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I've been catching some big channel cats lately and am having a hard time grabbing the suckers. I've been grabbing them by the lower lip like you would grab a bass but they don't have much space between their tonge and lip to grab on to and the teeth are sharp enough that when they thrash it hurts. For the smaller cats I can grab them from the belly side with my middle and index finger above and below one pectorial spine and my thumb under the other one. Is it safe to grab the larger ones by hooking your fingers though the gill plates?

Since I'm on the topic please feel free to share any tips for grabbing large fish of other species as well. As well as warnings for things like sharp gill plates, etc.
 

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For channels, grab them by the top of their body. Slide your hand down gently across the top so you can compress the dorsal fin and then slide your thumb and middle finger behind the pectoral fins pushing them out so they can't cut you, then once you've done that just squeeze down just tight enough until you are able to grab them. I can pull this off with them all the way until they get around 7lbs, anything bigger than that is tough to get your hand fully around to grasp them. Then again, never had any channels bigger than 7 so I wouldn't know how to hold them after that weight range. Flatheads don't have sharp gill plates so you can just stick each hand behind the gills and lift them.
 

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For big channels I use my X-tools soft plastic pliers, just using the end not shoving it all the way down there throat. But the smaller cats I grab them by the belly like you were saying with your thumb and index finger underneath there pectoral fins. For flats we use a small gaff and gaff em through the lips. You can gill grab them but they shut down also like there mouth. I use to lip em but one big channel would not let my thumb go for about ten minutes. After he let go my thumb looked like hamburger and would'nt stop bleeding for a while. My thumb hurt like hell and I had to soak it in rubbing alchohol when i got home.
 

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Get a glove and grab em by the mouth
 

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I've never really been stuck by any "big" channels... It's those little bastards that can squirm around and get out. Use a glove if you want but I always just picked em up with both hands.
 

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Gloves are good if you get them wet before you use them, otherwise like all other fish it's bad for their 'slime' and can screw them up. Just dip your palms in the water and use your hands, as Arnold would say " Don't be such a vuuussssyyy "
 

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just lip 'em, it'll only hurt 4 a day er so. though i don't recomend this method on pike ect........ speaking from personal experience.
 

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With the canyon blues we caught, we used pliers. Broke a few lower lips, and a few dorsel fins, but they will survive. We caught one blue that was missing an eye.
 

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With the canyon blues we caught, we used pliers. Broke a few lower lips, and a few dorsel fins, but they will survive. We caught one blue that was missing an eye.
 

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It's so funny how some people get but hurt over blue cats in canyon lake. Reddy ice guy says he has caught some big blues out of eagle creek, upper. Some people even chime in that they have caught them in the salt river chain, then get all bipolar and start babbling about them not even being in the state altogether. Have a beer, your memory will return.
 

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2 week ago i caught one 15lb at san carlos what i do i grab in their eyes. so where you go for flat? san carlos is too far for me i live in glendale
 

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For channels, grab them by the top of their body. Slide your hand down gently across the top so you can compress the dorsal fin and then slide your thumb and middle finger behind the pectoral fins pushing them out so they can't cut you, then once you've done that just squeeze down just tight enough until you are able to grab them. I can pull this off with them all the way until they get around 7lbs, anything bigger than that is tough to get your hand fully around to grasp them. Then again, never had any channels bigger than 7 so I wouldn't know how to hold them after that weight range. Flatheads don't have sharp gill plates so you can just stick each hand behind the gills and lift them.

This is the best way. Just do it quick before you get poked.....dont be scared:biggrin:
 
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