How to Grab a Catfish Properly and Safely

How to Grab a Catfish Properly and Safely | Catfishing Tips

Today’s topic is How to Grab a Catfish. I have seen many people who were jabbed by a catfish because they didn’t know how to handle it. This can be very dangerous especially for the newbies. If you don’t want to have a bad fishing experience with the catfish, here is a simple fishing guide that will teach you how to grab the fish easily.

It’s important that you read this guide because of the following reasons. First it will help you to inspect the catch after a successful fishing experience, and lastly, it will keep you safe while you fish.

Nonetheless, holding catfish is never simple.  So, let’s learn how to grab a catfish properly right away.

What You Must Know: Before Grabbing The Catfish?

Fishing Method

Yes, this is a major factor to consider. How you fish for your catfish will determine the right steps to follow when it is time to handle the catfish. The line and hook fisherman have to unhook their catch. But if they are going for one kill, they don’t need to remove the hook until the fish is completely out of breath.

Watch The Fins

Catfish are very slippery. It has three fins. Two fins are on the sides while one fin is on top of the fish. The fins have very sharp spikes which also pose a prickly danger. That’s why you should handle the fish with a lot of care.

In addition to all these, the catfish spikes are also very venomous. Single jab will be very painful and could even lead to severe swelling of the hand.


Apart from the fins is the size of the fish. This one also plays a major role. It is important that beforehand you choose the right method for grabbing your catfish, you determine its size. The various methods to grab catfish remain purely dependent on the size of the catfish.

Smaller catfish are very easy to grab with a single hand. Nonetheless, they are likely to also squirm when you grab them. The smaller catfish also have sharp spikes, so watch them.  

Confidence Level

If you have finally decided to hold a catfish, then you must ensure that your hands are steady enough for the job. I have seen people grab the catfish and let it loose midair or before they secure it properly.

This can be quite dangerous and could lead to an easy jab. Here is the simple reason why you should have your confidence levels up. Once you grab a catfish, don’t give it any room for squirming at all.

Remember the fish is very slippery. Meaning that’s any room that you give it to squirm could leave you with a spiked hand. Just ensure that you maintain a firm grip. Position your fingers in a strategic manner.

Extended Spines

Once a catfish had been removed from its natural habitat which is water, the spines will extend naturally. Therefore, be very wise and maintain enough distance with the spikes. If you do that, you will find out that removing the hook out of the catfish mouth becomes very easy.

NOTE: Once the catfish extends its fins, they never coil backward.

The Catfish Teeth

Finally, check out for the teeth. Catfish have very small saw-like teeth. The teeth rarely bite. Nonetheless, you should be very careful since an erratic bit could easily break a bone. As you hold the fish, don’t be afraid, but remain cautious.

How To Hold A Catfish: Methods

With the basic tips at the back of our minds, it is time to learn how to hold a catfish. Here are the best methods to go by.

Holding on Flat Surface

This is the most common method. However, it needs so much accuracy and also precision. First, you should worry about the dorsal spikes and also the side fins. They can easily spike your hands if you don’t get the grip right.

And unlike many guys who are often afraid of the whiskers; don’t be. The whiskers of a catfish are used for smell. They don’t bite and neither do they spike.

Now, to get this method right, here is what you should do. Make sure that you flip the catfish over and then wrap it around using your hands. To wrap it, make sure that you place all fingers on each side of the side fin. Then put your thumb under the remaining fin.

TIP: Always maintain a firm grip. This will prevent catfish from squirming. For larger fish, use all your hands.

Holding The Catfish Mouth

This next method is usually used when removing the catfish from its hook. To do this properly, hold the fish using the fishing string. At the same time grab the tail.

Remember, the fish must be kept far enough and that the fins do not prick your body or the skin.

Now grab on the tail and make your hold stable. This should prevent it from squirming around. Remember the fish is really slippery so you must be very careful.

With the tail firmly held; find its pectoral fin and rest your hand on it. Reach your fishing hook to unhook the fish.

Holding with Hands Covered

If your confidence levels are still low, the best way to grab this fish is with your hands covered. Wear gloves and wrap a thick towel around your hands and hold the fish flat on the surface. Once the fish is properly held, you can remove the hook.

How to Grab a Catfish Properly and Safely


I hope after reading the full article, now you know how to grab a catfish properly. Use any of the methods I have mentioned above. But remember, it’s not a contest; so better be safe. This fish is a slipper and comes with very dangerous spiked fins. The way you handle it is therefore very important.

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