table fare.
    Sparky
     
  19. ka_c4_boom

    ka_c4_boom New Member

    Messages:
    2,252
    State:
    Bedford,Ky
    your right the red meat next to the skin will taste bad , its the blood that causes it

    i normaly bleed my fish to death by cutting their throat but if the fish dies before i can get home i cut the fellets from the fish and throw them on ice then when i get home i lay them skin side down and cut the meat away in then slices then i cut all mine into two finger width chunks (just my preference) until i get all the white meat off the fellet , then i wash it in cold water until most of the blood is gone then fill quart ziplock bags with fish meat and a dash of salt and let set in the fridge over night then rinse again before freezing

    i chunk mine up for two reasons the first no one can tell how big the fish was the second it fries up easier in my fry daddy jr besides its easier to pick up a blue gill size piece of fish than it is a 24oz steak
     
  20. THRowSOmeStink

    THRowSOmeStink New Member

    Messages:
    304
    State:
    sedgwick, kansas
    That is how i filet mine. Have been doing it that way for years. Used to skin them but it took to long. Then an old friend of mine showed me how to fillet. That made it alot easier. Nothing better in imo. Electric knife is the way to go. I have 2 of them, one that plugs into the wall at home and then one i can connect to a car or boat battery. They both work great.