If you happen to find yourself in the southern United States beside a river that is heaving with 40lb flathead catfish, only to find, rather like finding yourself naked in a dream, that you have left all your fishing gear at home – fear not. It’s time to noodle..
Catfish noodling is a method of fishing in which you use nothing but your bare hands. Also known as cat-fisting (really? Gosh – must-resist-endless-tasteless-gags….) participants of the sport get into the water, often in teams of two or three, and seek out spots where the catfish might lie. The flathead is a fairly sedentary species, and likes to hole up in spots away from the main current. The noodlers use this to their advantage and seek out those lies – finding holes and snags where the catfish might be hiding. They then pop a hand into the hole (swimming deep underwater in some cases) where any resident fish will make a grab for their fist. A skilled noodler will then hook his hand through the gills and hoik the catfish out.
It all sounds a bit brutal for Fishpool’s liking – not to mention damned dangerous. And the thought of getting caught semi-naked in a river with the excuse that I’m ‘only fisting cats’ is not a good one….