How to Fillet Channel Catfish Quickly Without Skinning

I kill fish before I clean them.
Good luck killing a catfish. I've filleted thousands of them, and I doubt if a one of them was dead. I usually pop them in the head with a heavy metal object until they start quivering, but they still flop some. If a catfish is dead, it's probably rotten and unfit to eat.
 

Killdee

Senior Member
Good luck killing a catfish. I've filleted thousands of them, and I doubt if a one of them was dead. I usually pop them in the head with a heavy metal object until they start quivering, but they still flop some. If a catfish is dead, it's probably rotten and unfit to eat.
Have you tried just putting them in ice first? I started doing my crappie that way and they say it pulls the blood into their intestines and it does seem to work. I cleaned 7 Sunday and the only one with blood in the meat was the only one that was already dead.
 
Have you tried just putting them in ice first? I started doing my crappie that way and they say it pulls the blood into their intestines and it does seem to work. I cleaned 7 Sunday and the only one with blood in the meat was the only one that was already dead.
Yeah, but that don't work too good when you're running jugs and you have a 55 gallon barrel full of catfish maybe up to 50 lbs weight. I ain't got a cooler that big.
 

PopPop

Senior Member
Good luck killing a catfish. I've filleted thousands of them, and I doubt if a one of them was dead. I usually pop them in the head with a heavy metal object until they start quivering, but they still flop some. If a catfish is dead, it's probably rotten and unfit to eat.
Ball peen hammer, maybe they aren't dead but they are separated from their brain.
Sorry, I purposely did not pass judgement on what anyone else does.
 

Nicodemus

FREELANCE ADMINISTRATOR
Staff member
Did the backbone get thrown away? That was a nice size fish to just yield two sides and nothing else.
 
Ball peen hammer, maybe they aren't dead but they are separated from their brain.
Sorry, I purposely did not pass judgement on what anyone else does.
Yeah, I use a piece of steel pipe most of the time. It doesn't completely kill them, but it makes them easier to deal with. It's not a pleasant thought cleaning a live fish, I guess; but that catfish has probably eaten a couple thousand smaller fish while they were still alive.
 

bany

Senior Member
Did the backbone get thrown away? That was a nice size fish to just yield two sides and nothing else.
My buddy turned me on to the backs awhile ago! Delicious! He skins all of them and keeps the smaller ones whole. I filet like the video.
Like my grandaddy used to say “you don’t get no better eatn’ Than that” on those backs.
 

PopPop

Senior Member
Yeah, I use a piece of steel pipe most of the time. It doesn't completely kill them, but it makes them easier to deal with. It's not a pleasant thought cleaning a live fish, I guess; but that catfish has probably eaten a couple thousand smaller fish while they were still alive.
Now this is just me and my ways, ain't saying nuffin about nobody, but I bash their head in thoroughly and then drive it down on a board with a big nail through it, to help hold em. Like You , I have dressed thousands of them. The little ones I skin, the big ones I fillet after skinning.
I don't mind killing for the right purpose, I just make every attempt to do it as humanely as possible.
 
Now this is just me and my ways, ain't saying nuffin about nobody, but I bash their head in thoroughly and then drive it down on a board with a big nail through it, to help hold em. Like You , I have dressed thousands of them. The little ones I skin, the big ones I fillet after skinning.
I don't mind killing for the right purpose, I just make every attempt to do it as humanely as possible.
I just can't imagine having 50-60 catfish there and having to nail every one down and pre-skin them. It would take half a day to clean them. I also don't understand why you would skin one before filleting, because it only takes about a second to get the skin off the fillet after you cut it. Not arguing or saying it's wrong, just very curious why you would?
 

PopPop

Senior Member
I just can't imagine having 50-60 catfish there and having to nail every one down and pre-skin them. It would take half a day to clean them. I also don't understand why you would skin one before filleting, because it only takes about a second to get the skin off the fillet after you cut it. Not arguing, just curious why you would?
This is how I learned to do it as a boy. Now I don't trotlines, jugs or bank poles, just rod and reel, so I don't generate large volumes of fish. And I don't eat a lot of fish, to much trouble for just me and the wife unit. We do a couple of big fish frys for the family every year, so putting a dozen or so cats in the freezer every now and then usually does it.
As for nailing, I have a board with a big nail in it, place the catfish on the nail smack him with the hammer and you're done. It's pretty efficient. I don't fillet many.
 
This is how I learned to do it as a boy. Now I don't trotlines, jugs or bank poles, just rod and reel, so I don't generate large volumes of fish. And I don't eat a lot of fish, to much trouble for just me and the wife unit. We do a couple of big fish frys for the family every year, so putting a dozen or so cats in the freezer every now and then usually does it.
As for nailing, I have a board with a big nail in it, place the catfish on the nail smack him with the hammer and you're done. It's pretty efficient. I don't fillet many.
Yeah, that's the way dad cleaned them, too. And wound up usually chunking catfish back so he wouldn't have to clean 'em. When I filleted one the first time without going through the nail 'em and peel 'em routine, it was like the heavens opened, a light shone down, and angels sang. I still skin the little sqealers, but I would never peel a bigger catfish again if you paid me.
 
I use heavy duty hand primers and before putting them in the cooler I cut the side and top spike fins off. This keeps them from sticking into each other in the cooler and are easier to clean with fins gone. I also use electric knife.
 
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