This guide shows you how to use a catfish flipper to unhook gafftop and hardhead catfish without touching them or sliming up your boat.
Here in Louisiana we love our speckled trout fishing catching but, especially when using live (or dead) shrimp, we end up catching unintended species.
These unintentional catches are so-called "trash fish" like gafftopsail catfish (also known as "sail cats" or "gafftops") and hardhead catfish.
These are saltwater catfish that no one likes to mess with because:
- They're really slimey, and will slime everything they touch.
- Venomous spines are hidden in their fins.
If you've ever been stuck by a saltwater catfish, then you know how awful that feeling is!
That's why fishermen have devised all kinds of ways to dealing with them, from using lead-core billy clubs to keep catfish from jumping around when being handled, to a special gripping technique that avoids the barbs, to using a catfish flipper.
In this guide, I'll show you how to use a catfish flipper, just like I do on my personal fishing trips.
It's really the best way to unhook saltwater catfish. Trust me.
How To Use A Catfish Flipper To Remove Hooks From Gafftop & Hardhead Catfish
This process isn't exactly rocket science, but for the sake of keeping things simple let's break it down into several steps, assuming that the offending fish is already on the line and ready to be unhooked:
Grab the leader line with your off hand.
You don't want to wrap it around your hand and – on the off chance you're grabbing braid – be careful because braid can cut your skin.
Picking up the catfish flipper with your other hand, slide the bend around the leader line so it has a snug fit on it.
Slide the catfish flipper down the leader line to the throat of the hook.
The throat is the bend in the hook.
Pull the leader line and catfish flipper tight so that they are both somewhat horizontal with the ground.
Give the catfish a little "flip", as if you are trying to cartwheel him over the line (and away) from you.
Extra Tips For Using A Catfish Flipper
Here are the finer points of using a catfish flipper so that you're always safe and look like a pro:
Do not flip the catfish towards you as it could be a really bad day on the water if he were to fly off and stick you in the face. Use common sense.
Catfish flippers with floating handles are a lifesaver.
Try to keep more than one in the boat. Remember that old adage: "Two is one and one is none." So have a backup!
On the off chance you do get stung, you want that cut cleaned up and protected ASAP! For that I recommend using this product.
Minimize catching saltwater catfish in the first place by fishing with artificial lures like jigging soft plastics for speckled trout.
What do you think?
Do you have any tips or suggestions for using a catfish flipper? Do you have a good catfish flipper story?
Share in the comments below!