Let's look at Bullheads
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Close up of bullhead. You gotta love him.
Origin: Anglers have spread bullheads all over the country, because they like to fish for them. They’re easier to catch than most fish. That’s why you see them used in those Kid’s Fishing Contests. Once bullheads start biting, they rarely give up the bait. Bullheads can often be pulled out of the water without even being hooked.
Fishing Tip: Use a pair of pliers to flatten the barb on your hook when fishing for bullheads. Unhooking an armed bullhead may prove hazardous to the health of your hands. The spines in their side and top fins can royally impale you in the unhooking process. Those spines are also venomous. They won’t kill you, of course, but they throb for awhile.
Another Fishing Tip.
Bring extra hooks and a fingernail clipper to snip off your hooks.
Why? Half the time, the piggish little bullheads swallow your hook
and bait so far down, you gotta rip their guts out to save your
hook. Cut your hook off. Using a long-shanked hook also helps.
Maximum Size: State records may say 18 inches, but in the wild a one-footer deserves a wall plaque. Most bullheads crowd out then max out around six inches. And once a school of them find your bait, they will not leave it alone.
Bullhead Tails: In case you need to know, bullheads have rounded tails. Channel cats have forked tails.
Nocturnal, Theoretically: Most catfishes work the night shift unless food is involved. When you toss food in your bullhead tank, they will search for it until they can’t eat any more. Day or night.
Temperature: Since they live outside, you know bullheads can handle life underneath the ice. Do not try this at home. Bullheads can catch ich from sudden temperature changes just like most fishes. Since they have no scales, careful with your ich cure.
Breeding. We’ve never seen bullheads breed, however, we’ve seen them herding their babies along the shore line. They must conduct communal daycare classes because some of those schools are huge. If you can catch some of those schooling bullheads, at a little over an inch they are as cute as any catfish you might see. Even better, they’re jet black. Unfortunately, at a little over two inches, they grow into a brownish/greyish camouflage color that blends into nearly any substrate.
Temperament: Any fish with long whiskers should be considered a predator. Bullheads work poorly in your average community tank. They love fish fins. Or the whole fish if it fits in their mouth. Better? Mix them with American cichlids. They get along fine with our native sunfish which act like cichlids. Think of them as spunky little scavengers in your oscar tank.
Substrate: If you’ve ever gone fishing barefooted in the mud, you’ve felt these guys tickle your toes. Crayfish, turtles, broken bottles, and bullheads are four good reasons to wear shoes when walking thru any non-swimming pool water. You can tell they like mud, because they swarm around your feet (probably looking for food).
Security: Sometimes bullheads like to hide. Caves and plastic plants make good cover. However, once you toss food in the water, security becomes a moot point.
Foods: Make a long list, check it at least twice. Just like you at an all-you-can-eat buffet, bullheads want a taste of everything. Then, once they taste it, they want lots more. Lean and mean does not describe bullheads. They’re chunky little munchers.
Last Words: Mix bullheads with other fishes very carefully. LA
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