Catfish is a fish that is unusual in every way. It does not at all look like the inhabitants of freshwater bodies of water - it does not have either scales or a normal tail. But there is a long fleshy mustache - as many as two pairs. But the main thing why catfish is unique is its weight. The catch of specimens weighing 300 kg was recorded.
Catfish is the largest inhabitant of freshwater bodies. True, the beluga is not inferior to him in weight. But it belongs to migratory fish - it enters rivers only to spawn. Of the permanent river inhabitants, there is no som equal in weight and size. The meat of this miracle fish is unusual - it is extremely oily and tender. Various dishes are prepared from it, canned, salted and dried.
The name of the catfish in Latin is silurus glanis. Classification of common catfish:
- Class - Pisces.
- Order - Catfish (Siluriformes).
- Family - Som (Siluroidea).
- Genus - Soma (Siluridae).
- Species - Common catfish (Silurus glanis).
In the reservoirs of Russia there is common or European catfish. Belongs to the catfish family.
- Coloring is brown. Brown-green shades prevail. The belly is painted white. The color depends on the living conditions - the color can vary from light yellow to black. Among catfish, albinos are very rare.
- There is no adipose fin. The caudal fin is very short. Anal - long.
- The body is covered with mucus. There are no scales.
- The head is wide, flattened. The mouth is huge. Two large mustaches depart from it, on the chin - two more pairs of mustaches, smaller.
- The tail does not look like a fish, it is very long and flattened laterally. The length of the tail is more than 1/2 of the body.
- Eyes wide apart. Set close to the upper lip.
- The lower jaw protrudes forward. There are many small and sharp teeth in the mouth, with which catfish grind coarse food.
The size and weight of the soms is in table 1.
|5||2,5||more than 300|
Such large catfish are rare today, usually fishermen catch 10-20 kg of fish.
The largest catfish - heavier than 300 kg, were caught in the 19th century, in the Dniester and Oder rivers. The officially registered catfish weighed 306 kg. Its length was 3 m, and its approximate age is 80 years.
Common (European) catfish - a fish leading a sedentary lifestyle. Having chosen a hole for himself, he remains faithful to her all his life - he does not change his place of residence.
Catfish live in rivers and lakes throughout the European part of Russia. Except for them, perhaps, in the Arctic Ocean basin. This freshwater giant is thermophilic, therefore it is found more often in reservoirs belonging to the basins of the warm seas - the Aral, Black, Caspian and Azov. It is rare in the waters of the Baltic, and if it comes across, then it is small.
Amur catfish live in Siberian rivers, which differ from the European species in appearance - color and size. Amur catfish is not as large as European.
Most catfish are found in rivers of southern latitudes - in the Volga, Kuban, on the Don, in the Dnieper, on the Ural River. This fish is easily put up with a slight salinity of the water, so it can be found in river mouths and in the slightly salted waters of the seas.
Soma prudently kept in depth. Their large size and caution make them keep bottom. In shallow water they are uncomfortable. They are afraid of the light. Catfish is a predator hunting at night. For relaxation, he chooses the darkest and deepest places in the ponds.
Catfish live in pits where sunken logs, trees, driftwood accumulate. If the river is not deep, giants hide in beaver pits. They are looking for any recesses where you can hide. While it is light outside, the catfish lies down in its refuge - it rests and digests what it has eaten. As soon as it gets dark, the barbel goes on a hunt - someone will fall into its huge jaws.
Types of Catfish
There are about 30 families in the catfish order. But only ordinary and ictalur catfish have a characteristic “catfish” appearance. In addition to the ordinary (European) catfish, in reservoirs of Russia and the world you can find several more interesting representatives of the catfish family (Siluridae).
Soldatov's catfish (Silurus soldatovi) is a large fish without scales. Features of the species and facts from his life:
- Length - up to 3 m, weight - 80 kg and more.
- It is similar in size and color to the European catfish. The back and sides are gray-brown, with stains. The belly is bright.
- It feeds on fish, but can also swallow waterfowl.
- It usually hunts at night.
- In the fall it goes to a depth where it is mainly laid down.
- Doesn’t eat in winter.
- Matures in the 4th year of life. Lives 30 years or more.
Som Soldatova is a rare fish listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. The number of this catfish is constantly decreasing.
The habitat is the basin of the Amur River, the Ussuri River and Lake Khanka. Spawns in June-July, entering coastal thickets. Lays eggs on plants, among which the fish erects a kind of nest.
Amur catfish (Parasilurus asotus) is not afraid of brackish water. It is also called the Far East.
- In length reaches 1 m, weight - 6-8 kg.
