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Old 10-23-2008, 10:39 AM   #1
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Anyone ever fillet a Flathead Catfish? (Squeamish folks need not read)

I caught my first one a couple of nights ago, a little over 7 lbs. I started cleaning it in my usual way, by using my hatchet to cut off the tail, then hanging the fish from a tree in my front yard to let it bleed out. After the fish died, I started to fillet it. I quickly noticed that even though the fish is "dead", the muscle tissue would clench right where I was cutting. Ok, that's a little odd......

Then I noticed that the ribs are a little different. They go back further along the body, but don't curve back towards each other like most fish. I did notice that the "belly meat" is a LOT thicker than in other catfish, and I've heard of a lot of the folks that fish for these things save the belly meat, so I cut that out and saved it.

Now, I've got to cook the stuff. I'm looking forward to that. I've heard that flathead meat is the best-tasting of all catfish, as they go for live prey almost exclusively.

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Old 10-23-2008, 11:05 AM   #2
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Did someone say Catfish?? Allen I have caught, cleaned/fileted/steaked many, many Flatheads...A.K.A. Yellow Cat, Opelous, Shovelhead, Goujon, to mention a few. I don't do the "tail cut off" routine just hangum up...skin...cut the heads off...and go from there. Muscle twitching?? Yeah buddy!! I've cleaned, and cooked them right on the river bank...muscles still twitching...That's Fresh fish!!!!! The belly meat is a little thicker, and is delicious with the texture being somewhat different than the rest of the fish. It can be cooked right along with the other meat in your recipes, or saved for something all on it's own. The fish is "good eats" in part due to, like you said...mostly a live baitfish diet. The size of the fish does not affect flavor like other catfish species. I've eaten them 30+ pounds with no noticeable difference in flavor from a 7 pounder.

Oops!! I forgot...If you filet both sides..do not throw away the back bone...fried, but not over cooked the meat will slip right off the bones, and is pure delight...The meat closest to the bone is the sweetest!!

Enjoy!!!
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:23 AM   #3
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As soon as I saw the title, I knew it was an Uncle Bob question - HI UB
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adillo303 View Post
As soon as I saw the title, I knew it was an Uncle Bob question - HI UB
Greetings from "Missipi"
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:58 AM   #5
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I'll take a piece of backbone!
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:03 PM   #6
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Yes, indeed, this question was aimed at UB. UB, thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, the backbone is gone. I'll remember that for next time.

I knew turtle meat would act like this, but wasn't expecting Flathead to react that way. I was half-expecting to have a really P.O.'ed, good-sized fish trying to flop around on my kitchen counter.
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:24 PM   #7
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Don't ever go frog giggin...Ya sprinkle a little salt on the legs, and they will go crazy!!! Jump out of the frying pan!!!
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Old 10-23-2008, 08:19 PM   #8
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You have to cut the tendons so they won't do that. My grandma fried lots of frog legs.
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:58 AM   #9
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I'd heard about the frog's legs doing that. I've also heard that rattlesnake will try to crawl out of the pan during cooking. It's all about muscle contraction as the protein coagulates during cooking.

UB, I live next to a small lake. I've seriously thought about frog gigging, or at least catching some to use for catfish bait. There's a couple small ponds next to the "Halfway House" at the golf course I work at, and they're loaded with bullfrogs.
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:39 PM   #10
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I dont got much experience with fish since I dont really like them, especially just catching them and doing the whole process, but love butchering them in a kitchen. Got a question though, for halibut when butchering we cut parts or the belly meat off around the front as theres a lot of parasites in spots, you can see them when you cut it off crawling around in there. I know we didnt have to do that with butchering salmon though. Those are the only 2 fish Ive butchered, so I was wondering if it was just certain types of fish no matter what classification they are that have those spots with a lot of parasites, all fish, or is it different for the 2 classifications for flat fish like halibut and round fish like salmon how much parasites and what type? Dont know if anyone will be able to answer, just something I remembered I didnt ask when learning this.
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