Only a few people are trusted to run the band saw for deheading catfish. A good operator can process up to 50 fish in a minute. It's hard monotinus work that won't allow for a momements carelessness. There are lots of people in the meat packing industry that have lost fingers or worse to these machines.
In the early days all the catfish were hung on hooks and the skin was pulled off by hand with skinning pliers. That was the way it had been done for years and was slow and labor intensive. Later on we got this Baader Skinning Machine that picked up the speed, but had to be used with great care. I know of 2 instances were the operator got a serious injury by touching their hand to the moving cutting knife.
It was March 15th, 2003 that I pulled my last hoop net out of White Lake. I had spent over 30 years running from Lake Charles to Lake Maurepas. We went as far North as Butte La Rose, but mostly we fished as close as possible to Catfish Wholesale.
Last summer I sold my boat, and soon after felt cut off from being able to go on the water to all my nice spots. I turned around and bought a kayak. It's a little humbling paddling for hours the distance that I was covering in minutes. My idea was to get some exorcise to offset sitting at this computer all day.