- The head is large, wide, flattened.
- The body thins toward the tail. On the tail is a small fin.
- Body color is dark green. The belly is bright.
- The anal fin is large, almost reaching the caudal fin.
- The lower jaw protrudes forward. On the face are two pairs of mustaches.
Features of behavior and habitat:
- He likes warm waters.
- Prefers still or slow flowing water.
- In the summer, it goes into the channels, on floods and into the coastal zone.
- Falls into the autumn.
- Nest does not build.
- Hunts from ambush in the evenings and at night. The basis of nutrition is small fish, shellfish, frogs, crayfish.
Puberty - in the fourth year of life. Spawning time - end of May - first half of July. Males do not guard eggs laid on aquatic plants.
Fishers annually produce about 10 tons of Amur som. Fish is an object of sport and amateur fishing.
The habitat is the waters of Japan, China and Korea. In 1933, 22 fish-producers were launched into the waters of Primorye. Som fell into Lake Baikal and spread throughout Primorye. Belongs to valuable commercial fish. The meat is tasty, medium-fat, few bones.
Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) is a fish of the ictalurian family. Representative of catfishes of North America. The object of industrial production.
- Body length - up to 132 cm. Usually - no more than 57 cm.
- The maximum weight is 4.5-9 kg. In the history of fishing, the largest canal catfish was a specimen weighing 26 kg.
- The body is painted in dark color - bluish-olive, gray, black. The belly is bright. There are spots on the sides.
Omnivore - eats fish, shellfish, insects, small mammals. It is found in the USA, in the south of Canada, in the north of Mexico. Since 1972, channel catfish has been bred in Russia - in the Kuban. From the ponds entered the rivers of the Don and Kuban systems. Bred in the suburbs, in the Urals.
Heat-loving fish that lives in the Jordan River, reservoirs of South and Southeast Asia. It looks like an ordinary catfish. It has an elongated body, slightly flattened from the sides. The second name is Sharmut. Able to breathe atmospheric air. In addition to the gills, the African catfish has an organ pierced by blood vessels - this is a prototype of the lung, which allows the fish to survive in the air for 15-45 hours.
Common catfish lifestyle
Soma - homebody. They rarely go on long journeys. Giants do not leave their homes for decades. They sit in their pits, leaving them only to hunt. Due to its awesome appearance and size, the catfish is not capable of long-term pursuit, therefore it catches fish, attacking suddenly - from an ambush.
With the onset of spring, when floods begin, catfish leave the hatched pit. It rises upstream, enters floodplains, floodplain lakes, where it lays eggs.
About a month passes from awakening from hibernation to spawning. All this time the catfish eats a lot - makes up for the hungry winter times by eating fish and other animals, which comes across. All summer catfish actively hunts - preparing for winter.
- Swiftly break into a flock passing by, or pounce on a single fish, which has approached a sufficient distance to throw.
- A powerful flexible tail is used to stun several fish at once - if an attack is made on a flock.
- Large catfish are slow-moving - they rarely manage to catch fish. Giants have to be content with amphibians and mollusks.
- Large catfish prey on young growth. They lie with a half-opened mouth, and when the flock approaches, they draw water along with the prey.
Other features of som behavior:
- This is not to say that catfish leads a completely nocturnal lifestyle. He often "wanders" at dawn. And sometimes, during the day it appears on the surface of the water, showing its dark slippery sides.
- Soms can be seen - and not only during spawning, basking in the sun. They float to the surface and lie up belly. There is a sign that the appearance of catfish in the afternoon is a harbinger of inclement weather.
- If prolonged rains and floods occur, and the water becomes cloudy, the catfish is forced to leave its pit - he looks for a quiet backwater, leaves for places where there is no turbidity.
- Catfish hunt nightly. Instances weighing 16 and 32 kg come out of the shelters at sunset. First, the catfish circles its “nesting place” in circles, then it floats upstream - looking for prey. It happens that a hungry fish, in search of food, floats away from its pit very far. But regardless of distance, catfish always returns home in the morning.
Catfish love heat - almost all species of the catfish family come from tropical zones. Therefore, they early end an active lifestyle. Already in September, the catfish leaves for the wintering place. From October-November - depending on climatic conditions and water temperature, catfish, which fed during the summer, stop hunting.
He takes a winter in the pits. And does it before other fish. The giant plunges its flat head into silt. The asleep predator becomes completely harmless to the small fish and other living creatures that make up the barbel’s daily diet.
