Proper way to hold a catfish

Any fisherman worth their salt will know that actually keeping hold of their catches can be way more difficult than it might seem! 

Fish are both literal and metaphorical slippery rascals, often escaping the clutches of their captors after being caught. This might not be so bad for smaller, common fish, but for bigger and more impressive catches- especially those that have taken hours upon hours of time to catch- losing grip can be incredibly frustrating for expert and novice fishermen alike. 

Proper way to hold a catfish
Proper way to hold a catfish

Catfish are certainly an impressive catch for fishing fans, but they can be quite hard to keep a hold of, and they can bite, so you need to take extra care when handling them. 

With this in mind, we are going to be looking at how to keep a good hold of a catfish without getting bitten! Let’s get started.

What Is A Catfish?

A catfish is an animal belonging to the order Siluriformes, which includes all members of the family Ictaluridae (most of which are also called “catfish” and “bullheads”).

They are found throughout almost every part of the world, with the largest species of catfish being the Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) which can grow up to 2 meters long and weighs around 15kgs. 

Other large catfish include the African Lungfish (Protopterus annectens), the Giant Bullhead (Cobitis elongatoides), the Redbelly Drum (Pseudorasbora parva), the Tiger Bass (Lophiosilurus tigrinus) and the Chinese Sturgeon (Acipenser sinensis).

There are many other small species too, including the blue catfish (Plotosus Bimaculatus), black catfish (Clarias Gariepinus), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss).

Though generally considered to be bottom feeders, some species of catfish such as the redbelly drum spend most of their time near the surface. Some species of catfish are even able to breathe air while submerged. 

Most species live in freshwater habitats, but some fish can survive in brackish water or even marine environments. The most famous catfish is actually called the Ocean Sunfish (mola mola). It was first documented swimming over 700 miles from the North Sea to the French coast.

This particular fish is carnivorous and feeds mainly off small invertebrates and plant life. Some species are omnivorous and eat a variety of foods. For example, the Redbelly Drum feeds on algae and detritus matter, whereas the giant bullhead feeds mainly on insects, worms, and crustaceans.

How to Catch a Catfish

How to Catch a Catfish

Proper way to hold a catfish is by using an angling rod with a heavy sinker attached to it. You want to use an angled sinker so that a catfish won’t just swim away.

A sinking tip should range from 1 to 3 millimeters thick. Make sure that you use a heavy sink tip line when using a light rod. It’s important to choose a sinking line because otherwise, you could miss your catch if the fish jumps out of the water.

Next, you’ll need some bait! You can use one of two bait types: live bait and artificial baits. Live bait is usually preferred for catching large catfish, whereas artificial baits are usually used for catching small ones. Artificial bait comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, such as plastic, rubber, foam, and wood. 

Catfish Sizes

There are three main categories of catfish based on size: small, medium, and large, with every category containing several subcategories depending on how big the fish is.

Small Catfish 

These include the common carps (Cyprinus carpio), the grass carp (Ctenopharyngodonidella), the silver carp(Hypophthalmichthys Molitrix), the black carps (Mylossoma dybowskii), the white perch(Morone americana) and channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus). These are the smallest fish and range in length from five centimeters to ten centimeters.

Medium Catfish 

These include the blue catfish (plotosus spp.), yellow catfish (pangasius hypophthalmus), striped catfish (pseudoplatystoma corruscus), golden shiner (notemigonus crysoleu­cas), green sunfish (lepomis cyanellus), flathead catfish (ariopsis felis), rock beauty (holocentropus rufous) and fathead minnow (pimephales promelas). They all have a maximum length of around 15 cm, but some may grow up to 20 cm long.

Large Catfish

These include the giant bullhead (Amurine nebulosus), American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula), Asian swamp eel (Moenkhausia sanctaefilum), African lungfish (Proto­terus annectens), and Australian barramundi. Some of these large catfish grow to be over 40 cm long.

Holding A Catfish

If you’ve caught a catfish, the first thing you should do is hold it (obviously!!) Holding a catfish isn’t too different from holding any other fish. To start, you need to grab hold of the head of the fish first. Use your thumb and first finger to pinch the gill slits together so that they won’t bleed. 

Next, put your index finger under its jawline, and gently pull it upwards towards your palm. Finally, press down on the fish’s mouth with your thumb and push firmly on the fish’s back. Don’t worry if it takes a few tries before the fish let’s go. Just keep pushing until it does!

If you’re trying to get rid of a catfish that has already been caught, you need to remove the hook from its mouth. To do this, grab the line between your thumb (the one closest to the hook) and index finger (the one farthest from the hook).

Slowly pull the hook away from the mouth of the fish. Once you’ve removed your finger from the fish’s mouth, you can let it go free!

If you’re using live bait, make sure you don’t drop it in the water before releasing the catch. Instead, wait until after the fish has swum away before tossing it back into the water again.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, catfishing can be a great hobby to indulge in if you’re a fan of fishing!. It allows people to get outdoors and enjoy nature while also providing them with some great exercise.

Take heed of our instructions on how to hold a catfish to make sure that you don’t injure yourself- or get bitten- so that you can have the best possible time whilst fishing or catfishing!

Jacob Beasley
Latest posts by Jacob Beasley (see all)