cleaning fish

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by gbigskin, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. gbigskin

    gbigskin New Member

    was wondering how others clean their catch. i cut off tails and bleed before skinning, and then filet from bone and filet outside to get off the cartladge and red meat. have seen some skip the skinning and just filet the skin off using electric knife. any opinions as to what is best or easiest? my grandmother scaulded and scraped her catfish leaving the skin on but i have not seen that done in 50+ yrs. wonder if anyone still cleans fish that way? i like to soak my cleaned fish in a mild saltwater solution a few hours before cooking or freezing.
  2. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Bedford, Kentucky
    George, I clean my catfish by starting with a nice cut through the underneath of the gill area. This will let them bleed out as good or better than if you cut off the tail, because the insicion is closer to the heart and in a major artery where the blood pumps to the fishes head. It is best to keep the fish alive until the time of the cut to get the maximum effect. Then I will give them five to fifteen minutes to bleed, depending on how late and tired I am from my trip. :smile2: Then I take a sharp knife and cut the filets off the fish, skin and all. I then lay the fish on a flat surface(in my case an old unused patio table I keep for such a purpose) and leaving about an 1/8 inch of meat attached to the hide, I filet the meat off the skin. This will leave most if not all the red meat attached to the skin. I then flip the filet over and lay it on the skin and if there is any red meat that I left I will take it off(usually the lateral line will have a streak of red in it and you can get it out by making a "V" down the length of it on both sides. I also like to soak my fish in a bit of salt, if I am gonna eat them immediatly I will rinse them thoroughly in cold water for several minutes. I rarely eat frozen fish. Any fish I have that we can't eat after cleaning them are frozen and given to the family and friends. Vern

  3. olddriller

    olddriller New Member

    George ,
    I do mine about the same as you do, I doin't cut off any thing that I am not going to eat. leave head and tail on. After I cut the sides off I cut them in half long ways center of the red seam. Next pack on ice over night , or in freezer for 2-3 hurs , after the meat has stiffened up I do the fleesing (cutting the red meat off ) next I cut the belly meat into strips, start by turning the grey or blueishing looking skin down and make a cut about 1/2in -3/8in. thick,just befoure your knife blade cuts all the way through turn your knife at an angle to your right this will make a nice strip with no skin. Make your next cut the same and you will have belly meat strips with no skin.
  4. Dadoftwo

    Dadoftwo New Member

    Oklahoma City
    Welcome to the BOC George. I don't keep any of my quarry anymore but used to make small slits around gills then pull skin off then fillet. I remember watching my grandmother boil the skin also but always seemed like a mess to do so.
  5. fshnutz

    fshnutz New Member

    Sacramento California
    I use a board with a big nail in it. Stick the nail through the head then use pliers to pull the skin off. Then I cut the fillets off. I am usually cleaning small channels or bullheads though. With a good size fish 6-10 pounds I will just fillet them and cut the skin off. I have heard of saoking the fillets in milk or salt water before cooking, but I havn't tried either yet.
  6. Swampy

    Swampy New Member

    This is the way I do them also,but I do NOT remove the filets. I just filp the filet over onto the skin side as my cut gets near the tail. Then I keep the cut going to remove the skin.
  7. JimmyJonny

    JimmyJonny Well-Known Member

    I leave the head and tail on. I cut behind the gills first. Next I start at the head end with the belly facing away from me and make a cut directly against the spine. At this point I only cut down to the rib cage, cutting around the cage is last. I stop at the end edge of the rib cage then go back to the tail end at filet it back up to the rib cage. At this point the top is done and the whole tail end is filleted. Next I open up the filet by the rib cage and pull toward the belly while running my knife around the cage. With a little practice the filet will come out perfect and whole,,belly and all. Next I just lay the fillet skin down and and cut off the skin. Easy to clean up, 2 skins and the body is all. Wash fillets real good over cold running water. As far as the red line goes I only eat the small ones, #5 and under so there isn't much of a line there, that's usually in older fish. The rinsing usually takes it out anyway. If it's real bad or if it bothers you then cut it out. I just love the look of the whole uncut fillet on my plate.

    I never bleed or gut a catfish, when I'm done the fish is whole and guts are still in it. If you don't like any fishy taste ( like me )soak them in ice water and salt them over night, rise real good, then freeze for at least 24hrs.

    The electric knives work excellent. I don't have one but sometimes I wish I did. I'm really good with a knife so it doesn't matter that much to me.

    Well this is the best way that I've found for myself. I hope this helps someone out there

  8. Blacky

    Blacky New Member

    Philadelphia, P
    I usually never eat catfish, but I do eat fish from the ocean that I catch like striped bass, tog, sea bass, and bluefish. I always slit their throats and let them bleed out. By bleeding the fish, you will get much cleaner white fillets as opposed to when you don't bleed your fish which usually results in red fillets.
  9. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

  10. poisonpits

    poisonpits Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    i clean mine like swampy except i cut the head and tail off,after filleting,and keep the back the cheeks of a flathead this is,to me,the best part of the fish.i cook the backs last and dont recomend giving them to small children.
  11. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Here's a photo-illustrated, step-by-step web page showing how I've learned to clean fish. (The hand model is Steve Brown of Catfish Safari Guide Service):

    Click on the individual pictures for a description of what's going on.
  12. brad kilpatrick

    brad kilpatrick New Member

    Kansas City

    I haven't heard of anyone using an icepick or wire to paralize a cat in many Years. The old timer who taught Me how to do that called it "piffing" the fish.
    Works like a champ.
  13. jamminbassplayer

    jamminbassplayer New Member

    I have yet to catch very many cats, but since I kept cutting myself instead of the fish, :angry: I just started smoking them. I gut them first, then soak them overnight in salt water with a touch vinegar, then I put them in the smoker. The skin just falls off:feel_good: so does the meat.
  14. river scum

    river scum New Member

    hooterville indiana
    welcome to the b.o.c. george. i fillet mine just like most fish, then remove all the red meat.
  15. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    He probably called it "pithing" - basically, you're jamming the ice pick / sharp pointy object through the brain and into the spinal cord. It's a quick and painless way to dispatch a fish. Makes the rest of the process go a lot easier - it's hard to bleed them when they're flopping all over the place.

    The best tool I've found so far is a T-handle allen wrench, 3/32" size, sharpened to a point. Available at any local hardware store, maybe at the big-box stores but I wouldn't count on it.
  16. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    Except for the occasional small channel cat, I fillet all of mine, using a technique that was posted on the board by someone. Sorry, but I don't remember the name. Whoever you are, "Thanks".

    Lay the cat on its side. Draw an imaginary line from just behind the dorsal fin to just behind the anus. Make a vertical cut on this line down to the backbone. Turn your knife sideways and run it along the backbone to cut off the fillet. Some people like to leave the fillet attached to the carcass by a little strip of skin so that they don't have to try to hold the fillet with their fingers; others just go ahead and cut the fillet completely off. It doesn't really make any difference to me; I do both. You can use either a regular fillet knife or an electric knife, but remember that the sharper a fillet knife, the more likely you are to accidentally cut through the skin when filleting it off. An electric knife is less likely to cut through the skin. And for those who don't already know this, the smaller the cat, the thinner the skin, and the easier it is to accidentally cut through it.
    Your first thought is probably that this wastes a bunch of meat above the ribs in front of the dorsal fin, but there's not much meat there on smaller fish, and for larger fish, simply fillet out that chunk. All you're going to get off a 10# cat is a generous-sized finger of meat on each side.
    This method eliminates cutting through the rib bones, and it eliminates opening the gut pocket. It's a whole lot easier and cleaner method.