Maturity and spawning period
Catfish, as soon as spring begins, sets off on a journey - in search of a secluded place for spawning. Icromet begins during spring floods. With the early onset of spring, spawning begins in May. Favorable for spawning temperatures - 14-16 ° C.
Catfish have puberty in the third year of life. Fish can multiply when it reaches a weight of about 3 kg and a length of 60 cm. Fish of the same age category gather in groups. Females are looking for mating males corresponding to them in age and size.
Small males run the risk of being swallowed by females during mating season - the number of applicants is reduced.
During spawning, catfish are prohibited by law. Fine - dozens of minimum salaries and seizure of fishing equipment. The ban is set for 20 days. The ban is categorical - you can’t catch even from the shore, even one tackle.
Soma carefully select a place where you can spawn. The female lays it on aquatic plants growing in the coastal zone. Ideal conditions for spawning - a weak course, and even better its complete absence.
To lay eggs in shallow reservoirs, catfish are sent:
- in the reeds;
- on flooded meadows;
- in thickets of grass and algae.
In deep ponds, catfish are searched for whirlpools or flooded ravines.
When the female chooses the male to her liking, the couple goes to a secluded place - to spawn. Som, wielding powerful fins, prepares a pit for a nest, using tree roots and straw for this purpose. Spawning occurs at night, before the morning hours. The eggs are large and few. The number of eggs depends on the size of the female.
After fertilization, the eggs are covered with mucus, which holds them together and allows them to stay on the surface of plants or snags. Parents monitor the nest for about a week, driving away the dangerous and curious inhabitants of the reservoir. When the fry are born, the parents swim to their beloved pits. After spawning, the couple rests at great depths, without even rising for food. And only after 1-2 weeks they leave for the elderly.
What does catfish eat?
Catfish nutrition depends on its age. Catfish fry feed on:
- planktonic crustaceans;
- mosquito larvae;
- small water bugs.
Growing catfish quickly show predatory habits. Having reached a length of 4 cm, young predators begin to hunt fry of other fish. Som, growing up, begins to feed mainly on fish. An addition to his diet is:
The catfish becomes a full-fledged predator by the age of three. Having reached puberty, he continues to grow. In the diet of adult catfish there is a variety of protein foods:
- small mammals;
- large insects.
If the prey is large, catfish cannot eat it right away. Then he waits for the dead creature to begin to rot and rot. For this, catfish are often called scavengers.
Catfish will not go hungry - if there are few fish and other large lives in the pond, it devours any organic matter. If there is no ordinary food, the giant can eat ordinary bread.
The best time for fishing on the catfish is summer. To catch this fish is the dream of every fisherman. Many ways of hunting for giants have been invented. Catfish is the most coveted fishing trophy.
What you need to know when preparing for fishing:
- The rod and reel should be ten times more powerful than pike fishing gear.
- The braided cord should have a diameter of at least 0.3-0.5 mm.
- It’s almost impossible to pull the giant ashore, so a boat is needed.
- Som, “rolling” a fisherman in a boat, weakens over time. Inexperienced fishermen must remember that a duel with a catfish is life-threatening.
During fishing, the rod must be tied to a stake hammered into the ground, or to strong branches. Even fish weighing 4 kg peck very sharply, the rod instantly breaks.
It bites catfish, like any predator, on any attractive bait, but snap jig baits (silicone) show the best result.
Catfish pecks on any silicone bait:
- vibration tails;
The sinker is selected in proportion to the depth of the pit. If the depth is large, take a sinker weighing 30-40 g. The optimal size of the bait is 15-20 cm. If the catfish swallows the bait, you need a strong hook. The fisherman needs to be prepared for strong resistance.
Catfish reacts particularly well to large, unsteady spinners. The spinners have a wide surface, which does not allow slow wiring on currents. It is recommended to use spinners when fishing in pits - where there is still and still water.
Examples of suitable spinners:
- Storling 25 g. Classic version. For catfish, take a lure the size of a palm. Oscillating lure with noticeable concavity near the tee.
- Atom 20 g. It looks like a storming, but has a tapered end near the crown.
- Kuusamo Rasanen 20 g. Spoon decorated with a red ball. It moves smoothly in water.
Kwok - a device that striking its bowl-shaped part against water, makes a sound attractive to the catfish. Hearing the beat of a quock on the surface of the water, a hungry catfish rises from the depths. Quoka material is wood or composite.
Bottom tackle is the most common fishing rod for catfish. Fish is always more willing to eat natural lures. Another plus - the angler can install an unlimited number of rods. Typically, the tackle is made up of a large hook and a sinker weighing 100 g. A bait is put on the hook.
