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Question by boomer1. Uploaded on May 11, 2009
I fillet most of my catfish. You fillet it like any other fish. If its a big fish you have to cut around the rib cage instead of going right thru it.
To actually skin a catfish; the first thing I do is cut off the dorsal fin. Next, make a cut across the top of the catfishes head making a line from the end of the gill to the other. Take a good pair of pliers and start pulling. Once the skin is removed; you will have a V shaped piece of skin on the belly. Remove that with the pliers. Cut the head off. Cut up the belly and remove the guts. Make a cut on each side of the anal fin. Take your pliers, grab the end of the anal fin next to the tail and pull the fin off by going toward the fishes head. Cut the tail off (unless you want to eat that too; try it if you never have!).
Boomer check out this link it provides an excellent tutorial:
Well what I do is nail the fish up by the head and cut the skin around the bottom of the head then take a pair of pliers and pull down the body of the fish until the skin is removed. Once done a few times you'll get the hang of it.
Fish skinning pliers have spring loaded handles that work much better than regular pliers. They are inexpensive and sold by most tackle shops, Cabela's and Bass pro.
That was a good site Beekeeper. I used to clean about 250 channel cats an evening and I use a similar technique to clean about 3 or 4 a minute. I held them by the head, with my hand over the top of their head and locking my thumb and index finger behind the side barbs. Slice across the top of the neck with a razor (I welded the blade of a scalpel to the top of my fish skinning pliers for this as it took me to long fiddling with a knife). Grab the skin with fish skinning pliers and pull hard and fast, stripping the skin toward the tail. Unless the fish is over five pounds, you won't have to fiddle with cutting around the dorsal fin as they do in the link tutorial. The skin should pull off all around the fish and strip cleanly clear to the end of the tail and you shouldn't have to cut around the belly. If you miss a piece somewhere, grab it with the pliers and strip it off. Once the skin is off, bend the head down sharply breaking the spine. Pull the fish's body up and away from the downturned head and the belly will tear away, removing the fatty part of the belly and the entrails and leaving them attached to the head. Throw the head and entrails away and clean the inside of the catfish by running your thumb under the inside of the backbone from rear to front, scraping out the blood line as you go. I do this under running water to clean out the body cavity. Finally, grab the whole dorsal fin with your fish pliers and tear from rear to front, removing the whole dorsal fin. Drop the cleaned fish into a plastic bag filled with water tail and all. Once you have a meal's worth, seal the bag up and freeze the catfish in the water so they stay fresh and won't freezer burn. Once you get used to this, you should be able to finish one in about 10 seconds or so. A little practice required to get the skin to strip off completely. You need to pull hard and straight back toward the tail. Good luck and enjoy those tasty catfish.
It's really helpful to find someone who's good at it and watch them. If you get real good, you can throw the body back in the water and the fish will "swim off". I didn't believe this til I saw an old-timer do it @ the marina. I've since been able to accomplish it twice, and that's out of LOTS of tries.
As you may have discovered, There is more than one way to skin a cat! I have tried a few of the previously mentioned methods and they all seem to work well. It really depends on the resources available at the time.
I dont catfish much but i usually cut around the head, then cut a line down the back and stomach then take needle nose pliers and peel it off, then fillet like a bass minus running down the scales with the knife.
cut right behind the fish's head all the way around but dont cut it off. Then take some pliers and pull the skin to the tail on both sides. After that take your fillet knife and start at the top of the fish and run down the backbone on both sides. Dont get the meat off of the ribs its bitter. When u have done that stick ur knife down the top of the fillet to the ribs and cut back toward the tail. It takes practice to be perfect though good luck.
Great link Beekeeper and + 1 for you sir!!!
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