Catfish is one of the most popular freshwater fish. As such, it’s likely that you’ll need to handle it every now and then. For experienced anglers, knowing how to hold a catfish isn’t always a problem. But for people that have never done this before, it can be hard to get used to it.
Besides, there’s always this belief that handling a catfish is dangerous. Some people think that the fish has some stingers or that the whiskers on the head are poisonous somehow. Well, this isn’t true.
Catfishes are safe to handle but nonetheless, these beliefs may also create some psychological barriers.
How to Hold a Catfish Properly
If you’re sitting there asking, how do you hold a catfish from below, then there are some things you need to know.
The best way to do this is to strongly grip the fish around its upper body just behind the pectoral fin. This will allow you to avoid the dangerous dorsal fin. Besides, holding the fish tightly around the pectoral fin keeps your hands away from the spine.
So, even if the fish were to wriggle violently, the spine is still far away from your hands, something that protects you from any possible punctures. In fact, the spine is perhaps the most dangerous part of the catfish.
When most people ask if catfish sting, what they are mostly worried about is the sharp spine that can painfully puncture your skin if you don’t handle it with care. The spikes can also feel like a sting if they puncture your skin. This is probably why a lot of people fear the catfish or pangasius sting. But it’s not an actual sting.
Also, it’s important to note that the spikes contain a certain hemolytic toxin that prevents your blood from clotting. Although this isn’t a life-threatening toxin, it will make you bleed a lot. In some cases, the toxin may also lead to swelling around the injured area but all in all, it’s nothing to worry about.
Just as a pro tip, always use both your hands. One hand should strongly grasp the fish below the belly with the thumb slightly behind the pectoral fin. The other hand should go behind the opposite fin. Holding the fish with both hands makes it easier for you to handle it and avoid any injuries.
How to Hold a Catfish by the Mouth?
It’s possible to hold a catfish from above after catching it with your catfish reel. In fact, any decent guide should have this option explained in detail. The trick here is to neatly place the end of the dorsal fin between your forefinger and your thumb.
This should give you a firm grip on the fish and besides, it also means that the spine will be well away from your hands. You could still hold the fish from in front of the spine too.
But this isn’t recommended because there’s always the risk your hands could slide down the spine, causing cuts or punctures to your skin.
How to Hold a Big Catfish?
Some catfishes can be huge and heavy. In fact, they can go as high as 100 pounds in weight. So, you need some better techniques to hold them right.
The good thing about large fish is that there’s a lot of space to grab so that your hands are as far away from the spine as possible.
But you’ll still need a lot of strength and both hands as well. Also, big catfishes tend to have huge mouths and can bite if you’re not careful when removing the hook.
Although catfishes don’t have dangerous or toxic teeth, a bite can still be quite painful. There’s also no knowing what kind of bacteria the fish has so if you can avoid the mouth, do it.
Learning how to hold a catfish is very important for beginner anglers. This won’t only make your fishing experience better but will also help you avoid serious injuries in the long run.