The Other Catfish…..

There is a pond i fish at regulary and there is a few catfish in it and i was wondering what kind they are because no one seems to know exactly n just call it a mudcat or a whallercat. The fish are about half a pound and are yellow on bottom n black/dark dark brown on top. thank you for any help you have to offer.

What you are catching is most likely Brown Bullhead Catfish (Ameiurus nebulosus). They have a flat tail, which seperates them from most other catfishes, which have forked tails. All except the Flathead Catfish (Pylodictis olivaris), which also has a flat tail. In fact, many people confuse small Flatheads for Bullheads. The way to tell the difference is to look at the mouth. A Flatheads lower jaw protudes beyond the upper, giving it a ‘pouty’ expression. A bullhead’s jaws are of equal length. Other differences are that Flatheads are exclusively live fish-eaters, while bullheads happily munch away on anything that might have been part of an animal anytime in the last 2 centuries. Bullheads do not let a little ‘ripeness’ spoil their banquet. In fact, they seem to appreciate a certain amount of aromatic character in their food. They feed by smell, the smellier the better. Flatheads prefer moving water, while bullheads are almost always found in sluggish backwaters, and slow moving streams. They can tolerate brackish water quite well, and will thrive in places that are unihabitable to any other species except maybe carp. The upper size limit for bullheads is probably around 8 pounds, with 2 pounders not uncommon. The average-sized fish will usually be around 1/2 pound, or so. Bullheads make excellent table-fare, and are a highly under-used resource. While they may be eclipsed by their more famous cousins, the Blue, Channel, and Flathead catfishes, Bullheads have several things going for them. They are delicious, easy to find, easy to catch, there are plenty of them, and creel limits are usually very liberal for them. The easiest way to catch them is with a plain old cane pole, and some stink bait. Just dunk the bait around cover, and you will soon find bullheads. Other good baits are dead minnows (especially if they’ve been dead for a while…), spoiled meat from the ‘fridge (old hot dogs are great), old chicken livers and live night crawlers. Cut bait works good too, especially if you let it ‘age’ in the sun a bit. Happy Fishing.


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

One Response to “The Other Catfish…..”

  1. doug adkins says:

    Another way to identify a flat head is to look at the tooth pad on the top lip. A flat head’s upper tooth pad will extend back in it’s mouth more on the corners. On the bull head the pad will be more of a rectangle, with the outer corners being square.

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