How to Clean Catfish

Even seasoned anglers sometimes have a hard time getting it perfect. Start off by removing the catfish’s head with either a knife or you can use a technique that gets the head and skin in one move. If you don’t know how to do it in one move you’ll want to break it down into smaller steps. After removing the head you need to take the skin off with a filet knife. This is a long skinny knife that you can fit between the meat and the skin. Start from one end and cut to the other.

Once you have the head and skin removed make sure you’ve also removed the tail. Then gut the fish from the anus to the neck. Cut about half way into the fish, not all the way through. Then take your finger, preferably your thumb, and slide it from anus to neck inside the cut. This will remove move of the insides and makes getting it prepared that much easier.

Cleaning and Cooking the Catfish
Once you have the fish all cut up you’ll have to clean it really well. In the previous step you aren’t so concerned with getting it perfect, you just need to get it mostly clean. Now you need to get it completely clean and that can be a challenge. Fish scales can be some of the most frustrating things to remove. If you take your time and do it right you’ll be able to remove all the scales without damaging the meat.

Rinse the whole fish under cool water and make sure to let your fingers and the water run with the skin and not against it. This will prevent any damage to the meat itself and help when cooking time comes. Make sure that all scales, fins and guts are removed while running it under the water and then move the fish to the cutting board.

Now all that’s left is to prepare the catfish for cooking. While the recipe is up to you, getting it ready safely is important. Raw meat carries a lot of bacteria and wearing gloves can help you from contracting anything. Keep your countertop clean and your hands as well.

Following all these rules will help you better enjoy the experience of catfish fishing. Now that you know how to clean and prepare a catfish you will want to do it every time.

Remember that not only does catching the fish take patience but so does preparing it to eat.

To get the full “How to Clean Catfish” article you’ll need to download it here.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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