How To Clean A Catfish

I just started catching catfish, but I’ve never cleaned them before. Do you have any tips to make it easier?

Here’s the deal on catfish – Easy to catch, a little tough sometimes to reel in, hard as heck to clean. The reason for this is that catfish are not scaly like other fish. They have skin. This means that you have to go about cleaning them differently than other fish. It’s not so much that catfish are hard to clean, as that it’s just different. Once you get it down, it’s simple. So, here’s how you go about it: The first thing to do is peel off the skin. Make a cut at the base of its head, so the head and body are separated. Then, you’ll need to peel off the skin, starting from the head down to the tail. Sounds easy enough, right? The trouble is, catfish are slippery. This means that you’ll need to have a really good grip on the head in order to peel off the skin. One thing that makes it easier is if you boil the catfish for a few minutes first. Big catfish have thicker skin, and it may not want to come off. Boiling it softens the skin and makes it easier to slip off. Now to make a good cut so you get all the meat in tact. Make a cut down from the neck right along the spine. Don’t cut the spine, but go right along with it. You may be cutting some rib bones as you go, but that’s no problem. Work your way down to the tail, then do the same thing on the other side. Once you’re finished, cut out the rib bones. Be careful to keep the belly in tact, because that’s where the best meat is.


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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