About Spoonbill Catfish

Spoonbill catfish are commonly known as the American Paddlefish. Interestingly, rumors also exist regarding the meat of this fish. Some people say the meat is not edible while others say only the white meat should be consumed. The truth is that both the white and dark meat can be eaten although most people have a personal preference for one or the other.

Resource: Best Catfish Bait

History of Spoonbill Catfish

One of the interesting facts about the spoonbill catfish is that it is prehistoric but still very much a part of the current age. Because this species of catfish eats plankton, trying to catch one with a lure would be ineffective. While this fish can be found in many different areas, it is common in the Ozarks of Missouri and in fact, the fish can grow extremely large, one particular record holder weighing in at 128 pounds!

The spoonbill catfish shares features of the traditional catfish but for this species, three bones separated by a soft area are located just beneath the snout. Spoonbill catfish are unique in that as they swim, they take in water, which is why some people refer to them as “filter feeders”. This process is to filter out the small pieces of plankton and various organisms so they end up with a nice meal.

Because of this unique feature of the spoonbill catfish, catching one is much different from any other fish, even other catfish species. To be successful, they need to be hooked in the soft spots between the bones. As mentioned, you cannot attract this catfish with lures or even live baits.

How to Catch Spoonbill Catfish?

The only way to be effective in catching the spoonbill catfish is by snagging them. A trotline with deep hooks dipped in used motor oil or anise works but if not carefully watched, the fish end up snagged on the hooks and die. Therefore, the best method for catching spoonbill catfish is to use strong tackle.

Use the following:

  • 10/0 to 6/0 treble hooks
  • 80 to 40 pound test line
  • 12 to 8 foot of heavy surf rod
  • 6 ounce weights
  • Heavy duty saltwater spinning reel or star drag reel

In addition to using the right equipment, you can improve your chance of snagging spoonbill catfish by knowing how to snag properly. Always look for this species of fish in catfish rich waters, which can be researched online, through parks and recreation officials, or by talking to locals. Remember that you need to check your state rules in that they vary from one state to another.

Regulations on Spoonbill Catfish

The information has circulated for years that fishing for this catfish is illegal but this is nothing more than a rumor. The spoonbill catfish is off limit in some states but in other states, fishing is fine. In fact, some states allow you to keep live fish of this species. No matter, regulations are strict. For instance, states that allow the spoonbill catfish to be caught or kept have limitations as to the number at any given time. Therefore, researching your state laws is crucial.