Catfishing FAQ

How do I Hold a catfish??

Holding a catfish is definitely a learned skill.  There are three “spines” that can potentially sting  you.  There is one on top, at the front of the dorsal fin.  There are two on each side, leading the pectoral fins.   My favorite way to hold the fish is by putting a pectoral fin in between my pointer and middle fingers, sliding the dorsal spine back, and then placing my thumb behind the alternate pectoral fin.  The spines are just extended, pointy bones, and being so they make great “handle bars” for holding a catfish.

Do Catfish Bite?

Do you need to worry about sticking your hand inside a flathead catfish’s mouth?  Not usually….  But I would never stick my hand inside of a channel cat or blue cat’s mouth.  While Flatheads prefer to swallow things whole, Channel and Blues bite, rip, and tear into their food.  Don’t let them get ahold of your fingers!  While they do not have large teeth, they do have a strong grip.  Beware!

Do Catfish Barbs (Whiskers) Sting?

The only parts of a catfish that can sting you are the three bones protruding from the three main fins – The Dosal fin, and both pectoral fins.  The barbs, or whiskers, in front of the fish are absolutely harmless, and help the catfish sense movements and scents in the water.

Are Catfish Poisonous??

The three main types of catfish we fish for in the United States are not poisonous to eat.  They can, however, distribute a small amount of venom to you if they puncture your skin with one of their spines.  If you get poked by a spine, it will hurt and may swell up.  The old school remedy for a catfish sting is to get some slime from the bottom of the fish, and rub it on the wound.  I am no medical expert, so take that advice sparingly!!!  But that is a very commonly believed tale, and has worked for me personally in the past.

Can you catch Catfish by hand?

Absolutely, all though some places it is illegal.  I personally do not recommend it, because I like my hands, and don’t like to stick them into animals’ hiding places.  The practice of “Noodling” is commonplace down south, but in places like Minnesota, the practice is illegal.