What You Need to Know About Noodling Catfish

The Technique

The only way to catch the fish noodling is to stick your hands in the catfish holes. You can try the shallow waters, but in many cases, you will need to dive under water to find the catfish nesting holes. Once you find a hole with the fish inside, you need to get ready. You will grab the fish with two hands and bring the fish up to the surface of the water. You are going to need a spotter to help you. The idea is to hang on the fish as it fights you so you can claim your trophy. Wear gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from the fish.

The Dangers

Sticking your hands in any hole without knowing 100% sure what is in the hole is risky. Instead of a catfish, you could encounter a snapping turtle or a water snake. If you find a snapping turtle, you could lose a few fingers or have some serious bites and risk infection. If you dive for the fish, you must remember that you can only hold your breath so long and the fish can outlast you. Never attempt to noodle catfish at night or by yourself during the day. Anything can happen when you are in the water fighting with any water inhabitant.

The Thrill

Be prepared for a thrill. The adrenalin will be pumping when you grab a hold of the catfish. You will feel as if you can do anything, but the truth is that you probably can’t. Catfish noodling is not for people with weak hearts or weak muscles. You are going to fight with a fish that could weight as must as 60 to 70 pounds. Make sure to have someone with a camera or a video camera to capture your catch of the day.

In the end, catfish noodling is thrilling and can be dangerous, but people keep doing it. As long as you know what you are doing or have someone to guide you the first few times, you should be okay. As with any water activity, you should follow safety first even if it means that you will lose the fish. Remember to wear clothes and gloves as well as something on your feet so that you aren’t injured in you quest to find the trophy catfish noodling in the cold waters of the south.

To get the full “Noodling Catfish” article you’ll need to download it here.


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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