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Your Guide To Catfish Cleaning

Aug 15, 2008
Many anglers who have not got a lot of experience with catfishing believe that it is terribly difficult to clean a catfish, but the opposite is actually true.

Once you get the hang of it, cleaning catfish is really quite easy. Depending on the size of the fish you will need to clean, you will need the following:

A 1x12 board about three feet in length
A super sharp fillet knife. DULL knives cause cuts!
A pair of regular pliers
A clean cloth
A Large Ten Penny nail
A hammer
A catfish

Use your hammer to drive your nail through your board, and flip the board where the nail point is on the top, point side outward. Some people actually nail this board to the side of a tree, fence post, or barn. Others just lay it on a sturdy, flat surface.

There are two fins on the top of your catfish. The one just behind the head of the catfish is the dorsal fin. The one near the tail, on the top of the fish is the adipose fin. Begin by making a single, long cut from just behind the adipose fin along the back, down toward the head of the fish to the dorsal fin. Once you reach the dorsal fin, change the angle of your cut so that you can begin cutting downward, all the way down the backbone, then slide your knife from the fish.

Break the backbone of the catfish, by grabbing the head of the fish with one hand and the body of the fish with the other, and apply just enough force to break the bone but not enough to remove it from the body.

Insert your finger into the fish, reaching over the backbone so your finger in firmly in the rib cage, so that you have a very firm grip on the fish body. Pull the fish head toward the tail of the fish using a hand to hold it firmly. The skin itself will be firmly attached to the head, and if you pull steadily and slowly, you should be able to pull the skin from the fish in one single piece.

Lay the fish on the side. Make a fillet cut to separate the meat from the side of the catfish from the bone. This is best done when you lie the knife almost flatly against the body of the fish. Cut all the way through until you have a single piece of boneless catfish meat from one side of the fish, flip it over and repeat the process on that side. You should have two fillets for each fish.

Another option is to use a board, a nail, and pliers. Drive your nail through your board so that the point of the nail is on the working side of the board near the top of it. Hammer the head of your fish onto the nail. Making a shallow cut around the head of the fish, nearthe dorsal fin. Grasp the edge of the skin with the pliers and gently but firmly begin to steadily and slowly peel the skin downward and off the fish until you get to the tail.
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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