And now we come to the catfish, the homeliest fish that inhabits our fresh waters, but highly esteemed by many anglers nevertheless, and generally regarded as a good food fish if we forget out prejudice and let some other person dress and cook him.
The common bullhead or homed pout has a wide distribution, being found over all parts of the eastern half of the United States, and I understand also in parts of the West. It sometimes, though rarely, reaches a length of eighteen inches and a weight of four pounds. The usual length is from ten to fourteen inches. It is an ugly fish, having a very large flat head, a large mouth, with long streamers or barbels hanging from the jaws. It has no scales, but a tough, shiny skin like an eel. The anal fin is very large, and the pectoral fins (behind the gills) have stout, sharp spines, which make ugly wounds, and the "cat" can use them much as a boxer uses his fists. The color is brown on the back, shading to yellow on the sides and light beneath.
The bullhead loves quiet, deep water, where the bottom is muddy and he thrives best there. He seems to be more at home in warm water than in cool, and you will find him active and enjoying life when all of the other fishes are seeking the cool waters and will not take bait. But your catfish is ever eager to take any bait that is offered to him, providing that you put it down where he can get it without rising, for though he is not particular what he eats he does not like any unnecessary exertion on his part.
Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.
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