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Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by bigkat7698, Jun 25, 2009.
Where do you guys draw the line as to when a catfish is to big or to small to eat?
Here in Texas anything under 12" must be released. I keep anything above that up to 9lbs. Mostly Channel cats..
Personally, I love a 4-5 lb fish. I feel it's a great ratio of meat/time involved. When we need extra for a family cookout though, pretty much anything from 2# to 8 or 9# is gonna find the cooker.
That is a highly personal decision. The limits have to be set by the DNR of each state. In Michigan, for example, the catfish grow a lot slower than down South, so a 30" channel cat is a pretty old fish. In MI, we can keep channels over 12" up to ten fish, flatheads over 15" up to five fish. If you catch it legally, and its big enough, its up to you what you do. I understand both sides of the argument, keep the big ones, keep the small ones. Personally I prefer the 12"-25" fish, and will release anything bigger than that to make someone else's day sometime, and hopefully, so it can breed. I think the smaller ones aren't as gamey tasting. If I want to catch big cats for sport, I can buy smaller US farm raised catfish from the store to eat. Others feel differently, especially in other regions where catfish are more plentiful and grow larger faster.
I release all flatheads.
I keep blues from 1 1/2lb up to 3-4lb, after that IMHO The flesh gets stringy and tough.
Channels from 1 1/2lb up just enough to fill the freezer in the spring, and some restocking during the year after some fish-fry's:wink:
I've never caught a fish I thought was too big to eat. Soak the fillets in milk then fry and they are good. Put the rest in stew.
A far as being too small, it's difficult to draw the line. It's basically what you think is worth dressing out. I sometimes wish there was a minimum length here, that would make it a lot less difficult. When we fish the river we always seem to have a few bullheads when we get home that are a bit small for eating.