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Caught my first catfish!
#1
Went out on the Potomac Saturday night to try my hand fishing for catfish.

Used chunks of rotten pork spleens as bait on #4 circle hooks and 20 lb mono leader.

I had set up a number of poles against the rail on the pier and headed to my car to get a lantern as it was getting dark.  I had the pier all to myself as no one else was fishing.

As I was coming back to the pier, I got close enough to see my most pricey fishing setup (an 11 foot heavy surf rod) violently get yanked over the rail and into the water.  I tried casting to see if I could snag it without success.  Oh well.  I'll keep fishing with what I got.

The next couple hours was pretty dead, no nibbles.

I decided to pick up an move to another part of the pier, about 30 feet away.

I made a cast about 30 feet out and started to reel in the slack.  Hmmm.  I just felt a tug on the line.  I reeled it in a bit, but did not feel any more resistance, or telltale jiggling.  As my rig got closer to the pier, I felt some resistance and pulled up another line.

As I grabbed the line, I felt it jerk... fish on!  It splashed near the pier about 10 feet to my left.  What's more, the line that I had snagged was red monofilament... the same line I had on my surf rod!!

So, holding line with the fish on my left, I pulled in the line on my right.  I pulled in about 30 feet of line before the tip of my surf rod broke the water!

I hoisted my rod over the rail and untalngled the rig from my second rod.  Then I started to reel in the line from my newly returned surf rod.

The catfish broke the surface, but was not fighting much.  I think it was just tired of circling around trying to free itself from my surf rod.

I tried hauling it up, but it was putting a big bend in my surf rod.  I reached for my net.  Ahhh!  handle was too short to reach the water!

OK.  I carefully lifted the cat over the rail and dropped it on the deck with a thud!

I think it was about 5 to 6 pounds of Blue catfish.
   

I poked it in the gills to bleed it out and left it on the pier deck, so the blood could drip into the water.  Fished another two hours without a nibble.

An MP and a civilian Post Police officer came by to check out the water as I was packing up.  They shined their lights to help me fillet the fish.

I got two nice slabs of meat and trimmed some good sized nuggets.  They told me to just toss the carcass onto the shore and the raccoons and Eagles would get it.

That catfish was laiden with roe, but I didn't want to harvest it.  I had to do some research first to see if it was any good to eat.  I know American Gar roe is poisonous to humans.  Nt sure about catfish roe.

I trimmed the two main fillets to a total of four smaller (but still sizable) portions and fried everything up for breakfast.  There was still a lot left over for lunch!

   

The meat was firm, white, flaky and NOT muddy in any way.  I think I'll try catfishing again soon!
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#2
Helz yes. Cat slabs are great. Such an easy fish to filet!


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#3
(04-20-2020, 02:48 PM)BOW4UM Wrote: Helz yes. Cat slabs are great. Such an easy fish to filet!


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Yea, but I coulda got more meat off that catfish.  I guess I did OK for first time filetting one.  I had several factors working against me.

1) My wife did not want me cleaning the fish in the house, so I decided to do it at the pirer.

2)  I forgot my regular filet knife and just grabbed the 4 inch Rapala that I use for deboning trout.

3)  I had two cops hovering over me each pushing their own way to skin a catfish.  And me, I did not have my Ft. Belvoir fishing license and VA fishing license on me (left them in my other wallet, though I did have .pdf files of each license in my phone.)

4) ... and at 10:30 PM.  I just wanted to get outta there and go home!

They both admired how sharp the Rapala was in cutting thru the catfish skin.  I did not cut all the way to the tail, so at least two 4 inch fingers of meat were left there.  And a couple fingers worth of meat left on the side by the ribs.  I did take the bottom, belly flap of meat which was really good!

I used a commercially packaged "Lousianna style" fish breading mix which was mostly cornmeal and some spices.  I added a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour because I found he breading did not stick too well to the fish without it.  The fish was marinated in a half bottle of Frank's Red Hot.  All fried in canola oil. Mmmm.
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#4
Catfish are on top of my favorite fish list. The smaller 3 lbs to 5 lbs are choice for me. Cloudy days or nights, 1st two hours of incoming tide or 1 st two hours of outgoing tide are my preferred time. Congrats on getting your gear back.
                  
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#5
congrats. and dang, that meal looks delicious!
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#6
Blue and channel cats are great; gafftops not so much!
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#7
My grandpa tough me to keep them live, then hang them in a tree and cut their tails off to bleed out. They flop around real well like that and the meat will get nice and white.

He then skinned them and then filleted. That makes for some great, clean, tasty catfish.


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