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How to Hold a Catfish Without Getting Stung

Catfish have 3 spines on their body that you want to avoid. One on each pectoral fin (sides), and another on their dorsal fin (back). These spines aren’t poisonous on the common trophy catfish including blue, bullhead, or channel catfish but on smaller catfish that you often find in creeks can be poisonous.

You still want to avoid these spins regardless if their poisonous or not because of they can contain bacteria which stings very bad if they stab you. Smaller catfish will have sharper spines. As they age and grow their spines will start to dull out.

How to Handle Catfish

To safely handle a catfish you want to grab them directly behind their pectoral fin. This spot isn’t soft like most of their body so you can get a solid grip on them. You can grab them from either from the top or the bottom. I prefer grabbing from the bottom to help support their weight.

Your second hand can help support and secure the tail once you have it unhooked.

How to Lip a Catfish

You can lip a catfish by placing your finger in their mouths and adding pressure with your thumb on the outside of their lower jaw. You have to be careful when lipping a catfish because sometimes they will bite you. Their bites aren’t super painful but they don’t feel great either.

With the techniques shown above you will be able to safely hold a catfish without having to worry about getting stung. Ensure you have a strong hold on the fish before attempting to remove any hooks.

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