Two of the most highly sought-after freshwater catfish in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are the bullhead catfish and channel catfish. Catfish have a similar appearance, and therefore it is challenging to determine the difference between bullheads and channel cats. However, here are the key differences between bullhead and channel catfish.

What Is A Bullhead Catfish

First off, the question is frequently asked is a bullhead a catfish? The answer is yes, a bullhead is part of the catfish family.

There are four varieties of bullhead catfish that live in freshwater throughout the southeastern United States, but catfishing in North Carolina is supreme. These include the black bullhead, white bullhead, yellow bullhead often called the yellow belly catfish, and brown bullhead. 

How To Identify A Bullhead Catfish

Depending on the variety of bullhead, the coloration can range between yellow, black, tan, and brown. A distinct marking that is easily recognizable is the rounded tail. Lastly, the teeth are small.

Are Bullhead Catfish Good To Eat

The meat of a filleted bullhead is pink in coloration. People often ask can you eat bullhead catfish because they appear unedible however bullhead catfish, is, in fact, delicious to eat. 

Bullhead caught from dark-colored waters tend to have a muddy taste and are referred to as mud catfish, whereas those harvested from clear water are better eating. When it comes to the texture, bullhead catfish are moist and meaty when they are not overcooked.

Anglers who are focusing their attention on bullhead to eat, the best tasting fish will come from clear water rivers and lakes compared to muddy waterways. Lastly, no taste difference is noticed between the different types of bullheads including the yellow bullhead catfish, black bullhead catfish, white bullhead catfish, and brown bullhead catfish.

How Big Do Bullhead Catfish Get

The average-sized bullhead measures ten inches in length and weighs between one pound and two pounds. However, bullhead exceeds seventeen inches and tops five pounds. Be prepared for a tussle when an oversized bullhead catfish is at the end of the line. 

What Is A Channel Catfish

Anglers who are looking for channel catfish focus their attention on clear rivers and streams. Channel catfish prefer clear water that flows however they are also common in reservoirs and ponds so they are widely distributed in freshwater.

How To Identify A Channel Catfish

The channel catfish has a significantly different appearance to that of the bullhead. Unlike the bullhead, they are equipped with a deeply forked tail. In addition, the coloration at the top of the fish is olive and fades to silver from the midline down. Lastly, along the sides are black dots sprinkled across the silver skin. 

How Big Do Channel Catfish Get

The averaged sized channel cat measures between twelve and sixteen inches. At this length, the average weight is from two to four pounds. Small channel catfish are considered the best eating when compared to large channel catfish.

Unlike the bullhead catfish, the catfish grow significantly larger. The channel catfish exceeds fifty inches and tops the scale at over 50 pounds. Be prepared with stout gear when targeting them as opposed to the much smaller bullhead catfish. 

Are Channel Catfish Good To Eat

Channel catfish are so good to eat that they are grown commercially in fish farms. However, wild channel cats are readily caught fresh for a delicious dinner.

When asked are channel catfish good to eat the answer is yes because the fillets are sweet, mild, moist, and firm. The channel catfish is a top choice for anglers and visitors to seafood markets when preparing fresh fish meals.

The flesh is nutritious, white, and tender. As a result, the meat can be cooked in various ways, including catfish nuggets, grilled catfish, or broiled catfish.

When comparing a channel catfish vs bullhead, the channel catfish is leaner and therefore the fillets are not as thick. However, a channel catfish will yield more meat because they grow larger in size.

What Is The Best Bait For Bullhead Catfish And Channel Catfish

No matter if you are seeking bullhead or channel catfish, both species lurk deep in the water column on the bed of the body of water. 

When presenting baits, ensure that they reach the bottom where the fish are dwelling. When the baits are in the incorrect portion of the water column, the likelihood of strikes from catfish is reduced.

The most popular baits utilized by catfishermen include shad, stink baits, worms, and even chicken. Secure any of these baits to the hook and send it deep to the bottom. Allow the bait to soak on the bottom and pay close attention to the tip of the rod.

When a catfish bites the bait, allow the fish to eat the before setting the hook. Pull the catfish away from the bottom and use a net to bring it in the boat or on the land.

Head Out Fishing Now That You Can Identify The Difference

Channel catfish vs. bullhead catfish are easily distinguishable; therefore, you will not be confused between the two species. While the channel catfish is bigger in size, either put up great fights. Fortunately, both the channel catfish and bullhead catfish are widely distributed in the fresh bodies of water through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina so finding them will be a simple task. Check the local regulations when planning to harvest catfish for dinner.