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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know of any tricks to clean a catfish up real quick? I can do 5 in a half-hour, which isn't terrible, but I'm used to just zippin' through bass and trout, so I was wondering why I'm having such difficulty with the cats. I heard about the trick to break their backs and peel the head back, taking the skin with it. I can't get it to work right though. What am I doing wrong?
 

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I never had any luck with that either.. I have a big nail in the tree outback with the head cut off and filed sharp. I stick the cat on it through the head after cutting just throught the skin all the way around. Then I grab the skin with pliers and pull straight down and off. The nail hold the fish for you so you can get a good grip. Regular hog nosed wire pliers grip the skin well or you can buy skinning pliers. Once it is skinned you can either fillet or cut off the head and clean out the guts....
I fillet anything that won't lay flat in a big skillet..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I heard about that technique too. The way I've been doing it keeps them nice and clean inside, and by putting a slice down the back its easy enough to skin them- once I can get a grip, that is. I'll try your way next time, maybe by combining them I'll get it done faster.
 

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Check this out....I was cleaning so many that I needed to come up with a something to help zip thru the process....which is a good thing...:D

I take a box cutter....razor blade:)....set it on the shallowest or next to it and make my cuts with it instead of a knife...zips thru like butter....

>cut around head =and aroung the dorsal fin...straight down the back to the top of tail...straight up from the belly to the tail...now you have 2 pieces of skin to pull off instead of trying for 1 solid piece..

***I leave the dorsal fin in place and remove it when I take off the head...the dorsal fin has a spine that is connected to the back bone.

>Take your knife and cut deep along the sides of the dorsal fin ..this helps for the next step..

>Once it is skinned I take the fish and put it on the edge of the cleaning table and push down on the head and it will break right off..might have to turn it over and redo ....

> then you just gut and rinse off with water and fillet those golden nuggets off the bones....:cool:


>catfish skinning pliers for about 2 bucks at Walmart are much simplier to use than regular pliers...


<*)))))>{
 

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I obviously do it weird. 1st, make sure the cat is ice cold and dead, it is a whole lot easier to clean it stiff than flopping all over and it will not bleed if it is ice cold.

Lay on side and make a cut behind the head to the backbone. Start to fillet from tail up to rib cage and anus. Take knife out and continue the cut on top down to the ribcage to the slice near the head. Pull the fillet out so you can see the rib cage and follow the ribs until you hit skin. Cut through the skin and carry cut down to where you stopped on the bottom. Now you have a fillet with the skin on.

Lay skin side down and make a very minor cut to the skin down by the tail to give you something to hold on to. Turn the knife and glide it through the fat layer, taking off the skin and most of the red flesh. Finish by taking off the rest of the red meat, which is why you don't want to bother skinning it right on the skin.

Basically the same way I do striper and any other fish that you can't just slice through the ribs. I think by starting at the tail you get a little more meat than starting with the head/ribcage area and then doing the tail, but both work. The secret is to make sure the fish is cold and preferably dead.

Works well on cats over 18", under that I don't bother with anyway
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The filleting is quick and easy, it's just the skinning that's hard, mostly because it's hard to get a grip on them. Just thought there might be an easier way to skin 'em. Thanks for the advice though.
 

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Well everybody has thier own way, and you just have to use what works for you.
I only keep 3-4 pounders to eat. I have a cleaning table at the house, and I cut around the collar and snip the spikes, then nail him to the table and rip the skin down to his tail all in one piece with skinning pliers. after that just follow along the backbone and cut off the fillets. No need to behead or gut. and like Shemstreet says they don't bleed as much when they're cold.
Good luck!
 

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The filleting is quick and easy, it's just the skinning that's hard, mostly because it's hard to get a grip on them. Just thought there might be an easier way to skin 'em. Thanks for the advice though.


Do not skin them first. Just fillet them. A bit trickier on a cat b/c of the leathery skin, at least on 10#+ cats.


