Taste of Slow Water Catfish

Discussion in 'MICHIGAN RIVERS TALK' started by davedmg, Jun 9, 2007.

  1. davedmg

    davedmg New Member

    Messages:
    13
    State:
    Michigan
    Do cleaning methods affect the taste of fried channel cats?

    My buddy and I fished the Detroit River and caught channel cats ranging from 1 to 9+ pounds. We kept some 2 to 4 pounders for eating -- and were disappointed with their taste. Some of the fillets tasted kind of muddy and a little rank, a little like my garden pond water smells.

    All the fish were caught in a slow moving backwater. Could this account for their muddy taste?

    I read one cat expert's opinion that the fluid in the cats' guts can spoil the taste of the fillets. What do you experts have to say about that? I did have a difficult time filleting my fish, and butchered them up pretty badly. I did cut off all the red meat and yellow fat off the fillets, and I washed them off thoroughly in cold water before frying them.

    I dipped the fillets in buttermilk, then dredged them in yellow cornmeal and fried them at 350 degrees.

    Catfish are supposed to be tasty. Please give me your thoughts on my disappointing fish fry.
     
  2. RiverKat

    RiverKat New Member

    Messages:
    191
    State:
    Michigan
    Sounds like you did just about everything correctly to me. Except remove the lateral line, or "Mud Vein". Leaving that in can ruin the taste of a filet on a bigger fish for sure, small ones not so much. I read a study awhile back that talked about a certain kind of blue green algae that can be present in certain waters. Channel cats, especially small ones, feed on this algae as it settles to the bottom. This algae is said to be the source of muddy tasting catfish filets. Catfish farmers go to great lengths to keep this from growing in their ponds.It's very possible that the cats you caught had been feeding on this algae. In the Grand River channel cats will hit a green colored dip bait worm before any other color. Especially in Spring and Fall when the river is "Turning Over" or changing in temp rapidly, causing the algae to be deposited on the bottom where the cats are feeding.More than likely they are responding to the green colored dip worm because it resembles the algae. According to the article the best way to get rid of that muddy taste is to place caught fish in clean cool water, such as a feed tank, or 50 gallon barrel, for a day or 2 before killing and cleaning them. A freind of mine who owns a bait shop often times keeps 1 or 2 8-10lb flatheads in his minnow tanks for days before fileting and frying them right in the store. Let me tell you what, folks line up outside the door when they hear he's frying up catfish. Not to mention the shiners in the tank are more than happy to see them go!!

    Dan
     

  3. davedmg

    davedmg New Member

    Messages:
    13
    State:
    Michigan
    Dan:

    I think you solved the mystery! About 60 years ago, I remember seeing a couple of big catfish in a bait dealer's minnow tank. I think he was doing exactly what your friend does!

    I still have some fillets left in the freezer. I think I will try soaking them in milk overnight. That worked on a small blacktip shark we caught and ate a few years ago. That shark was very mild-tasting, even though we had not bled it out before killing it.
    :0a24:
     
  4. GMC FishHauler

    GMC FishHauler New Member

    Messages:
    1,335
    State:
    Waco, Texas, Un
    if u r getting muddy fish, soak in mix of saltwater and vinegar overnite.
    the fillets will look funny in the morning, but if u wash really good before u fry will make them much better.
    another method is to soak in 50/50 mix of buttermilk and louisianna hot sause for couple nites before eating, this puts a really good flavor on the fish and the vinegar in the hot sause takes some of the muddy taste out.
     
  5. hear_kitty

    hear_kitty New Member

    Messages:
    545
    State:
    Vassar Mi
    MR LARSON can tell you how to get ride of that the center vein of catfish is the worst tasting part and for that matter any fish!!!!!!!!!!!! MR LARSON has cleaned and knows how to clean most fish and or game and has a timeless knowage as he is so old that time has almost forgot him SPARKYS YOUR MAN!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. Sparky Larson

    Sparky Larson New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    Marlette Michigan
    OK, Don put me on the spot here. But, he is right, if it can be eaten, I know how to clean it and cook it.
    When I filet my cats, I end up with 4 pcs. After you get the side of the filet off the fish, in the center of the filet, there is a line of cartelage that I cut out of every fish with the exception of small pan fish. After you do that, it is very easy to see how deep the dark (or reddish) meat goes and it is easy to cut off with a very sharp filet knife. Trim off any yellow fat up on the shoulder, and your good to go.
    Now, here is a trick an old Indian taught me. Soak your filets in a pan of cold water (in the frig.) for a day and change the water two or three time. (you will see an oily film on top of the water) After that, freeze them, or get them ready for the frying pan.
    I put my filets in a zip lock bag, with some milk, or cream , some Onions and some garlick salt over night. I take them out of the bag and cover them with a half and half mixture of drakes mix and corn meal and fry them in hot grease.
    The foul taste you get from fish, is like Dan said, from something they eat. I know in the summer time Bass that is in warm water will often times have a muddy or even a weedy taste them. Unlike the bass that has been taken from a deep ice cold gravel pit the same time of the year.
    I hope this helps. Don't give up, just try some different seasoning, and take care of your fish.
    Sparky
     
  7. silsbyj

    silsbyj New Member

    Messages:
    37
    State:
    Kansas
    I have experienced the "muddy or odd" taste in fish also. I always thought that it was due to the mud and other stuff that is in the river. I have put my eater fish in a tank for a few days with some clean water with an aerator. Usually I only do this if I get the fish from the river though. Seems to work pretty good and the meat always comes out white and tasty.
     
  8. cshire

    cshire New Member

    Wow!

    Michigan Fish Consumption Advisory advises NO CONSUMPTION of catfish of any size for cats from Lake Erie, Detroit River, Raisin River, etc.

    I always thought if you stuck with smaller fish and trimmed the fatty areas you were ok.

    This no consumption advisory is for the general population - not limited to women of childbearing age, kids, etc.

    Guess catfish as bottom feeders and predators tend to have high concentrations of mercuray and PCB's.

    Kind of takes the fun out of the fishing if you can't eat what you catch.

    See for yourself here:
    http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/1,1607,7-132-2944_5327-13110--,00.html
     
  9. Sparky Larson

    Sparky Larson New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    Marlette Michigan
    Well, here we go again! I have been eating fish out of our Great Lakes, rivers and inland waters for more than 50yrs. Walleye, Large & Smallmouth bass, Pike, Lake Trout, Salmon, SUCKERS, and yes that lowly old Catfish. If you want mercury and PCB's, take a look at the King Salmon. That fish has a higher Fat content, not to mention contaniment retention than most fish in our state. Yet, I have never seen a salmon fisherman throw back a 10lb plus fish because of it. No, they clean them and take them home to eat. Go figure.
    I smoke, and as many of you know, I enjoy my cocktails as much as the next guy. At my age,( believe it or not), I know that both of these vices aren't good for my health, yet I still indulge. When push comes to shove, everything in moderation.
    After eating fish in Michigan for so many years, I wonder if that is why I only have one eye in the center of my head. LOL
    If you have any Vices, such as I do, I wouldn't worry about eating a few meals of any fish a year. Including, that lowly old Catfish.
    Sparky