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#39648 - 05/15/02 08:26 AM Ways to skin a cat?
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 624
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
My catfish are ready for the fry pan but I don't have a clue the best way to properly skin and clean them. I have purchased a fish skinner with cutter and a hook hanger. Any instruction would be helpful.

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#39649 - 05/15/02 08:40 AM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Larry McDavid Offline
Member

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 68
Loc: Gate City, VA
Never having cleaned a catfish, I don't have a clue either. But I found a web site with instructions for filleting catfish.

Cleaning Catfish

Hope this helps,
Larry

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#39650 - 05/15/02 10:11 AM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Dave Davidson Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/22/02
Posts: 1892
Loc: Hurst & Bowie Texas
Bill, It ain't pretty because I skin them alive. First cut around them behind the head. Then, cut through the skin from the head to the tail. Next, I use a nail puller that has been dulled so they won't cut through the skin. GOOD pliers will also work. Hold the fish by the head and grab the skin with the nail puller and start pulling from the head area where you made the first cut and pull toward the tail. This can sometimes take several tries because the skin usually tears. After getting all of the skin off, hold the fish by the head and body and twist the head until it breaks loose. Pull it forward. Usually, most of the guts come out with it. Next cut off all of the fins and tail. Last, make a cut from the stomach area to the area where the head was. Clean out the rest of the guts. If you have a really large catfish, you can nail the head to a vertical board or tree. After you've done it a couple of times, it takes longer to explain it than it does to do it.

If anyone has a better way, I'd like to hear about it.

Dave

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#39651 - 05/15/02 10:33 AM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Pottsy Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/21/02
Posts: 494
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
I have always cleaned them just the way Dave describes but using the nail through the head into a tree technique for all sizes. That is the way my grandfather taught me and it makes them easier to handle. (Slippery buggers that they are).

Here is a great Catfish cooking website you all might be interested in.
Catfish Institute
_________________________
Owner/Builder of Ottawa Canada's first official off-grid home.

http://www.mygamepictures.com - Hosting your outdoor adventure, fishing, hunting and sports related pictures!

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#39652 - 05/15/02 05:13 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Flatlander Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 104
Loc: Auburn, Maine
Let me give you our version of cleaning catfish (as usual it'll be the long version):

We usually keep the catfish in a live bag for fresh cleaning in mass. If anyone is interested in how to build a live bag to hang in the water from the pier, say so, and I'll describe it.

Take fish out of bag. Hold fish belly down, dorsal fin up (grab its back and make sure he doesn't fin you. I usually hold with dorsal fin between index and middle finger) on the pier and hit it in head with a hammer. This is easier than skinning while squirming. The women generally don't like this part. Throw into 5-gallon bucket until hammer work is finished.

Next you need skinning pliers, sharp knife, and hanger. We used an old hook we bought to catch sharks in the bay. Works great! Just remember to hammer the barb flat then nail it through the eye of hook into your pier post at about your eye level. The hook we used had a 4in shank and the bell was about 1 3/4in.

Hang the fish from the lower jaw. Take knife and make two light cuts where shoulders meet the head. These cuts should angle half way down side of fish just outside of gills. This is a half cut, so just halfway. Don't cut all the way around. Also, the cut should only slice the skin. Avoid cutting into the meat. Looking at the cut should look something like an upside down V or like this ^ . Take your skinning pliers and grab the skin at the cut as it crosses the spine and pull down and off. With luck, all will come off except for the belly skin. Take fish of the hook, grab belly skin and pull back towards head.

Once skin is off, cut head off. Do this by cutting meat to the spine all the way around. Then cut into the spin partially from top. Then pull head straight back. It should break off nicely. Most of intrails should come out when you pull head off. Then make a v-cut taking the anus out, followed by a center belly cut exposing the inside ribcage. Pull all remaining disposables out.

I generally use the fillet knife at this point and go to boneless fillets. If you like cooking whole, use the skinning pliers to remove unwanted belly meat, fins, etc.

Once I'm down to my desired skinned meat, I go to the sink and wash filets. I then cut fillets to serving size if necessary. Finally, I soak in fish in a bowl of Milk in the fridge for several hours before cooking. This reduces the fishy flavor some.

I'll post the recipe if anyone wants to see it. Always use peanut oil.

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#39653 - 05/16/02 03:09 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Fishman Offline
Member

Registered: 05/08/02
Posts: 188
Loc: Waco, TX
I second Flatlander's hammer to the head approach. It reduces the chance of getting spined, and as an added bonus it's more humane for the fish.

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#39654 - 05/19/02 12:41 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Bill Duggan Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/23/02
Posts: 624
Loc: Flatrock, Ga.
Thanks Guys, Had my whole family to the pond saturday. Great time was had by all(mostly me showing off my pond). We kept about 20 catfish and with my pondbuddies help I amazed everyone with my catfish skining ability. Good eating last night, fried catfish and cheese grits! Thanks again.

