There is a joke that asks “What is the last thing you hear before a redneck dies?” and the answer is: “Y’all watch this.”
I was reminded of that when I recently again came across a video of redneck fishing. To watch the video of a couple of good ol’ boys makin’ their mommas proud, click on the following link:
I had seen the video before but this time I looked into the topic a bit deeper and found that:
- This style of fishing – without line, hooks, bait or net, just using bare hands – is called noodling, but don’t ask me why.
- Although noodling is most commonly applied to the capture barehanded of flathead catfish, it is also applied to any hand fishing methods regardless of fish species and, less commonly, to any method of fishing that does not use traditional fishing means eg line, spear, bait etc.
- The fish of choice for noodling is the flathead catfish because it nests in holes or in brush under the water. The noodler shoves his hand into the hole and wiggles his fingers, which the fish then attacks. At that point the noodler puts his arm into the fish and brings it out of the water.
- Simple, right? Not exactly. Gloves are frowned upon and are rejected as dulling the sensitivity needed in the fingers. Nests don’t always have catfish: the same environment and the same type of holes house poisonous snakes, snapping turtles, beavers and muskrats. A large catfish can pull a man under so that shallow water is usually recommended and to noodle in pairs. Wounds can get infected, fingers can be bitten off by beavers, turtles and muskrats. If you want to see how a snapping turtle can bite, click on:
- Apparently catfish have small teeth that make their bite feel like sandpaper.
- Noodling originated with Native Americans and it also became popular during the Great Depression as a means of feeding the family. From there it became family custom and was passed down from father to son., although today there are also female noodlers.
- Noodling happens mostly in the rural American South and Midwest, places where there are lots of both catfish and tradition.
- It is legal in only 13 states in the US, up from 4 in 2001. Some experts believe that noodling is damaging in that it removes fish from nests, leaving eggs vulnerable and thereby threatening fish stocks. Some states monitor numbers and limit catches.
For another noodling video, and a close look at how unattractive catfish are, click on:
And if you want to see Gordon Ramsay try his hand at noodling (as usual, with language), click on: