How to hold a catfish Properly? [A Complete Guide]

Handling a catfish can be challenging if you don’t know the proper technique. Although a catfish does not sting, it can surely hurt you if you are not paying close attention to how you touch it. Many people want to know how to hold a catfish and avoid getting stung. Thus, this article will shed light on this matter and teach you about the proper technique of holding a catfish.

The Anatomy of the Catfish

Anatomy of a catfishYou should know that all the different species of catfish have the same anatomy. Although there are slight differences in the physical makeup of some species of catfish. The three main things that you need to worry about are whiskers, dorsal fin and the pectoral fin of a catfish. First of all, you need to keep in mind that the whiskers of a catfish are harmless.

There is a common misconception that catfish whiskers can sting you which is absolutely false. These whiskers are very soft to the touch and pliable at the same time. Thus, touching a catfish whisker is no different that touching a cat’s whiskers. So, if you touch the whiskers of a catfish, it is not going to hurt you.

The parts of catfish that will actually sting you are the pectoral and dorsal fins. The location of these fins are behind the head of a catfish, at each side as well as on top of the fish. If you try to touch the fins from behind, it will feel soft. But if you touch it in the front, it will hurt you. This is because there is a hard spine that is located throughout the entire lining of the fin. These fins have sharp and pointy tips which can cause you discomfort.

These spines don’t have the power to sting you, unless your skin is punctured by them. So merely touching them won’t hurt you. The spines in the pectoral and dorsal fins have venom inside them which releases toxins in your body. This venom is the reason why you feel like you are being stung by a catfish.

Once the skin is punctured, it causes swelling known as edema and a hemolytic reaction. Hemolytic means that it will cause an increased amount of blood flow in the injured location. Smaller catfish have more pointy tips which can puncture the skin while older catfish have dull spines. Older ones have blunt tips while the younger ones have tips like a needle. Thus, you should practice more caution while handling younger catfish.

How To Hold a Catfish?

How to hold a catfishCatfish that are small and tiny are the ones that can potentially hurt you the most. When a catfish grows to 16 or 18 inches, their spines and tips become blunt. So, a larger catfish will have a lower risk of causing you pain and discomfort.

Once a catfish reaches the weight of 2 or more pounds, it becomes less of a liability. Thus, these large catfish should not be of much concern to you and you can handle them with no worries. The risk of injury increases once you try to release the catfish from the hook. Initially, you will need to catch the catfish.

Once it is caught, the moment you try to keep it in the icebox and that is when it can sting you. There are two main techniques that you can employ while handling a catfish:

  • If it is a small catfish: You should hold the smaller ones from the top. You have to place your hand directly behind the pectoral and dorsal spines. As the spines are in the front, holding it from the back is the preferred method. This technique only works on smaller catfish as it can be difficult to hold larger ones with the same approach. Remember to keep the area between your forefingers and thumb should be resting behind the pectoral and the dorsal spine.
  • If it is a medium sized catfish: Usually catfish that range from 2 to 8 pounds are considered to be of medium size. The technique mentioned above is adequate to handle catfish of this size. It is fairly easy to handle them until it becomes so large that it gets to handle by hand. For catfish of a larger size, you can use the “lip-grip” to handle them in an efficient manner.
  • If it is a big catfish: You will find it extremely rare that people get stung by big catfish. This is due to their blunt spines. You can use scoop a big catfish and then utilize lip grips to handle them during the landing phase. It is highly advisable to catch and then release a big catfish. Practice caution while sticking your hand inside a big catfish’s mouth. This is because a big catfish has sharp teeth which are often more hazardous than their pointy fins!

What should you do when you get stung by a Catfish?

What should you do when you get stung by a CatfishEven after practicing caution, it is possible to still get stung by a catfish. Once that happens, you need to clean the wound immediately and apply an antiseptic cream to the wounded area. After that you should cover the wound with a dressing so that the wound does not come in contact with the surrounding air. This is a basic first aid tip, but people may forget during the heat of the moment.

Another unorthodox treatment is known as the belly slime treatment. This is what most fishermen do when they get stung by a catfish. You should rub the wound on the catfish’s belly as this will immediately stop the feeling of stinging. You can do this by rubbing the puncture on the catfish’s belly. Perform this action for roughly 10 to 15 seconds and then you will experience less pain after that. Once the pain stops, use an antiseptic cream and cover the affected area with a clean dressing.

There are certain risks associated while handling a catfish. The smaller the catfish, the higher the risk. But once you follow all the tips listed in this article, you will be safe from any catfish stings.

If you are interested to learn more about Muskie eating. Then you may read “Can You Eat Muskie?“. Hope this post will help you a lot. And yes if you have any question about his post you can comment here. Thanks

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