Too Big To Eat - thoughts on size limits for flathead catfish

Discussion in 'Flathead Catfish' started by beakus, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. beakus

    beakus New Member

    Messages:
    243
    State:
    derby kansas
    I was wanting to get everybodys thoughts on what the limit(size or weight) is to keep and eat or release and catch again another day
     
  2. wishiwasfishin

    wishiwasfishin New Member

    Messages:
    776
    State:
    kentucky
    Depends on if I'm hungry or not or if he's the only one in the boat.
     

  3. catman529

    catman529 New Member

    Messages:
    817
    State:
    Tennessee
    I have never eaten flatheads but I would say 2-5 lb for best tasting and 10-15 lb if you're extra hungry:smile2:
     
  4. tomcat85

    tomcat85 New Member

    Messages:
    966
    State:
    uh
    i dont eat catfish i just catch and release them. not saying i dont like fish. just dont like to eat them.
     
  5. riverbud55

    riverbud55 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,948
    State:
    AZ Topock-/CA Riverside
    Name:
    Dale Miller
    no flat head is to big to eat a 40 lb is just as good as a 5 lb and maybe better and if your going to cpr them after about 20lb for the relese
     
  6. heavyduty

    heavyduty New Member

    Messages:
    450
    State:
    Grand Gulf,MS
    Flatheads are good eatin no matter how big they are. but i would release the big ones to fight another day and eat the small ones. just my opinion.
     
  7. ShilohRed

    ShilohRed New Member

    Messages:
    4,339
    State:
    West Tn
    Any size is good to eat. But I like them to be 10 lbs or over. As any thing below that is not not big enough to bother with.
    Pete
     
  8. superman

    superman New Member

    Messages:
    343
    State:
    DeSoto MO
    i will release any thing over 50 pounds unless it looks like it will not make it then i will kep it
     
  9. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    I commercial fished Santee Coopers Lake Marion in the 50's.98% of what I sold were 8-12 inch with 10 inches considered ideal.This was the "frying size" market.The other 2% were request for 4-5 pound cats for stew.The consumers set the market size by their request.Cats out of this range were released.Once in a great while,some one would request a 5-8 pound cat to fillet to have a boneless stew for the infirm or children.For people who could not handle the bones.These were not considered as good to eat as the smaller.They all sold for 15 cents a pound live or 25 cents a pound dressed with the head on.At 61,this is all that I have ever targeted.I also think that the Bullheads are the best eating of all.I would say that this is the reason that the Santee is known for it's large Catfish.They have only been targeted by many fishermen in recent times.Most had little respect for the "Bragging Bunch"as they were often called.You had a few fishermen who fished for the large fish,so that they could haul them around till they had swollen twice their size and then dumped them when they smelled too bad.Very few that I have known of were eaten.That crowd did not use birth control.They bred.Many of their offspring are around today practicing what they were taught.Most have seen these people with their catches.I would say some will see this and be offended.I am not judging.Just reporting as I have seen and heard it in my life time.peewee-williams
     
  10. catfishrus

    catfishrus New Member

    Messages:
    1,569
    State:
    north carolina
    pee wee the big blues that are coming out of santee wherent in santee until the 60s when they where stocked. i ve seen the baskets full of smaller fish in santee too. i hook one with a crankbait when i didnt know any better but when the plug knocker got hung i pull that basket up to get my plug. lots of them little rascals in there. use to see them marked with a float but i guess gps done away with that. anyway i keep very few catfish. i do like to take a picture with anything over 20-25lbs and release the fish.
     
  11. slimcat

    slimcat New Member

    Messages:
    952
    State:
    marion kentucky
    Opposite of most, I RELEASE THEM ALL.
     
  12. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    We had a 2 inch mesh if I remember right.The one's people called the "Bragging Bunch" caught big Bluegill to huge Marlin and Tuna,so that they could show it until it rotted.That just didn;t go over too well with a lot of folks.I have seen the "Charters"hang tons of fish along the docks to spoil for advertisement.The same type of folk will kill a big Sow and leave her litter of pigs to starve so they can haul that "Wild Hog"around in the back of a pickup till the bed is full of maggots.I have seen that too.Like I said.I am not judging.I am just saying what I have seen.The wealthy do it as much as the poor.peewee-williams
     
  13. kat in the hat

    kat in the hat New Member

    Messages:
    4,875
    State:
    Missouri
    Most everyone agrees that flathead are tasty at all sizes. I've never caught one over 20# personally. Murcury, and PCB's would be my main concearn in big fish. Usually, unless you eat fish daily, even conaminants are not a problem for healthy people. I don't believe in a maximum size limit on fish mainly because the only real virtue of such a law would be for commercial, not biological reasons. A fish kept is a fish dead regardless of it's size. One fish dies, another fills the void. Big cats produce more eggs per pound, but they also eat young fish. More small fish will produce as many offspring as fewer big ones. A flathead is sexually mature when it reaches 18" in lendth, so the worst impact on the population would be to keep the small ones. This is my 2 cents. If I ever catch a biggun it will depend on my mood that day whether it is returned to the waters or not. And how hungry I am. I never waste a fish unless it's an asian carp, or a bait fish.
     
  14. just cats

    just cats New Member

    Messages:
    325
    State:
    Leslie Missouri
    I believe that big fish don't get big by accident. They do so by a combination of genetics which would include such things as intelligence, ability to utilize whatever nutrition that is available to the maximum benefit, ability to survive under all kinds of conditions, good hunting /foraging abilities, etc. etc. I imagine there are many things that contribute to a fishes ability to live long and prosper, but the point is that they will pass these surviablity traits on to their offspring which will make more fish with these same traits. So while it is true that small fish will produce offspring it is not necessarily true that they will produce offspring with the characteristics to live long and grow to large sizes. That's why I don't keep the larger fish. Not meaning to sound preachy cause there was a time in my life that I kept em all but I no longer feel comfortable about killing a fish that has survived for ten , twenty , thirty or more years. That fish has my respect and I feel privileged if I get to catch and release him. And if you don't agree with me as I'm sure there are many who don't then I'd just add that most fisherman will agree that the smaller fish are the best eating and that any informed fisherman will agree that bigger fish contain more contaniments , reason enough right there to eat the little guys and release the big ones to grow even bigger and to fight another day. Good fishin .
     
  15. trnsmsn

    trnsmsn New Member

    Messages:
    1,214
    State:
    Missouri Originally Now I
    We don't have enough flatheads in my area anyway, so the very few that I do catch I release.

    I might add that none of them have exceded 2lbs.
     
  16. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    rite on mr foreman! thanks for saving me some typing. lol
     
  17. catboy210

    catboy210 New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    texas
    some one told me to relese the smalls and eat the bigs they have had a good life let the smalls get biger unless the fish needs to be eaten on time i pulled in a 3 pound flathead will one fin
     
  18. billcatfish

    billcatfish New Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    State:
    evansville Ind
    all of my fish are catch an release i put them back for bigger day an hopely they will still be some aroud for my grandkids to enjoy
     
  19. s_man

    s_man New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    south east ohio
    I have to say release all flatheads, eat blues and channels. They taste like chicken.
     
  20. pk_powell

    pk_powell New Member

    Messages:
    3,485
    State:
    Missouri
    I have never had the privledge of catching a flathead or a big blue,I have a lady friend who has and she asked me if I had ever ate a flathead out of the Missouri River I said no!She said I didn't know what I was missin.They must be very tasty the way she was talking!But as of yet I have never had the privledge!:sad2: