Ask any old-timer how to skin a catfish and he/she will probably tell you to nail the sucker to a tree and tear its skin off with a pliers. Am I right? Been there, done that myself. But with the current generations being more genteel, here is the ‘modern’ rendition of the above.
Grab a 3 foot length of 2×6 from the shop and place it on a flat surface. Using a sharp knife, score the skin all the way around the head, just in front of the catfish’s gill plates. Make a second slit all the way down the fish’s back.
Make a second trip to the shop and grab a hammer and a 16-penny nail. Drive the nail through the cat’s head into the 2×6 and cut off the dorsal fin. Make a third trip to the shop and grab a pair of pliers. Brace the board holding the fish (with its tail toward you) against your waist, or somehow holding the board steady, grasp the skin with the pliers and pull it down to the tail and off the fish.
Remove the fish from the board. Grasping the head in one hand and the body in the other, bend the head sharply downward toward the ground (floor) to break the fish’s spine. Bending the body upward, twist to separate the head from the body. After opening the body with your knife, remove any remaining viscera (guts and organs) and rinse well with plenty of clean water.
Any fish over a 4 pounder and you’ll need a cleaver to remove the head instead of the ‘bend and twist’ method. Oh, by the way, if you’re well-organized and grab every thing you’ll need from the shop the first time, you’ll save some steps and time.
Keep your fork