Noodling is fishing for catfish using one's bare hands, and is practiced primarily in the southern United States.
The noodler places their hand inside a discovered catfish hole. Many other names are used in different regions for the same activity. The term noodlingalthough today used primarily towards the capture of flathead catfishcan and has been applied to all hand fishing methods, regardless of the method or species of fish sought.
Where the name noodling originated is not actually known, but the name is not at all illustrative of the dangerous craft. Due to concerns over the safety of noodlers and sustainability of fish populations, the technique is illegal in some states where it was once traditionally practiced. As of [update]it was legal in some form in fourteen states, sometimes with restrictions on the species or sizes of fish, and on the specific methods that may be employed: Although the concept Large bare and caught catching fish with only the use of the arm in the Large bare and caught is simple, the process of noodling is more complicated.
The choice of catfish as the prey is not arbitrary, Large bare and caught comes from the circumstances of their habitat. During the spawn, catfish will dig or enter a hole underneath a structure submerged in the water. The female will lay the eggs in the hole and the male will guard the eggs. When the eggs become fry, they will leave and the male will also leave the hole. To begin, a noodler goes underwater to depths ranging from only a few feet 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 Large bare and caught 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.
On Late Night with David Letterman inJerry Rider climbed into a tank with a catfish and caught it using his bare hands. For a time Rider became the face of noodling, and appeared in countless news stories and numerous newspaper articles around this time as well. Though he is no longer considered the "face of noodling", Rider is still a prominent and Large bare and caught noodler, appearing in both a Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs pilot episode and in the History Channel's current television series Mudcats.
Rider even traveled to India to demonstrate noodling while visiting the country for the weekend.
Most of these stories were light-hearted variety pieces with little information; very few of them looked at the practice as a serious sport, as noodlers may have wanted.
The closest thing to a serious examination of noodling accessible to popular culture was a documentary released in called Okie Noodlingdirected by local documentarian Bradley Beesley. The documentary covers the history and current practice of noodling as it is practiced in Oklahoma. During the course of the documentary the realization that there were no official noodling contests spawned the First Annual Large bare and caught Noodling Tournament held in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.
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The tournament brought in young people from across Oklahoma to a sport mostly passed down from father to son. The release of the documentary and its subsequent airing on PBS affiliates has, if not made the sport more popular, raised its profile to more than just a local phenomenon.
Although not mentioning women in noodling explicitly, Large bare and caught interviews Okie Noodling helps to explain women's relationship to the sport. Although some women relate stories of times they have noodled, the majority of practicing noodlers were and are men.
Many of the male noodlers explained how they began noodling Large bare and caught their father took them out, and how they planned to bring their sons into the world of noodling. Also, as others who have written on noodling have expressed, if noodling is to be considered a sport, then at least to outsiders it is most definitely an extreme sportwhich tend to draw a disproportionate number of male followers.
Noodling can result in superficial cuts and minor wounds to the noodler. This can be reduced by wearing gloves and other protective clothing.
Losing fingers is also a risk, whether from the bite or infection. Most holes are deep enough that diving is needed, so there can be a danger of drowning. A person with confident swimming abilities may be caught off guard by the sudden added strain of carrying a large fish to the surface. Spotters can alleviate this danger, but it Large bare and caught still present.
A wounded noodler ten to twenty feet underwater might not be able to return safely to the surface and may drown. Clothes may get tangled or snagged on roots or rocks, so some noodlers wear only denim shorts.
The greatest physical threat posed to noodlers, however, comes from other forms of aquatic life found in catfish holes. Far more dangerous than catfish are alligatorssnakesbeaversmuskrats and snapping turtleswho will take over abandoned catfish holes as homes of their own.
It has also been featured on various networks such as the Discovery Channel History Channel  and Animal Planet .
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
It is not to be confused with catfishing. For other uses, see Noodle disambiguation. This article needs additional citations for verification.
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