There are more than 3000 species of catfish distributed throughout the world in different types of waters that vary from freshwater to saltwater.
Fishing for catfish can have different goals. Some fish them with the aim of practicing and improving their fishing skills; others do it during catfishing tournaments and many others for the simple reason of taking them home, cutting them, and preparing delicious dishes.
Considering this last point, many people are unaware of the taste of all catfish. Obviously, that is something normal that, as we have said, there are more than 3000 species, and it is practically impossible to eat and savor them all.
However, the three most common types of catfish known to most anglers are the channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish. The bullhead catfish is also popular and desired by many anglers.
As is normal to think, each of these species has different characteristics, be it in size, color or flavor. In the same way, not all of them live in the same waters, and that is an important factor that can considerably influence the taste and texture of these fish.
Factors That Influence the Taste of Catfish
As we have just said, one of the most important factors that can influence the taste and texture of catfish is the water in which they live. All catfish that live in freshwater will taste better than those that live in saltier and muddier waters.
The size of the catfish is another factor that we must consider since it also affects the flavor of these fish. It is important that you know that smaller catfish generally tend to taste better than those that are larger. That is mainly due to the poison content they can have in their meat. Also, when a catfish ages, its meat deteriorates and becomes very soft.
What is the Best?
Catfish comes in two varieties: wild-caught and farmed, each with its own distinct flavor. Wild-caught catfish from ponds, lakes, and rivers have a bland, muddy flavor. Farmed catfish are raised in commercial farms. When cooked, this type has a sweet and mild flavor, as well as juicy and rich meat.
Although many fishermen consider the flavor of flathead catfish as the best, most people prefer to eat channel catfish because its flavor is mild and more similar to trout, and it can be easily obtained in many places, unlike the flathead.
These fish (channels) usually have an incredible flavor due to the places where they usually live, which is where freshwater is abundant. Normally, these places are not very polluted. That doesn’t mean we can’t find channel catfish in muddy waters, which is common and gives catfish a muddy taste.
Generally, the texture of channel catfish, when fried, is fairly firm. It’s flaky, but not so much that it falls apart in your hand. This mildly flavored flesh could be given a lot of seasoning.
Blue catfish, on the other hand, are comparable to channel catfish. Although the meat is a little bigger than usual, it is still insanely delicious.
Remember that the most significant influences on flavor are nutrition and habitat. A mud-free version of the channel catfish is the blue catfish. It has a light flavor and a flaky texture, but it’s not quite as muddy as the other.
We can almost say that these two types of catfish are the best to eat. However, the flathead catfish has an unbeatable flavor, according to many people. The problem lies in its size and its accessibility.
As we have said before, the larger catfish tend to have a less pleasant taste than the smaller ones. Flatheads tend to reach large sizes that cause their flavor to deteriorate over time compared to those that are smaller. Fortunately, you can eat them when they have not yet reached their maximum size, and you can enjoy their spectacular flavor.
It is also true that many flatheads can live in certain rivers where pollution and mud predominate. That is why it is important not only to know where to fish the flathead but also how to clean it correctly so that it tastes incredible when cooking.
Why are we talking about fishing a flathead? This is because, unlike the channel catfish and blue catfish, which we can buy in many stores, it is difficult to find a place where they sell flathead meat. For that reason, fishermen who want to consume this species of catfish will have to go fishing for it on their own.
What about the Bullhead Catfish?
According to the bulk of the population who has consumed catfish, many of them agree that the Flathead Catfish is the most delectable, as we previously stated.
It is also true that many people have described the flavor of bullhead as exquisite, and many have stated that it is worth capturing. The flesh of this species is very sweet, which is pleasant to our taste senses.