John's Journal...

Secrets of the World’s Best Catfishermen

Quick Catfish-Cleaning Secrets and Favorite Baits and a video “How to Cook Catfish”

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Every catfisherman has his own strategy for finding and catching numbers of big catfish. We talked with five catfishermen to learn catfishing tactics that consistently will produce large cats on major river systems.

James “Bo” Morris of Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, has won a number of catfish cleaning contests by cleaning a cat ready for the skillet in 14 seconds. “I have cleaned a cat in 10.98 seconds before,” Morris explains. To clean a cat quickly, Bo Morris:Click to enlarge
* makes a cut on either side of the catfish’s head just deep enough to enable him to grab the skin with his catfish pliers;
* makes a cut behind the cat’s dorsal fin, bringing the knife forward and down, which not only cuts the fin but also helps to break the neck of the cat;
* lays down his knife, picks-up his skinning pliers, pulls the skin of the catfish on one side of the head back to about halfway down the body, turns the catfish over and repeats the process;
* turns the catfish back to the first side he’s started skinning on, grabs the skin halfway down the body and with one quick jerk, jerks the skin off the cat;
* turns the catfish over, grabs the skin and pulls it off quickly, if any skin remains; and then
* breaks the head away from the catfish’s body and uses his knife to rake out any remaining entrails.

Bo Morris, who can clean about 200 pounds of catfish an hour, mentions that, “My grandfather had a fish market when I was a boy. I started skinning and cleaning cats when I was 7-years old.” Morris has fished commercially for catfish all his life. In an average week, Morris will catch and clean about 600 pounds of cats.Click to enlarge

Bo’s Baits
Because Morris catfishes every day and earns his living from the cats he catches from the Tennessee River, he has to know what baits produce best at different times of the year. Here’s a list of his favorites.
Early-Summer Baits: “Cut shad is my favorite.”
Mid-Summer Baits: “Dead shad minnows seem to produce the best.”
Fall Baits: “I like grasshoppers and dead shad minnows.”
Winter Baits: “Sponge baits soaked in cheese or blood work well.”Click to enlarge
Spring Baits: “I prefer live crawfish.”

Today's Video Clip - Gary Harlan - How To Cook Your Catfish

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Check back each day this week for more about "Secrets of the World's Best Catfishermen"

Day 1: The Hole Strategy and Fresh Chicken Livers for Catching Catfish and video “Catching Catfish on Hook and Line with Gary Harlan”
Day 2: Catching Suspended Catfish with Rods and Reels and Jugs with Rick Matlock and Gary Harlan’s Video “Fishing Noodles for Catfish”
Day 3: Secrets of Big Catfish with Mississippi’s Phil King and a video with Gary Harlan “Jump Boxes for Catfish”
Day 4: Tommy and Elton Taylors’ Bottom Bumping Catfish Technique and a video with Gary Harlan “What Bait to Use for Catfish”
Day 5: Quick Catfish-Cleaning Secrets and Favorite Baits and a video “How to Cook Catfish”


Entry 562, Day 5