Grouper closure, time to do some sea catfishing!

Discussion in 'Salt Water Fishing' started by seacatfish, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Florida
    Well, the Feb 15-March 14 annual grouper closure is here. Is it time to break out the sea catfish gear? I THINK SO! lol

    I`ll see if I can get some pics to post on this thread. Let me know if you are interested?
     
  2. massa_jorge

    massa_jorge New Member

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    2,137
    State:
    TEXAS
    i'd like to see some pics!
     

  3. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Florida
    Here are a couple of photos of a gafftopsail catfish during filleting. They were taken today, 2/20/08. The reason the date is noteworthy is that this fish (a female) is already carrying a good sized cluster of eggs. They are about half sized. They will get 1/2" in diameter before being expelled and offered to a male for incubation. I noticed several other fish with partialy developed eggs today. According to the biological studies, gafftopsail cats should not be putting forth eggs until mid summer or so.

    The photo of eggs is the middle one, hope you can see it clearly.
     

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  4. redfishman

    redfishman New Member

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    187
    State:
    South Louisiana
    Excellent Pic's on cleaning.You don't need to skin them using the electric fillet knife. It makes such a nice fillet doing it that way!!!
     
  5. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

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    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    IMO, it's much, much easier to remove the skin with an electric knife than with a pair of skinning pliers.
     
  6. brewfish

    brewfish New Member

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    61
    State:
    fl
    Man, those are some nice looking fillets! I have a good mind to do a blind taste test with gafftop v.s. freshwater cats just to see if i can really taste the difference.

    I'll do a blind triangular taste test type setup the same way that you do when you are trying to judge a percived quality (usually a flaw) in a beer. You have 2 glasses of one beer and then only one of the other. In theory if there is a real difference you should be able to correctly pick the odd man out every time. If not then you know it's all in your head! :wink:
     
  7. CJ21

    CJ21 New Member

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    4,303
    State:
    Montgomery, Alabama
    Very nice fillets!
     
  8. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

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    319
    State:
    Florida
    Here is a picture of the chain snake we use to pick a line off of the bottom. As you can imagine, it can have lots of good uses. This thing works in all depths water. It will pick up a line every time, digs in a little to get into the sand or mud, and will release automaticly if caught on a piece of the bottom or other debris. That is where it is better than a grapnel. If you look closely, you can see that the half links are welded to the chain in alternating directions, so it always has hooks digging into the bottom.

    The second photo is of the shoreline bottom, showing where small sting rays have been digging for fresh water clams. Taken this week.

    I learned something great this week about seacatfish bait. From past tests, I knew that squid were the best bait so far. They have a few drawbacks. First, they are expensive at $7.95 for 5 lbs from Walmart. Second, they are not real tuff. I was getting 60 hooks out of 200 back empty. So I tried giant squid wings, available at the fish house. Man, what a bait!! They have the squid smell, aparently irresistable to catfish. They are cheap at .50-.60 cent a pound, easy to cut and hook, and very tuff. I got virtually no empty hooks back. I tried grouper guts on the last 35 hooks, with very poor results. Only 2 or 3 fish.

    Based on these results, it may be worthwhile to buy some Illex squid to use in fresh water for blues, channels and flatheads. It would be nice if someone who has tried them would post here with the results.
     

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  9. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Florida
    Here are some photos of hardhead catfish fillets. There are 4 pounds in the bowl. The second photo is the same fillets showing the skin side.

    The bottom photo is of Mister Lincoln, last night.

    Hope you enjoy them.
     

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  10. deerhunter4

    deerhunter4 New Member

    Messages:
    817
    State:
    Illinois
    I agree...Think it is the best thing since sliced bread...

     
  11. deerhunter4

    deerhunter4 New Member

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    817
    State:
    Illinois
    Question here for ya?
    do you need to remove the red from the meat on these fish to get some of that muddy taste from them or have you tried...Do they have a mud vein like a regular catfish?

    I have never seen a photo of one before... Do you have a photo of one that is not cut...?

