the cats arent that bad, they tast good but cleaning them is a pain and dont provide much meat. or have you ever ben barbed by one of those things. it hurts like a b**h. so i'll put it like this way. if you will cach and clean them for me i'll be happy to eat those cats.
I don't fool around with the hardheads except use them for Cobia bait.
I do the Gafftopsail thing and this will make your life easier. After you try it, I will show you an old commercial way where we would clean several hundred pounds at one time.
Take a board(wooden), an ice pick and a pair of pliers. I wear gloves to keep those tiny stinger cuts to a dull roar!
Pin the fish in an upright position with the ice pick down through the 'soft spot' on their head into the board.
Cut around the head and, taking a pair of pliers, pull the skin off. It'll come off like taking of a sock!
The skin will come off, leaving the skin on the aft part of the body with a triangular piece of skin remaining on the belly. Take the pliers to pull it off and the rest of the skin will come off.
I will then cut down right behind the 'horn(fin) all the way through the backbone. Taking my thumb and fingers, pull the head off. The guts will come with the head.
HINT: If you cut the vent before pulling off the head all of the guts will come out.
I will fillet and fry a big one, but will bake one in a heartbeat. Mighty good eating! JMHO C2