Ever heard of a “spoonbill” catfish?
Well, if you haven’t that is probably because there really is no such variety of catfish. However, there is another fish that is often called a spoonbill catfish: the paddlefish.
These cousins of the sturgeon are present in Texas and are illegal to harvest. I have looked at numerous photos over the years of anglers standing in their garage or at the boat ramp with a big paddlefish, calling it a catfish. Not good!
They are a state threatened species and harvest of them will get you a stiff fine. There are legal to take during certain seasons in Oklahoma and Arkansas but not in Texas. Learning to identify even the most unusual fish that swim in our waters is an important part of fishing in the real world. It can save you money, aggravation and also aid conservation by promoting release of fish like this. Check out this video of a sad situation pertaining to “spoonbill catfish”. Excuse me, paddelfish.
By Chester Moore