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#39655 - 05/19/02 11:58 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
Lunker

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3090
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
You guys are great! What a wonderful thread. I love it.
Don't forget, Pond Boss is in the midst of collecting "Pond Recipes". We still need more, at least another hundred or so. Send us a recipe. If we use it, we'll send you a recipe book. And, with each recipe, tell us how you found it. Good stories add to great recipes.
_________________________
Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...

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#39656 - 05/20/02 12:08 AM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Bob Lusk Offline
Editor, Pond Boss Magazine
Lunker

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 3090
Loc: Whitesboro, Texas
You guys are great! What a wonderful thread. I love it.
Don't forget, Pond Boss is in the midst of collecting "Pond Recipes". We still need more, at least another hundred or so. Send us a recipe. If we use it, we'll send you a recipe book. And, with each recipe, tell us how you found it. Good stories add to great recipes.
_________________________
Teach a man to grow fish...
He can teach to catch fish...

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#39657 - 05/31/02 11:31 AM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Backwater G-Man Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/31/02
Posts: 5
Loc: Jewett, Illinois
Hey, haven't any of you southerners tried filleting catfish? The way we do it up here is with an eletric knife. Just fillet them like you would a bluegill. Start behind the gill plate and cut down to the backbone, lay your knife flat and cut along the backbone to the tail. Be sure and not cut the skin at the tail.(leave the skin with the fillet attached to the tail). With the fillet laying meat side up and skin down, lay your knife flat on the meat near the tail and then lift up on the tail. Keep your knife flat and pressed against the table so only the skin is flowing between the knife and the table. The knife should run between the meat and the skin. Once you get good at this, you won't leave any skin on the meat. Cut the rib bones out and get the grease hot.

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#39658 - 05/31/02 01:47 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Jim Offline
Member

Registered: 04/18/02
Posts: 120
Loc: Northern California
I agree with GMan, on all but very large fish it works fine and once you have mastered it, it only takes a couple of minutes per fish and you don't have to mess with all the internal goop. A good Mate on a boat will filet a fish in about 30 seconds. Get a proper filet knife and keep it sharp.

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#39659 - 06/03/02 07:10 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Flatlander Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 104
Loc: Auburn, Maine
Please G-man!!! To suggest that Southern Boys don't filet their Fish. However, It is easier to skin a cat, then filet (in my humble opinion). But to each his own.

In the process a long day running trotlines and jugging, I managed to get drunk. Which allowed me to think leaving the skins on was ok. It was a bit fishy. Don't do it.

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#39660 - 06/04/02 12:46 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Pottsy Offline
Lunker

Registered: 04/21/02
Posts: 494
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
ARGH!!! Got spined got spined!!!

Man, some of those cats can take an awful shot to the head and stay active. After a nice full weekend of fishing I have a decent eatin size cat nailed to a board... all seemed still until I made that first cut.
After the initial realization that the blood I was seeing was my own he got the bad side of a 5lb mallet.

Fish prep work can be dangerous!
_________________________
Owner/Builder of Ottawa Canada's first official off-grid home.

http://www.mygamepictures.com - Hosting your outdoor adventure, fishing, hunting and sports related pictures!

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#39661 - 06/08/03 09:17 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
harvey dupriest Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/03/02
Posts: 187
Loc: Ben Wheeler Tx.
Pottsy- I agree those cats are tough 2 hits with the hammer and some still kick & squirm have to be carefull, but it's all worth it at the table !

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#39662 - 06/08/03 09:20 PM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
harvey dupriest Offline
Lunker

Registered: 11/03/02
Posts: 187
Loc: Ben Wheeler Tx.
Forgot to mention I use an electric knife, think it's much faster & easier once you get the hang of it.

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#39663 - 06/09/03 11:43 AM Re: Ways to skin a cat?
Svoberts Offline
Lunker

Registered: 05/30/03
Posts: 336
Loc: Kremlin, OK
A Cajun in Louisiana taught me to use a stout bungee cord (old fasioned rubber kind). Hang the bungee from a large tree limb or side of a shack so the bottom hook is about eye level or just a bit higher. Hang the cat from the bottom jaw and proceed to skin like in other posts. The advantage to the bungee is that it helps with some momentum but you generally don't rip the fish off the hook. Also, you can freely turn the fish to gut it, if you choose to go that route. If you prefer to filet, you can take the fish down and lay it out on a table.

I agree, a sharp knife is a must. I've heard more severe cuts are made with a dull knife than sharp ones! If cleaning a bunch, we will sharpen knives during the process.
_________________________
Shawn


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