Fillet them, then flip the fillet over skin-down. Pinch the tail-end of the fillet skin down onto the cutting board with your thumbnail, slide the knife in between the skin and the meat (ie, almost laying flat and parallel to the cutting board). Carefully cut with back/forth motion, cutting AWAY from your thumb where you have the fillet pinched.

Catfish skin out this way as easy as ANY other fish. I've done hundreds of them. My personal best is 100+ in 4 hours--- that's what the Santee-Cooper system in SC after two good half-nights of fishing will do to you!
 

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Pierman, I used to manage a couple of seafood markets, man, I HAD to learn how to clean them (and salmon, snapper, grouper, etc...) that way--- a little thing called "man hours" will push you toward finding the most efficient way to do things. What was really fun was the fact that I had not a single human to teach me how---- I had to figure it out myself and then teach others to do it.

Lol, my dad always ribbed me (pun intended) for filleting catfish b/c he claimed it left too much meat on the bones.
 

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mattfish,
again i concure,i was never taught myself but i always had cleaning duty,years as a slaughter house worker and a food processor in super markets teach ya the same thing find a fast easy salution,i never noticed alot of waste cleaning them like that and its as easy as filleting a trout in my books,i do all my fish the same way.
 
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Well we've figured a way to get around having to deal with the guts just going all over the place. We usually end up nailing our fish to a tree with a hammer (after making sure they're dead, we're not that mean). Then we score them with a knife and pull back the skin with some skinning clamps we found at walmart. Those things actually work way better than the needle-nose grip pliers we had before. Then we take them off the tree and fillet them right there. It keeps the guts still inside their bodies, for the most part. Sometimes you cut into the gut cavity and it sticks out a little, but not much. We've kept it clean, the area that is, so that really cuts back on time you spend on cleaning your workspace.

I hope that helps.
 

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Hi,YALL.you sure make cleaning CATFISH hard.Iwould go hungery waiting for supper,HA!HA!.it is realy easy to do.nail him to a tree cut all the way around his head,then the trick is to use a dry cotton towl to pull the skin off.hard to get started but works realy well.well good luck from N>C>
 

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I dunno man, it's awful hard to find any easier way to clean them than to fillet them with the skin ON, and then flip the fillet over and slice the skin off, with the skin on the cutting block and the knife flat on the skin--- peels right off.
 

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I`ve done it alot of ways. Mattfish has a good point though. And a good knife is the key to that. I`ve left the skin on and cooked them in foil and then you can just peel the skin off after. I do trout the same way.
This reminds me of a cool but unrelated animal cleaning. I have a buddy who will tie a deer to a tree and cut it around the neck. Then you take a golf ball and tie it in a bunch of skin on the back of their neck and skin it by tying the other end to the four wheeler.
It`s a pretty freaky thing to witness but an efficient trick.
 

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Hi,YALL.you sure make cleaning CATFISH hard.Iwould go hungery waiting for supper,HA!HA!.it is realy easy to do.nail him to a tree cut all the way around his head,then the trick is to use a dry cotton towl to pull the skin off.hard to get started but works realy well.well good luck from N>C>
Wal-Mart had these catskinner tool things for 1 or 2 dollars, and I have found no reason to quit using them. They work miracles.

I dunno man, it's awful hard to find any easier way to clean them than to fillet them with the skin ON, and then flip the fillet over and slice the skin off, with the skin on the cutting block and the knife flat on the skin--- peels right off.
True, but I've found that by doing that you risk cutting off some meat in the process. We have actually gotten to the point where we've had 18 fish caught, so we weren't trying to skin them all... there had to be a faster way. Apparently, that way is to prepare and grill them up with the skin on it (it adds some flavor too!) and the skin just falls off the meat when everything's said and done. Haven't gotten sick, haven't had a belly ache from doing it. However, it only works with grilling. Not so much frying. I mean, I've fried with the skin on it, and personally, I don't think it's that good.
 
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