Handling Catfish

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by RamRod, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. RamRod

    RamRod New Member

    Messages:
    2,047
    State:
    Ohio
    I have been doing some reading and came across some interesting material on handling the fish after you catch it to ensure a greater chance of survival during CPR. Here's several methods of handling catfish that may help you out on your next trip out on the water!


    Gill Cover Hold - The best holddepends on size. To net or lift a catfish weighing less than about four pounds, try the gill cover hold. Slide your hand forward from the rear of the fish, sliding your palm behind the dorsal fin, which usually is erect. Place your thumb behind one of the fish's pectoral spines, and then grasp the other between your index and middle fingers. Hold it firmly, but without squeezing too hard. This pressure helps to immobilize the fish, making it easy to remove hooks and then release the fish or pop it into the livewell.

    Gill Lift - If the cat's over four pounds, slide an index finger inside the gill flap and your thumb into the corner of the mouth, and raise the fish vertically. Use your right hand to show off the fish's left side for a photograph. This isn't blind groping, mind you. Slide your finger along the bony interior wall of the gill flap, staying away from the delicate gills and theirsupporting tissues. You won't damage the fish because this tissue can support lots of weight. It feels as if you're holding a triangle by it's apex; your finger slides to the top, and the fish is secured. Using your thumb to secure the fish's jaw prevents the fish from flipping violently. From this position, raise the middle of the fish's body with your other hand for a horizontal photo or to help release the fish.

    Belly Lift - When cats are hooked on crankbaits, or other lures equipped with multiple treble hooks, keep your fingers clean until you have complete control. Some anglers prefer to net crankbait-caught fish. Others prefer not to net them because the hooks tangle in the mesh. To do a Belly Lift, first bring the fish alongside the boat. Reach around the fish and press it lightly against the boat hull. Feel with your hand to find the fish's balance point near the center of it's belly. Then lift the fish straight out of the water. The resulting pressure on the fish's belly helps to quiet it. Once it's boated, cradle the fish with your left hand and forearm and remove hooks with your right hand. The belly lift works best with fish over about three pounds. The weight creates more downward pressure and a more definitive balance point. When handling cats this way, though, you'll find that a fair share of them eventually end up on the boat floor.

    Lip Lock - Small flatheads can be landed like largemouth bass, by placing your thumb in from the fish's tongue on the inside of the lower jaw. Support the bottom of the jaw bone with your curled index finger. This hold seems to sedate fish, allowing you to remove the hook with your other hand. If the flathead's over about ten pounds, turn your palm down and grab the fish's lower jaw with your whole hand. Exceptional fish might require both hands for a vertical lift. Don't try the lip lock on large blues and channel cats, though. Their jaws are built to crush mussels, and are capable of doing the same to your hand.
     
  2. katkiller77

    katkiller77 New Member

    Messages:
    1,549
    State:
    dayton ohio
    very good post people see these fish as like being godzilla indestructible but they are not they need to be handled with care. when release the shock of being thrown back into the water can hurt them. very good post rick
     

  3. BAM

    BAM New Member

    Messages:
    827
    State:
    Tennessee
    Great post, now if we will pay attention and remember to do it right.
     
  4. jason454ci

    jason454ci Active Member

    Messages:
    1,307
    State:
    Zanesville, Ohi
    Good post thanks for sharing the info with the rest of us.
     
  5. bownero

    bownero New Member

    Messages:
    3,137
    State:
    Hastings, Ne.
    Great post. Very informative on the ways to handle catfish. Just hope more people read this so they can learn how to handle and release catfish properly.
    Thanks for the info.

    Mark..
     
  6. orion_xxvx

    orion_xxvx New Member

    Messages:
    397
    State:
    North Central Missouri
    A fishes slimecoat is important but so are my fingers so on smaller cats I seperate the spine and side fines fins all with one hand leaving their gills and mouth alone. Bigger cats I leave in net till i get hook out then lip them.