How To Fillet A Catfish

How would you react if someone asked you to fillet a catfish? If you don’t know how to fillet a catfish, then you might want to keep reading.

How To Fillet A Catfish

There are many ways to prepare and eat a catfish, but filleting is the easiest, most common way.

This method involves cutting off the head, gutting the fish, removing the fins, and cleaning out the inside of the fish.

Filleting a catfish isn’t very complicated, but it does require some practice. In this article, we are going to go through how to fillet a catfish. Let’s dive right in.

Why Do You Need To Fillet A Catfish?

How to fillet a Catfish before eating is vital because it removes all of the bones that can cause indigestion or even choking.

The skin on a catfish also contains small scales that can irritate your throat when eaten raw.

When you fillet a catfish, you remove these things so that you can enjoy the taste of the meat without any problems with digestion, texture, or taste.

How To Prepare And Fillet A Catfish

How To Prepare And Fillet A Catfish

Skinning The Catfish

Before you start filleting a catfish, you need to remove its skin. There are two methods for doing this:

1) Remove the Skin Using Your Hands

The first option is to use your hands. Start by holding the catfish over a sink or bowl. Then, grab hold of the tail end and pull the skin away from the body. It should come off easily.

2) Use A Knife

The second option is to use a knife. Hold the catfish firmly against a countertop or cutting board. Then, make an incision along the backbone just behind the gills. Pull the skin back and away from the flesh.

Once the skin has been removed, you will be able to see the white muscle underneath. Now, you can begin to cut around the edges of the fish.

Preparation

Step 1: Cut Off The Head Of A Catfish

The first thing that you need to do when preparing your catfish for cooking or eating is cut off its head. You can use either a sharp knife or an electric knife.

I prefer using an electric knife because it makes quick work of the job.

To remove the head from the body of the catfish, simply make a small incision at the back of the head with the tip of your knife. Then, push the blade up into the skull until you feel resistance.

Once you have reached the top of the skull, pull down on the handle of the knife so that the blade pops out of the skull.

Once the head has been removed, you should be able to see the brain. Be careful not to touch the brain as it will get messy. Instead, grab the edge of the skull and gently lift it away from the rest of the fish.

Step 2: Remove The Guts From The Fish

Next, you need to remove the guts from the fish. Start by lifting the belly flap of the fish towards the tail.

With one hand holding the belly flap open while the other hand holds the spine, carefully slide your fingers under the skin of the belly flap. Make sure that you only take hold of the skin and leave the flesh intact.

Next, slide your fingers along the backbone until you reach the tail. Now, you just need to pull the tail toward the head. As soon as you have pulled the tail to the head, stop pulling.

The reason why you stopped pulling is that you now have access to the intestines.

You can now start to slowly pull out the intestines. It may help to place a towel underneath the catfish to catch any blood that drips onto the floor.

Once the intestines have been removed, you should find that there is still a lot of blood left in the cavity of the fish.

To clean this out, put the fish on its side and run a finger down the length of the cavity. This will allow you to scoop out the blood.

Step 3: Remove The Fins And Clean Out The Inside Of The Fish

Now that the guts have been removed, you need to remove both the fins and clean out the inside of the catfish.
Start by making a small incision at each fin.

Next, grab the fin between your thumb and index finger and twist it around so that it comes free from the body of the fish.

Once you have removed both fins, you should be able to move on to removing the gills. Grab the gill plate between your thumb and forefinger and squeeze it firmly.

If you notice that the gill plate starts to break apart, then you know that you have squeezed too hard. Just let go of the gill plate and try again.

After squeezing the gill plates, you should be able to remove them from the fish.

Finally, you need to clean out the inside of your catfish. First, wash the inside of the fish thoroughly with cold water. Then, rinse it well with hot water. Finally, pat dry with paper towels.

Step 4: Fillet the Catfish

Now that the catfish is cleaned, you are ready to how to fillet a catfish. You can either use a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut the bone-like features of the fish.

To do this, first, lay the catfish flat on a cutting board. Next, position the tip of your knife over the center of the fish’s back. Hold the knife steady and press down on the tip of the knife.

Continue pressing down until you hear a cracking sound. At this point, you should be able to make an incision straight across the top of the fish.

Continue slicing until you reach the bottom of the fish. When you come to the end of the fish, you should be able to slice off the tail.

Both the ribcage and bones lining the fin will be rid of when filleting so there is no need to debone the fish as you would with salmon.

This is because, unlike these fishes, a catfish doesn’t have large scales or small bones that need to be picked. Instead, it has a sturdy skeleton that runs in the middle and some bones lining the lower fin.

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you have learned how to fillet a catfish.

We also hope that you enjoyed learning about this type of fish and how although preparing and filleting it can be tricky, with a bit of time and practice, you’ll master it.

Follow our step-by-step instructions, and you should be on your way to eating this delicious fish in no time!

Fishing Pro at Tyger Leader
My name is Jacob Beasley and I want to be a leader for young fishermen and women who need their questions answered.

While I don’t mind having people walk up to me and ask me about fishing, it does violate an unspoken rule of fishing - leave each other alone. You might scare off my fish by walking over to me!

Also, I wanted to create a single space where newbies could come and read up for hours so that they head to their fishing spot confident and ready. You don’t want to be hovering over your phone all day trying to get answers to your questions.

So, stay and learn for a while. I hope that by the next time you go fishing, something you read on Tyger Leader will be of use.
Jacob Beasley
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