WHAT IS A CATFISH?
Above all else, catfish are famous for their droopy whiskers! Predominately freshwater, they come in a range of sizes throughout the world. The Mekong variety for example can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) and almost 500 lbs (227 kg) in size. In general this fish prefers to live inland or close to the coast in shallow waters. American versions are also known as mud cats (since they’re bottom feeders). This is also why they have a flat head and few teeth. It allows catfish to more easily probe through soil and suck prey into their mouth via suction. However farm-raised ones are grain-fed. This gives them a milder and sweeter flavor then their wild cousins. But even domestic catfish flesh has a firm texture much like trout.
WHERE DO CATFISH COME FROM?
This successful garbageman of the sea has evolved to account for over 6% of all vertebrate life on earth. Originally like other fish they had scales and teeth, but evolved over 37 million years to not only lose these scales but become incredibly tolerant of low water quality and resistant to various infections that scales help prevent. Instead some varieties have skin coated in mucus (which also lowers water friction) or bony, armored plates.
WHEN ARE CATFISH IN SEASON?
The Spring is the best time to fish for them. Warmer waters cause this fish to become more energetic. At the same time coming off a long winter period of dormancy, they’re also starving and more likely to eat your bait.
WHAT IS CATFISHING?
This is the practice of creating a false identity to lure someone else into a relationship. While the popular conception is that it makes it easier to steal money, that’s not the only motivation. Romantic fraud is often listed as a reason. It’s also a popular approach for people targeting specific victims for abuse.
ARE CATFISH ONE OF THE DIRTY DOZEN (MERCURY)?
No, they are not. This fish, feeding at the bottom of the food chain, is actually among the lowest in mercury contamination. They have around the same amount as salmon.