Posted by: rusch | February 24, 2006

Noodling. You what?

I discovered a new sport today that is unlike anything that any of you could possibly imagine.

It all started at work today when a student asked if I knew a particular teacher and I responded that I did. He then informed me that this fellow was a redneck because he and his friends went “noodling” (pronounced noodle-ing).

I shuddered at the thought of what noodling could be. I mean with a strange name like this and the fact that it involves rednecks, well be careful not to let your imagination run wild.

Quickly my mind was retrieved from the gutter when the student told me that noodling was barehanded cat fishing. I looked it up on line and discovered that this is actually quite popular though you stand the danger of being nicknamed Nubbins all in the name of Noodling (Noodlers are known to loose fingers in this sport). There is a tournament in Oklahoma, imagine that, that is the World Series of barehanded cat fishing.

How does one noodle? Its’ simple.

When catfish spawn, the females borrow into the muddy banks of streams, rivers, lakes and ponds and then lay their eggs in the afore mentioned burrows. After the females lay their eggs, male catfish come along and fertalize the eggs and then hang out in the holes, guarding the eggs until they hatch.

Enter the Noodler. This individual will wade into the water and search for these dark, deep holes that are in the bank. After finding a whole, the Noodler will cram his hands into the hole grabbing the fish and pulling him out of his hole and out of the water.

I looked at some of the fish that were caught by noodlers and could only exclaim,” great googly moogly.” It is not uncommon for these noodlers to catch sixty even one hundred pound plus catfish. The pictures of these beastly fish, like something out of pre-historic times, were incredible. Imagine a man armed with nothing more then his bare hands and a can of beer, purely for the man, pulling a one hundred pound fish out of its’ hole in a muddy murky bank with nothing other then his hands.

So if you like sticking your hands in strange places, this might be the sport for you. But for all future Noodlers beware. These holes in the pond are not all catfish burrows. Beavers, snakes, snapping turtles, and other animals with sharp fangs and teeth live in muddy holes in the banks. And no one wants to be known as nubbins. Imagine trying to explain how you got that nickname. “I was out noodl’n and then….” You get the picture.


  1. There is this cool show called “Dirty Jobs” where this guy follows around guys that do the jobs you’d never want to. On one episode he did Noodling. What you left out is that they don’t reach in and grab the fish. The have the fish try to swallow the noodlers hand. They catch the fish from the inside… Now that’s entertainment!

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