If legal on the particular body of water caught in, 12# to 14# Blues are the VERY BEST in taste when deep frying for me. I trim it the old fashion way, head, guts, fins, then skin. First cut the belly slabs off first. Next, slit on side to the center bone lengthwise. With a thick sharp hunting knife, rake the meat off the bone in the direction of the curve of the bone from head end to tail. Take the top slabs off first. Then cut behind the ribs, take the bottom slabs off in the same manner. Shave off meat from the top outside of the ribs. Then dice off a strip on the end of the bottom of the inside of the ribs. You have managed to get the most meat off of a catfish less what lies between boats.
Take the top slabs & slice steaks crossways. Start from the head end. After the first 1 or two, you should get a fair amount of "B" looking steaks about 1" to 1.5" thick. If you move the meat around, it will have a pearlized glitter, sometimes resembling a rainbo of color. If salted & peppered correctly. Battered properly. Drop them into a deep fryer consisting of Mrs. Tucker's shortening. They should almost be golden brown to a light brown, slightly crisp on outside. But as you crack it open, it will be fall apart & super tender flakes. And smoking hot. Dip in ice cold Del Monte Catchup & taste the utimate in BlueCat taste. Their is no turning back now & no better taste. You will always remember just what the very best of catfish can taste like.
Of course, you could always toss it back (if legal to keep), but then you would never know the utimate in BlueCat taste.
Also, there are ways to trim down the bitter taste of the belly straps to where some might not even realize they are eating them.