According to Wickepedia - “noodling is the practice and sport of fishing for catfish using only one’s bare hands” – convincing me that this sport is not for the faint of heart.
Check out these comments by Cabela’s Keith Sutton “…when a noodler reaches into a catfish's lair, the fish may nip, bite or engulf the noodler's hand. Most noodlers believe that wearing gloves hinders the sense of touch necessary for determining the type of creature in the hole, its position and the best method for capturing it. The noodler reaches in, tries to grasp the fish by the mouth or gill cover, attempting to resurface with quarry in tow. An extraordinary effort; maybe impossible.”
Characteristics of a successful noodler include 1. the Hulk’s upper body strength; 2. Sponge Bob’s breath control; 3. Robin William’s selective insanity; and 4. a spouse who can maintain a cool façade while hoping she won’t have to raise the children alone.
You are probably already planning your first excursion into the extreme world of catfish noodling; preparing to bring in the granddaddy of all catfish without losing a single digit.
Or perhaps, like me, you prefer to experience this phenomenon more vicariously. If that’s the case, plot your GPS for a day trip to Pauls Valley where you can cheer on those intrepid fishermen and their whiskered catches as they compete for bragging rights, and some serious prize money, at the 2008 Okie Noodling Championships on Saturday July 12th. It’s a family affair at Bob’s Pig Shop, official site of the annual competition, and admission is free. Fried catfish is on the menu, a new Noodling Queen will be crowned, and you can even get a lesson in noodling.
Pauls Valley is an easy one hour drive south on I-35 from Oklahoma City culminating at Highway 19 (Exit 72). It can also be reached by a scenic round trip journey on Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer from Bricktown. A day trip there should include a visit with your favorite super heroes at the world’s only Toy & Action Figure Museum, wine tasting at Valley Vineyards, pecan pie fresh from Field’s famous ovens, and a sampling of luscious chocolate at Bedre’s factory.
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