I skin my cats head them and gut them Thats how there done at possessing houses this will presurve freshness
When im gonna fry them I will fellit them and turn them skin side down on a cutting board and start cutting off white meat and I personally like mine thin and small but you can cut what ever size cuts you like. I personally cut the lateral line (mud vain) out but you don't have too. Keep makeing cuts until just the outside skin is left it makes good coon bait or garden additive. After that my meat is so clean that I just have to rinse and fry.
As far as restaurant cats I think they mostly leave the mudvain in and that 1 reason I don't care for um.
As far as bait freash cut bait is hard to beat on jingle lines,trotlines, or jugs
We filet anything bigger than a pound. Usually skin and dock the head on any smaller cats. When filleting the hide off, I keep the tip of the knife on the board and lift the handle end a little as I move down the side. This leaves most of the red meat (muddy taste) on the hide with very little trimming to do afterwards.
As far as bait, we caught some cats on jugs a couple weeks ago with chicken, red jello, garlic and cheery cool aid mixture. I'd never tried it before but had heard of people using it with good results. We didn't get to fish long cause the wind got up and started blowing the jugs to the bank but had 14 good fish from 2-10 lbs in about an hour of jugging. Fresh cut bait is top notch but not always easy to get.
I stopped at Ryans Steak House in Richmond a few years ago, it’s gone now. They always had catfish n the buffet. The manager came and I asked if those catfish came out of the Kentucky River, kidding. He said no, they all came from The Philippines.
UTK Life Member NRA Life Member Still trapping but getting slower