It has slimy skin the color of mud… sharp spines… and slippery whiskers… Not pretty, but pretty tasty! I grew up catching these bottom dwellers in a swampy corner of my dad’s farm. We’d catch them in the evening, just at nightfall; slapping mosquitos and watching bobbers skitter away, suddenly plunging out of sight. Horned pout, also known as brown bullheads, can be found all over New Hampshire. From farm ponds to big lakes, and quiet pools along riverbanks, this species of catfish is easily caught and is fantastic when dipped in egg, dusted in flour and done in the frypan. Cook them just right’ til the tails are crispy and they’re the nicest fish you’ve ever had. Horned pout are best caught with a worm and bobber. Figure your depth and adjust to suspend the bait just off the bottom – or use a little split shot and sink the bait til it stops, reel up the slack and wait for the tap-tap-tap of the bite. Horned pout fishing is an awesome activity for kids. You do want to handle these fish carefully – there are spines: one dorsal/at the top of the spine – and two pectoral, one on each side. Getting stuck is not dangerous, but it smarts. The meal will be worth the effort. So bring a bucket, some worms and bug goop and do some sweet summer fishing. Get yourself some horned pout. I’ll see you for breakfast.
- Andy Mack
(pic: NH Fish & Game - Fish Species)