The Tank: The Freshest Catfish From An Indoor Pool
May 23, 2009
A Walnut Hill man has taken fresh catfish to a new level, with a huge indoor pool full of the tasty fish fry favorites.
Vernon Hiebert was looking for a new way to market his farm raised catfish to the public when he dreamed up “The Tank”. It is a 32-foot wide indoor pool that can hold up to 20,000 catfish at a time. The Tank , Hiebert says, offers the freshest tasting catfish anywhere — none of that musky flavor that makes catfish taste “off”.
“There’s just no other catfish that taste this good,” Hiebert said, “because they are purged in fresh water.” That means, he said, that the fish kept in the crystal-clear freshwater are living algae free, unlike most pond-raised catfish.
The tank system that Hiebert designed is no less than ingenious. The round indoor tank uses a system of fences to contain fish to a certain part of the pool, or move them toward an electric “elevator” that lifts them out of the water. “I can put one fish in the tank and use the fences to get one fish out of the tank.,” he said.
A three-stage filter system ensures the freshest water in the tank. And fresh water means fresh tasting fish, the Walnut Hill man said. “You are not going to get fish out of a store or even a pond that will taste like this.”
There’s no fishing pole at Hiebert’s indoor pool — all the fish are removed from The Tank using the elevator system. Shoppers can take the fish home whole or have them dressed, or cleaned.
On the weekends, Hiebert often has a deep fryer on, ready to provide a fresh taste. “Once you taste catfish fresh like they are suppose to be, you’ll be hooked,” he said.
The catfish are $1.55 per pound live weight. It is just 30 cents per pound additional to have the fish dressed.
The Tank is locatd at 4890 Lemon Road in Walnut Hill. To get to the tank, turn off Highway 97 in Walnut Hill onto South Highway 99 (at the Walnut Hill Farm Supply). Go almost three miles to Lemon Road, and turn right by The Tank sign. The Tank is located about a mile down Lemon Road on the left. Click here for a Google map from Highway 97 to The Tank.
The Tank’s farm raised channel catfish are available Thursday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 327-6787.
For a photo gallery from The Tank, click here.
Pictured top: Vernon Hiebert corrals catfish at The Tank in Walnut Hill. Pictured inset: Catfish in the crystal-clear waters of The Tank. Pictured below: The Tank can hold 20,000 catfish. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.