Join me this week and let's discuss catching and eating an often overlooked species of catfish, the bullhead.
There are three species of bullheads, the black, brown and yellow/, black being the most prevalent.
While fishing for channel catfish that we stocked in some gravel pits near my home, I was catching two bullheads for every channel cat. Since the channel catfish needed to put on a bit more weight before they would be candidates for the fish fryer, we decided to practice catch and release with them for a few more months but those bullheads were fat I began to wonder how they would taste when fried crispy in hot cooking oil!
A call to my friend Bob Lusk, the famous fisheries biologists helped me decide."Luke, if the bullheads are in clean water and have a good food source such as the Purina Aqua Max you have been feeding, they are excellent eating, Catch a few and do a "test" fry!"
So I did! I actually skinned and then filleted several of the fish. The fillets were nice and white. I placed them in some buttermilk and Louisiana hot sauce for an hour or so, coated them with a mixture of corn mean and flour and dropped the fillets into hot oil until they were crispy. AWESOME FLAVOR! I have plans to go back with the grandkids soon and fish during during the first couple hours after sunset. It's a lot cooler then and I'm told that bullheads bite best at night. I'll bring a cooler with ice and just drop our catch in and let them chill. This way, I can clean them the next morning.
As far as bait goes, I've heard they will bite just about anything. We've use nightcrawlers and catfish stink bait with good results. I grew up calling bullheads "mud cats" and assumed they tasted like mud and ... they probability did, coming from some of the muddy stock tanks (ponds) where I fished. I've learned that bulllheads are excellent eating when you fish for them in fresh, clean water. My plan is to let those channel catfish keep eating the Purina Aqua Max and pack on some more weight while I reduce the numbers of bullheads the next few months!