HARDHEAD CATFISH - Arius felis Family Ariidae, SEA CATFISHES
Description: brownish to gray-green; white to
yellowish below; fin spines with no fleshy
filaments; barbel at corner of mouth not very
flattened and shorter than head; four barbels
Size: to 60 cm (2 ft.) and 5.5 kg (3 lbs.) but usually much smaller.
Where found: same as for gafftopsail catfish usually much more common.
Remarks: commonly caught from catwalks, bridges, and piers, particularly in passes and inland waterways; edible, but generally not eaten.
The Bait Rustler as I call him, is a notorious bait stealer. Hardheads are considered by most fishermen to be a nuisance very similar to fleas on a dog's back. They often occur in such numbers that you can't catch anything else. The only good thing I've heard about Hardheads is that they make excellent Cobia bait. The dorsal and pectoral fins are each supported by an extremely formidable weapon, a sharp slime-covered spine. Great care should be used when removing him from your hook, since the slime on his spine is mildly toxic. Severe pain and discomfort will follow after this fellow manages to nail you with one of his spines. The dorsal spine is also barbed which makes it difficult to remove if your unfortunate enough to get nailed with it.