Can You Eat Saltwater Catfish?

The reason behind running back and forth and doubting the edibility of catfish is the bad reputation of some specific species. Many fishing experts and fishermen have already marked these fishes as troublemakers.

Now, the question is, can you eat saltwater catfish? The short answer is yes. They’re edible. But they need to be washed and processed properly. Especially the glands on the dorsal and pectoral fins which are highly venomous. So, you need to get rid of that first.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the edibility of the fishes, catching maneuvers, cooking procedures, and the reason behind its’ toxic image. Once you finished reading this article, we recommend having a quick look at Echo Base Fly Rod Review.

Related Blog: Can You Eat Sunfish? Read here

Is It Safe To Eat Saltwater Catfish?

Now, a question might be lingering in your mind, “are saltwater catfish poisonous?” Saltwater catfish is safe to eat.

Is It Safe To Eat Saltwater Catfish?

Even though the fish is edible, certain parts of it are highly poisonous and need to be washed properly. The dorsal and pectoral fins behind the head of the fish can hurt you. So, be sure to remove them.

Moreover, there are some poisonous glands near those fins. Those glands contains toxic material that is capable to reduce blood circulation. But when it is properly cleaned, cut, and cooked, it is completely safe to eat.

Are saltwater Catfish Dangerous?

There is a myth among people that only saltwater catfish are notorious and considered a water monster.

Well, this is partly true. Not only saltwater catfish but also freshwater catfish can be deadly. But why are saltwater catfish dangerous?

Primarily, Cory catfish is a calm dweller of the water. But there are two common saltwater catfish species – sail catfish and hardhead catfish which are infamous for stinging. But they do not sting people now and then.

Are saltwater Catfish Dangerous?

These two species live near the shore in the sea. Sometimes deep in the mud or sand. So people do not notice them easily.

Saltwater catfish have a comparatively hard body. They have three bony and sharp spines. Whenever they are threatened, they release those spines and cause injury to the enemy.

Moreover, there is some poisonous gland in the dorsal and pectoral fins of this sea dweller. This poison block blood supply to the tissue and ultimately causes tissue necrosis.

These two fishes are sensitive to any kind of vibration in water. So when you get into the water for bathing they become alert.

And out of self-protection, they stung you. Most people do not notice the hidden catfish in the sand. They step on the fish and get stung on their foot.

Some fisherman put their hand deep in the catfish hole. So they are more prone to get stung o their hands.

But with definite protective measures, you will be okay with this fish swimming beside you when you are bathing in the water.

How to Catch Saltwater Catfish?

Saltwater catfish is a bit slimy. So they are hard to catch with bare hands. Moreover, there is a risk of getting stung by its sting apparatus. This causes excruciating pain. But it is not difficult to get a grip of this notorious fish.

How to Catch Saltwater Catfish?


  • Squid to use as a bait
  • Saltwater rod
  • Saltwater reel
  • Thick rubber gloves
  • Safety boots
  • Buckets
  • Hooks

#Fishing Technique-1

  • If you want to bag some saltwater catfish sitting on your boat, you will need a 7-8” long saltwater fishing rod. You will get a good grip and better control over the fish with this length.
  • Start by alluring those notorious water creatures with squids. And the set two-three fishing rods in the water. Hardhead catfish reside mainly near the shore. So there is a huge change to catch them setting trap there.
  • Once the fish takes the bait, you will feel a vibration on the reel. Start pulling the reel firmly and quickly.
  • After you pull the fish on the boat, don’t use your hand to unhook the fish. Instead, wear hand gloves before unhooking the fish. This will save you from getting stung and coming in contact with deadly venoms in their fins.
  • Collect the fish in a half water-filled bucket.

#Fishing technique-2

  • This is a primitive method to catch saltwater catfish. Anglers mainly target those hidden catfish under the mud or sand near the seashore.
  • You should put on thick rubber gloves and safety boots at first. Then put your hand in the catfish hole. The catfish bites the gloves are that is when you have to pull your hands out.
  • Well, this procedure is a bit risky and not an ideal procedure for unprofessional anglers.

Do Saltwater Catfish Taste Good?

If you scroll through those YouTube videos, you will see that this fish is considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. But, do saltwater catfish taste good? If you are new to this, you might not like it initially.

The flesh is orangey and a bit chewy. This might not be an ideal fish for sushi!

Do Saltwater Catfish Taste Good?

In the past, people believed that catfish were toxic as they reside in the mud. They were given a common name-“trash or garbage fish” by the local people.

So they do not have fame and taste as salmons in the market. But thanks to some mukbangers! They tried catfish with other sea fishes to encourage people to try them.

Some Saltwater Catfish Recipes

Why are saltwater catfish bad to eat? Well, the answer depends on personal preference. But if you still ask for the opinion, our answer will be – the fish tastes good if you know how to cook it.

Some Saltwater Catfish Recipes

#Recipe-1: Deep-Fried Sea Catfish Fry

This is a very basic and easy-to-cook dish. It is an ideal dish to serve both as an evening snack and at dinner. Let’s get a quick glimpse of the recipe.


  • 1-2 pound sail catfish fillet
  • 1 teaspoon basic seasoning power
  • Half of a lime
  • Fish breading
  • Olive oil to fry
  • Mustard sauce
  • Mayonnaise


  • After cleaning the fish fillet, cut it into small portions and take it in a bowl.
  • Add half a lime to the fish to help to denature the meat.
  • Marinate the fish with one teaspoon of basic fish seasoning and salt.
  • Cover the bowl with a plastic sheet and wait for 10-20 minutes.
  • Coat all the fish slices in cornmeal-based fish fillet coating.
  • Then deep fry the fish until they are golden brown.
  • And for the sauce, you can serve a basic mayonnaise-mustard combination or anything you prefer.

#Recipe-2: golden grilled catfish with BBQ sauce

Next, we have a grilled fish recipe for those who don’t like fish curry. This will take only 30-35 minutes to be ready for serving. So without any delay let’s dig deep into the recipe.


  • 2-3 pounds sail or hardhead catfish filler
  • Grounded black or white pepper.
  • Quarter cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Butter
  • Basic fish seasoning
  • Salt
  • BBQ sauce


  • Start by preparing the grill with hot coal. And then clean the fillet with clean water. Don’t forget to remove the spines if there are any.
  • Add a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce, back pepper, and fish seasoning mix in a small bowl.
  • Add the mixture to the fillets and wait for 10-15 minutes for the flavor to infuse into the fish.
  • Place the marinated fish on the heated grill. And grill for a few minutes.
  • Do not forget to brush butter and BBQ sauce when needed and flip the fillet.
  • Run the procedure until it is well cooked. Serve with garlic bread or any rice dish.

Final Words

Starting with the same question again, “can you eat saltwater catfish? Honestly, you won’t regret it if you get out of the stigma and give it a try. Even if it’s not something that will win your heart, it’s not that horrible at all.

Other than that, the fish is edible if you can get rid of the venomous parts and cook properly. By the way, we hope you have learned a lot about whether saltwater catfish is edible or not. Thanks for reading!

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