Two of my sons had already been out fishing early on the fourth of July. They came up empty that morning. But, our lake has a lot of panfish – bluegill, crappie, and pumpkin seed to name a few. All have been caught and released over the last few days. We also have large and smallmouth bass and bullheads. No one wants to catch bullhead – ugly bottom feeders with whiskers and all, but we do. Those are always released and almost never touched by our hands because they are slimy in the absence of scales. We do another technique to release the hook and throw the fish back in the lake and we use it without harming the fish.
Nothing caught was big enough to keep so the bets started flying around regarding the bullheads. This included one such as “if you catch one, I’ll fillet, and fry it, but you have to try it,” so said our adult guest!
My youngest son has to be “tricked” into eating fish – even at the young adult age of 18. Astonishingly, he agreed to try a piece of this unsavory looking fish. By the time ten o’clock rolled around on the evening of the fourth, the kids had six brown bullheads in the “keeper” on the dock.
Yesterday, July 5th, our guest filleted the bullheads and fried them up with a little flour and garlic. Since we never cooked the fish we caught, we did not have a lot of other things available in our pantry.
But, my son tried the fish! And, so did my husband, me and his two brothers. The young son of our guest family ate four pieces! I ate two. I think everyone else had one piece. There were ten pieces and nine of us. Two members of the guest family did not partake in the bullhead trials.
Bullheads are catfish. We caught and ate brown bullheads, according to a book we have at the cabin and Minnesota DNR. The meat wasn’t bad. It wasn’t “fishy” but was “soft.” It, supposedly, is a typical soft/mushy catfish flesh. There are several restaurants in our area that serve catfish – so close to the Mississippi River – and many freshwater lakes, this makes sense.
I’m not sure we’ll eat them again, but it was a good experience for all, especially my youngest who did not even have to be “tricked” this time! He knew he was eating a very ugly fish that he helped to catch! I guess he’s growing up!