     
  12. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Florida
    No, the hardheads do not have a muddy taste. They are sweet and light. The gafftopsails do have a red area on the skin side, a mud vein if you will. On the larger ones I cut some of it out, down the center.
     
  13. redfishman

    redfishman New Member

    Messages:
    187
    State:
    South Louisiana
    I believe the area the fish are taken in determines taste. Saltwater cats in our area specifically East of the Mississippi River and Delta(Louisiana) get sediments from Canada- Upper Mississippi system- the Missouri River system - Ohio river system .By the time everything gets to the Delta it makes a delightful grey/black goo mud which the cats-being bottom feeders primarily eat from.

    "Hardheads" are more common in the canals and slow moving bayous where there is typically more mud-hence(at least in this area) they have a muddier taste and are fouler than their cousin the "Gafftop" . Gafftops do have a redder fleshy part on the meat. With careful filleting with an electric knife not to cut into the skin part ,that reddish can be eliminated leaving a beautiful white fleshy fillet. Gafftops(at least my experience here) tend to be in greater numbers in open bays and lakes going toward the Gulf. There is much greater water movement from tides and wind driven causes. Because of that -the water is cleaner and doesn't carry tannins common to bayous that largely tend to be driven by water volume currents.

    Anyhow , I'll bring home an icechest full of gafftops and chunk the hardheads(as I did this weekend) unless there is absolutely nothing else being caught.
     
  14. Catfish Fever

    Catfish Fever New Member

    Messages:
    4,548
    State:
    Wside, Mil
    The fillets in the first pic look pretty good, the second one, to much red meat for me. On Channelcats, I remove ALL red meat.
    By the "mud vein" are you refering to the lateral line down the center of the fillet" I also remove this "sensory organ" from my Channels and Blues also.
     
  15. BailBonds

    BailBonds New Member

    Messages:
    282
    State:
    Indiana
    Brings new meaning to "You are what you eat" huh? Some people will argue but I believe our corn fed deer here in Indiana taste much better than the upper Michigan deer that browse in pine forests. What exactly do you use the chain for? To retrieve lines broken by snags etc? Looks pretty handy.

    A couple of years ago I saw a guy working a river that feeds southern lake Michigan with a bare box springs with weights on the back. He would drag the bottom and had 5 gal buckets of lures and even a couple of complete reel/rods for sale at the boat ramp. Amazing what people come up with.
     
  16. deerhunter4

    deerhunter4 New Member

    Messages:
    817
    State:
    Illinois
    Thanks for this information as I said I grew up in Florida and never heard of a saltwater catfish...

    I would love to see photo's of both the Gafftops and the Hardheads...I think this would be neat to see...

     
  17. deerhunter4

    deerhunter4 New Member

    Messages:
    817
    State:
    Illinois
    WOW now that is using your head...or I guess your box springs depends on how you look at it,


     
  18. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Florida
    Yeah, that`s pretty neat, about the box springs. Likely he was a vintage lure collector and what a good idea.

    Deerhunter, I will put up a photo of fresh whole fish next time I go fishing. Won`t be right away, tho. Got to have a garage sale next week.

    Bailbonds, we use the chain snake to retrieve bottom longlines that have parted between the surface floats. You can use one very efficiently to pick up any line you don`t want to have floats on permanantly, such as a bait trap that would otherwise be robbed or stolen. Watch your regulations, tho.
     
  19. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    pretty intresting looking hugh??
     
  20. seacatfish

    seacatfish New Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Florida
    As promised, here are a few photos of Hardhead and Gafftopsail catfish.

    The first is 3 Hardheads laying alongside a larger Gafftopsail. These are about average size for both species here.

    The middle photo is a closeup of the barbels on the chin of a hardhead. They have 4 plus the 2 on the corners.

    The bottom photo is of the hardhead and gaff chins, showing the difference in barbels. The gaff has 2 plus the long 2 on the corners.

    The beer is there for perspective, but I can assure my bros it did not go to waste.
     

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