Saltwater Catfish

Plotosus lineatus is the only true Catfish that occurs in marine waters.

The Saltwater Catfish, Plotosus lineatus, is in fact a true Catfish species that originates from the Indo-Pacific. These fish are bottom-feeders andscavengers and are also called coral catfish.

Juvenile specimens display elegant horizontal white stripes across their dark bodies, but this coloration fades with maturity, as does their schoaling tendencies.

Breeding details are vague for this species. They make a burrow-like nest in which they lay their eggs. The males care for the young.

This catfish should not be confused with their brackish or freshwater cousins. They require a very high salinity level, around 1.023 per 65 gallons. They can grow up to 12" or more in length, and the max weight for one is around 3 pounds. They are in the Plotosidae family.

The fish demands respect through its poisonous spines on the dorsal and anal fins. Care should be taken when handling Saltwater Catfish.

This fish are a very common catch, espesially just a few miles offshore when surf fishing. Always wear a thick-soled pair of shoes when unhooking one, and a heavy glove isn't a bad thing to have around.

This best way to unhook one of these is first-

1. Don't pick it up, if you're in a boat simply reel him onto your deck, if you're surf fishing, bring him out of the water into thick sand if possible. This will limit his movement.

2. Make sure he is on his belly. Set your foot gently on his head, and carefully slide your foot back towards his tail until you pin down that nasty 4" spine.

3. Grip the hook firmly, then push it back into his mouth. You should hear the cartilage 'pop' as the barb comes out of his mouth. Then once it is loose (it sometimes takes some wiggling) pull it straight out.

4. These bad boys can sometimes get gut-hooked. This is when they swallow the hook. If this happens the best you can do is yank the hook, and hope not to kill him. You can cut the line, but this isn't fair to the catfish who has to live with a hook in his belly for the rest of his life.

Cat"fish` (?), n. Zool.

A name given in the United States to various species of siluroid fishes; as, the yellow cat (Amiurus natalis); the bind cat (Gronias nigrilabrus); the mud cat (Pilodictic oilwaris), the stone cat (Noturus flavus); the sea cat (Arius felis), etc. This name is also sometimes applied to the wolf fish. See Bullhead.


© Webster 1913.

[Editor's note 6/8/2002 (Gz): changed "Bullhrad", apparently an original scanning error, to "Bullhead".]

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