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I am one of those poor devils who are particularly sensitive to "that muddy taste," otherwise known as geosmin. So I have been reading all the posts I can find on proper preparation of catfish for the table. So far, it seems the best practice is to bleed the fish -- and/or soak the filets overnight in saltwater. I see multiple references to trimming out the dark fat line that runs up the center of a filet -- and trimming any other red or dark flesh.
My guess is that geosmin levels are related somehow to the quality of the water in a given lake, and particularly to the presence of the blue-green algae that produce the geosmin.
I have had issues with geosmin in rainbow trout, kokanee and crawdads from certain lakes and streams back in Oregon -- to the point where I simply would not keep fish from these waters. In the same vein, I would hate to take my first mess of Texas cats home, only to find the flesh inedible for all intents and purposes.
Anyone have any further thoughts on avoiding fish tainted with this chemical?

From Wikipedia:

The human nose is extremely sensitive to geosmin and is able to detect it at concentrations as low as 0.4 parts per billion.[12]
Geosmin is responsible for the muddy smell in many commercially important freshwater fish such as carp and catfish.[13][14] Geosmin combines with 2-methylisoborneol, which concentrates in the fatty skin and dark muscle tissues. It breaks down in acid conditions; hence, vinegar and other acidic ingredients are used in fish recipes to reduce the muddy flavor.[15] Taste and odor compounds including geosmin lead to an unpleasant taste of drinking water which is perceived by consumers as an indication of poor water quality.[16] Other than having a smell and taste that resembles dirt, geosmin is not a harmful chemical.[17] Geosmin is what gives beets their distinctive earthy taste, contributes to a musty, unpleasant off-flavor in wines with tainted corks, and a “muddy” flavor that sometimes occurs in catfish and crawfish. Geosmin is neither toxic nor harmful at the levels present in drinking water.[18]
 

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Horse-MON
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Bill I know what you mean about that taste, I don't know anything about the water in your state. Here my fishing bud an I never keep channels from lakes or ponds. Rivers, the bigger the river the better, even small rivers get fishy during dog days. Next we never keep channels over 2 lbs, and pre fur smaller. Yes cut out the blood line, you might live longer? LOL
 

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I font eat " pond " fish at all usually from May through the first frost ...I ( always ) soak my fish in saltwater for 2 days and change several times ...cut out the red meat...and out of the big (3) here ..I dont much care for channels ( but ) will eat them or give them to my Bestie's family as they seem to like them just fine .
 

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Chattanooga TN
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Blues and flats, flathead being my favorite. Get that dark meat out and it will be some good fish. The sooner you kill the fish and get it on ice the better it will taste also, just bleed it, kill it and ice it quickly.

Fish this time of year in a live well will start deteriorating as soon as they hit that warm water, even while being alive. Being alive don't mean fresh tasting this time of year.
 

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Flats likely best tasting of the 3 for me, but I fish for 99% blues. I only keep a few 2-3lber’s…anything over 7 or so lbs, I always throw back. I’ve tried em up to 12-14lbs and just don’t care for the taste. I cut out the darker meat and soak for several hours or overnight in salt water changing it out a few times. Before cooking (frying), I soak in buttermilk for about an hour…not saying they are walleye quality nuggets, but they are damn good that way
 

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I’ve never eaten a flathead but I’ve noticed river fish taste better and have a higher quality of meat than pond fish.
Like others said cutting out the “mud vein” removing silver skin ect makes a huge difference. I soak mine in salt water at least 24 hours and swap out the water once. If I still find it has a strong fish smell I’ll soak it in franks red hot sauce for a half hour before breading and cooking it. It’s a little spicy for some people but man it’s tasty!
 

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Hi Bill,
Agreed that taking out basically any meat that’s not white is a sure way to lose that less than stellar taste and odor. It seems a terrible waste but it is much better tasting…
I have noticed with small channels that are really yellowish in the meat to make sure and salt soak/rinse for two days and they will lighten up and be better. I don’t bleed them but couldn’t hurt.
I don’t keep flatheads simply because their my favorite to catch but them small few pound blues and channels can be in trouble if I’m hankering for a sandwich… I like the blues much better. Could be because around here they are all from a large river.
Also fish that has been frozen to me loses much of the flavor. It’s gotten to where my family is so spoiled to fresh properly filleted fish that we just about can’t stand the farm raised catfish at the restaurants. Just can’t compare…
 
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