Dammed Catfish!

Topsail catfish.
Topsail catfish.

There are two types of saltwater catfish common in the waters of Florida. The most common is the hard head catfish and is so common and easily caught it is often called the “tourist” fish. The other specie is the topsail catfish. It is larger, more common in the evening, a good fighting fish, and considered good eating by lots of folks.

Both fish come with a generous covering of slime and unlike freshwater cats their slime includes a venom that simply hurts like hell if you get stabbed by one of their very sharp barbs.

I’ve been poked many times but several years ago a hard head got me twice, the thumb of my right hand and deep into the palm of my left. I ended up going to the ER where the best they could do for me was have me sit by a sink and run hot tap water over the wounds to neutralize the toxin. Later I read where Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer will break down the enzyme in the toxin and if you don’t have any handy, simply urinate on the wound. The ammonia in urine works the same as Adolph’s.

What brought this to mind is even though it has been five years or more, now and then my palm, exactly where I got stuck, will begin itching and no amount of scratching will make it stop. I’m going through one of those episodes at the moment and hope it doesn’t last too long.

I had never eaten one of these catfish but the next year I caught a topsail and decided I’d get even with all saltwater cats by carving out a couple of fillets for the frying pan. It was an excellent eating fish but it will be my last. Ever since getting stabbed I’ve simply cut the line at the hook and not tempted fate. The price of a few hooks is nothing compared to what I went through and still have to contend with.

In writing about this, however, I’m now faced with the question, “If you urinated on a slab of tough beef would it become more tender?”

Leave a Reply