Best Catfish Bait
Catfish willingly rushes to any living creature. For a giant to become interested in bait, it must be of animal origin and be quite large. The bait must hold well on the hook, otherwise it may fly off when it hits the water. You can fix the bait on the hook with ordinary threads. Suitable lures:
- Crawling out. These are large worms - they remain alive for a long time, and move on a hook, attracting the attention of fish. 2-3 worms are immediately strung on the hook. Crawls are not interesting to small specimens; large predators will react to it. Creeps are found after rains in the dark. They appear in parks, on personal plots, crawling out of the ground to its surface.
- Bear Large insect, garden pest. In order to lure a bear, a beer bottle is buried in the garden - it should be a little bit. The neck is covered with gauze. This is one of the best lures.
- Frog. Favorite catfish treat. Frogs stay alive for a long time, move, which attracts a predator.
- Zhivets. Fish is the basis of the catfish diet. We need a fish that is familiar to the catfish, so they take it from the same reservoir in which you have to fish. Bulls, bleaches, roaches are suitable.
- Leeches They, like creeps, are strung with a bunch. They plant 3-4 pieces. Suckers are cut off at leeches so that they do not stick to the hook or the bottom.
- Cancer. Good bait if fishing is carried out on cliffs. Som is looking for just such a prey here.
- Barley. You can find this bivalve mollusk in any pond.
- Chicken liver. It is sunk before stringing.
- Locust. A few insects are left on the hook.
It is impossible to guess which bait som will like more - living or dead. Som is a foodie. We need to find an approach to it. To achieve the goal, you have to try many options.
Most fishermen, devoting a lot of time to preparing the bait, do not bait at all. But in vain. Catfish eagerly responds to delicious food. Experienced anglers argue that a good bait can significantly increase the number of bites.
The mustachioed giant, unlike other predatory fish, eats, in addition to fish, all protein living creatures. To attract catfish, you can use:
- Offal. Ground skin - pork or beef - is suitable. Catfish also will not refuse to taste the intestines, fat, meat, chicken stomachs, and other offal. In order to attract meat or offal for bait catfish, it is recommended to dry them or fry them.
- Feathers of birds. This is a cheap bait that needs to be fried a little over the fire.
- Fish oil . It is sold in pharmacies and stores. Add fat to any bait. But vegetable fats should not be added categorically - other fish will come, and the predator will begin to hunt for the fish. This will distract the catfish from bait and bait.
Soma, having realized that tasty food appears in a certain place, will return to it again and again. But leaving bait where catfish do not appear makes no sense.
Lures do not work:
- on fast rifts;
- in coastal areas.
Leave a treat you need:
- at the entrances and exits from the pits;
- in flooded snags;
- in the deep reaches.
Breeding and growing catfish
Soma is a promising species of fish for artificial breeding. Compared to other predators - pike or pikeperch, it has important advantages:
- No large ponds are needed. For feeding, there are enough pits or channels filled with water. The main thing is to provide a suitable hydrochemical regime.
- Catfish hibernate, which simplifies maintenance. There is no need to maintain and feed it in wintering ponds.
- Spawning can be carried out in wintering ponds freed after carp.
- Catfish taken for breeding can be let into water bodies - to destroy low-value fish.
- You can use for breeding ponds located near fish processing plants or slaughterhouses - to use the waste from these industries.
- Due to the wide range of nutrition, catfish eat not only fish, but also any pond animals.
Soms are bred in ponds and reservoirs, where other fish are bred. Thanks to the predator, in artificial reservoirs, fish productivity can be increased to 110 kg / ha. The predator cleans the pond from weedy fish, frogs, tadpoles.
How is a catfish farm?
The industrial catfish breeding farm has a standard capacity of 50 tons of fish per year. There are also farms of 20 and 100 tons per year. One person can serve such a farm, working 25 hours a week. Most often, on such farms breed African catfish.
The production cycle of such farms begins with the launch of fry weighing 0.1-5 g. In the farm you can grow catfish to 1 kg in just six months. Since the fish grows at different speeds, the "harvest" is collected weekly, and the caught fish is sorted by weight. Feed consumption on a catfish farm is 1 kg per 1 kg of live weight of fish.
Procurement of Manufacturers
For producers go to natural reservoirs. Harvesting is done in the autumn-winter period. For fishing of ordinary catfish, filtering tools are used. Trapping is done a year before spawning in an artificial pond.
Features procurement of catfish producers:
- Before transporting fish, it must be kept in a cage. Catfish “belches” food eaten the day before - it spoils the water and worsens the conditions of transportation.
