Gafftop vs. Hardhead - 2CoolFishing
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:16 PM
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Gafftop vs. Hardhead

recently, there was a post regarding if gafftop were any good. most eat them as i do. some don't. if you go to florida, most fisherman there don't eat gafftop, but eat hardheads. what's the difference. i don't know because i have never eaten hardheads. do the fish taste different over there? just curious.
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:23 PM
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Gafftops are indeed game fish

By Chester Moore, Jr.

This week I received an email from a reader saying that they almost got a ticket for keeping under-sized gafftopsail catfish.
The problem was they like many people did not know that gafftops have a minimum size.
Others get small gafftops and hardheads confused but there are key differences in appearance. The main one is the gafftop has a large, unique sail like top fin whereas a hardhead basically looks like a freshwater cat.
More importantly, anglers can only keep gafftops measuring 14 inches or larger. Hardheads have no minimum size limit.
The reader had kept a couple of small gafftops and was checked by an understanding warden while fishing near Rockport.
They got away with a warning, but could have easily gotten a stiff fine. Lucky for the reader, the gafftops were alive enough to release without harm. Otherwise, I have a feeling the warden would not have been so lenient.
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:34 PM
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A neighbor,from the North naturally,invited us over for fried fish one night....we found out later that we were served "hardhead"...truthfully, well seasoned,cornmealed,with a good spicy red sauce ,we didn't taste anything bad....sauce was great,the fish was a good "scooper"...not saying I am fishing for hardheads now,but they weren't bad.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:43 PM
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hardheads taste like catfish. Nothing worng with them, just that there head plate takes up about half of there body. Per pound you get very little meat out of them.
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Old 08-30-2009, 07:46 PM
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My daughters friend cought a Gafftop today and we fried it up along with some Croaker (long story). The Croaker were very good and and there was a definite difference in taste but the Gafftop was not bad. One thing I noticed when cleaning the Gafftop was it seemed easier cuting the filet off the skin from the head end rather than how I typically start at the tail end? I was dissapointed on how little meat I got for the size fish it was.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:20 PM
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I've fished in Fla. quite a bit, and I never met anyone who kept or ate hardheads. I've eaten hardhead just to say I tried it. I thought it was very oily and for lack of a better word, quite yucky. I'd eat it before I ate king mack though.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:01 PM
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When I still had a boat, Rainy and I would go out fishing specifically for gaff top. Love them.

Also know of snooty guides who won't let anyone bring a gaff top in their boat even to pull the hook. To me, that is a rip off since the gaff top is a game fish in the great state of Texas.

GY
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:06 PM
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Gafftops go better with a nice Chardonnay, while Hardheads are better paired with a beer.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:30 PM
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I've eaten both and I like both of them. But, as long as I can catch enough flounder to meet my needs, I'll not keep either one. I'm with Coachlaw on the king mack though.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:49 PM
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Im not hungry enough to eat either of them. I have heard that they eat mullet in Florida. I have also been told something about licking the belly of a hard head. Im not planning on doing it any time in the near or distant future but is there any truth to it.
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