Handfishing for Catfish – Noodling Tips

Get Deep – In a river or big lake, you may have to go underwater to find a good cat to noodle.  Once you get out of the shallows, you’ll need some swimming skills to noodle a big cat, but this is where the big guys are.  You can consider this “Advanced Level Noodling.”  Once you’ve got the basic feel for hand-grabbin’, head out where it’s deeper and try to find a bigger fish.

Carry A Big Stick – Here is one way to go noodling – Take a switch or limb off a willow tree, wade in the water, and go poking around on the bottom for catfish.  When you get one, you’ll know it because it will give a little.  You’ll mostly be pressing on rocks and mud at the bottom, but once you feel like you’re jabbing into a boot or tire, you’ll know you’ve got a cat.  They will also move around a little.  Keep jabbing at him until he starts to get mad and snap at the stick, then head down there ready to grab.  This is a proven technique that works great in certain areas, but it’s trickier than your standard noodling.  You have to be fast and a good swimmer in order to get to the bottom before he takes off.

There are as many styles of noodling as there are noodlers, so get out there and experiment.  Just be sure to noodle safe!

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Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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