Saturday, October 8, 2011
Hillbilly Handfishin' - Noodling
I'm a KANSAS girl and even though I have never noodled
before, Hillybilly Handfishin' on Animal Planet is now one of my favorite shows.
Although the concept of catching fish with only the use of the arm in the water is simple enough, the process of noodling is more complicated. The choice of catfish as the prey is not arbitrary, but comes from the circumstances of their habitat. Flathead catfish live in holes or under brush in rivers and lakes and thus are easier to capture due to the static nature of their dwelling. To begin, a noodler goes underwater to depths ranging from only a few feet to up to twenty feet and places his hand inside a discovered catfish hole. If all goes as planned, the catfish will swim forward and latch onto the fisherman's hand, usually as a defensive maneuver, in order to try to escape the hole. If the fish is particularly large, the noodler can hook the hand around its gills.
Most noodlers have spotters who help them bring the catfish in, either to shore or to their boat; noodling in pairs is considered important for safety, and also makes it a more social activity, with noodling partners often forming long-term partnerships.
A typical weight for a flathead catfish caught by noodling is 40 lb (18 kg), with the record catch, by Ken Paulie in Kansas, being 123 lb (56 kg). P.S. It's not legal in EVERY state.