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How To Clean Catfish After A Catch

Jun 18, 2008
Some people believe that skinning catfish is more difficult than cleaning other types of fish, but once you get the hang of it, you will be surprised at how much easier it really can be! Catfish don't have scales, but have a quite tough skin, so it is different from scaling other types of fish, but with a little bit of instruction and know how, you will have the catfish sizzling in the pan in no time at all.

Here are some things that will help you to get started:

Find yourself a relatively long, flat board that is untreated and clean.
Usually a one by 12 about a yard long works well unless you are catching monster cats, in which case you will need a bigger surface.
You will need a hammer A long, sturdy nail
A very sharp fillet knife (dull knives cause more accidents than sharp knives ever could)
An extra sturdy butcher knife (for cutting through bones and such),
And a pair of strong pliers (consider purchasing special catfish skinning pliers in sporting goods sections if you are going to catch catfish on a regular basis.

You will need to be sure the fish is dead before you begin cleaning it. You could be hurt trying to clean a live fish, and it is just not humane. You can do this in a variety of ways, but most anglers simply bash the fish on the head with their hammer.

Once you have made sure the fish is not alove, just drive the nail into the wrong side of the board, until the nail is flush, so that you can attach the fish to the board by driving the head into the nail point. Some anglers actually nail this board to the wall or the table, so that it is held secure when the skin is being pulled from the body of the catfish.

Next, just behind the gills, cut through skin on the catfish's body. Gut the fish, being careful not to pierce any of the internal organs inside the fish.

Grasp the fins, one by one, with the pliers and hold on to them as you cut them away from the body of the fish.

Push or hammer the fish head onto the nail between the eyes, and be sure to have the head turned upwards.

Cut the skin down the very center of the back.

Use your pliers to pull the skin in a downward motion until you reach the tail.
Use your butcher knife to chop off the tail and head of the fish, and discard them.

Next, just fillet the fish, beginning at the tail, cutting upward along the backbone until you get to the rib area.

At the ribs cut from the top of the fish down, letting the knife follow the ribs. Repeat on the other side.Always use extreme caution when using these sharp knives. Using non slip rubber gloves can be a good way to add some stability to the process.
About the Author
Dan Eggertsen is a fishing researcher and enthusiast who is committed to providing the best catfish fishing information possible. Get more information on cleaning catfish here: http://www.askcatfishfishing.com/
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