- The most promising in terms of production of individuals aged 5-9 years. They weigh a little - up to 10 kg. It’s convenient to work with them.
It is best to use wintering carp ponds with an area of 500-700 square meters. m. Spawning carp ponds are ineffective - in them catfish caviar, being scattered over the vegetation cover, is poorly fertilized and immersed in silt, which is why it is subsequently difficult to catch larvae and young growth.
Catfish eat a lot before spawning. Before breeding, males and females are placed in a wintering pond with nests made of willow roots. Spawning substrate - nests, attached to wire circles with a diameter of 60-70 cm.
What you need to know about preparing for spawning:
- The nests are fixed with pegs, retreating 30 cm from the bottom, and 3 m from the shore.
- The optimum depth of the pond is 1 m.
- The optimum water temperature is 20-22 ° C.
- The catfish are transferred to the pond with a net. Moving is best done in the evening.
- Females and males should be equal in number.
- Females before spawning should be injected with pituitary gland of cyprinid fish - 3 mg (in 3-4 ml of saline) per 1 kg of weight.
- Spawning will begin one day after being placed in the pond. Spawning duration - 4 hours. The female lays eggs in different nests. It is important that during spawning be quiet.
Nests field end spawning get out of the water. They are put in special devices - Chalikov's devices.
The performance of the device:
- fertilization - 80-90%;
- yield of larvae - up to 80%;
- the incubation duration is 1760-1800 degrees hours.
Larvae are kept in cages where the incubation took place. Larvae are transferred to mixed food on the 4th day of birth. Growing is carried out in fry ponds. Planting rates - 300 thousand fry per 1 ha of area.
Growth rates of larvae:
- weight gain by fry per month - 2-3 g;
- survival rate - 80%.
Yearlings gain a mass of 25-30 g. About 70% of individuals survive. Yearlings are transferred to the wintering pond for the winter. Norm - 2-3 tons per 1 ha. One-year-old fish are allowed into the feeding carp pond. Norm - 100-200 units per 1 ha.
What species are grown?
In artificial ponds are grown:
- Common catfish . He is fed fresh fish - crucian carp, rudd, as well as granular compound feed for salmon. The number of catfish weighing 0.1-2 kg should not exceed 50-100 specimens per 1 ha of a pond with artificially grown fish.
- African (Clarius) catfish . Tasty and unpretentious fish. Growing fast. The cost of expensive food and heating water is about 30% of the cost - this is the only negative when growing African catfish. He needs favorable conditions - warm water, high oxygen content in the water, a suitable pH salt level. In a year, if everything is done correctly, you can grow fish up to 2 kg.
- Channel catfish. Picky, but heat-loving fish. Successfully grown in the southern regions, where at least 4 months a year, the water temperature is kept at 22 ° C.
Amur catfish is recommended as an additional object of warm-water cage cultivation. Its two-year-olds have a mass of 550-650 g. Fish productivity of cages is 94 kg per square meter. m
Economic value and fish protection statute
Catfish is a valuable commercial fish. They value meat in it - it is fatty, tasty, tender. And in the old days catfish swimming bladders and skin also went into business. Glue was made from bubbles, and “glasses” on windows were made from leather. At the beginning of the last century, the extraction of catfish from one reservoir was thousands of tons. Today, catches are an order of magnitude lower.
Uncontrolled fishing and poaching have led to a widespread reduction in cattle stock. Today, in many reservoirs where catfish were found in abundance, it has become a rarity. In many regions, catfish is listed in the Red Book and is under state protection.
Interesting facts about catfish
Catfish is also known for its unusual habits and characteristics. The following are interesting facts that will surprise the reader:
- Catfish is not only the largest, but also the most cunning. He uses his mustache as a bait - the fish takes them for thick worms. Having noticed the prey, the barbel quickly draws water along with the gullible fish.
- Soma - unsurpassed greedy and gluttons. They are eager for any prey. He will see a catfish nest above the water, will certainly try to bring it down with its tail. Even if he is not hungry, he will never miss a gaping duck - he will swallow it whole. Young people even attack spoons and animals - calves, dogs.
- Soma is dangerous. Tales of cannibalism have soil underneath - these huge fish can attack a person.
- Before spawning, giants arrange stormy games. Males try to show themselves in all their glory - they compete in swimming speed, in jumping height. At games, up to hundreds of fish are sometimes collected. The noise from mating is heard for kilometers. The female chooses a worthy chosen one, and a couple accelerates all unnecessary.
Som is the brightest representative of freshwater fish fauna. A worthy object for fishing and an interesting view for breeding. Everyone can find their interest in this miracle fish.