In the American South, a practice known as “noodling” exists. If you don’t know what noodling is, it’s essentially a way to catch catfish in the water totally by hand. It doesn’t sound all that crazy until you realize just how involved the process can be! One recent clip shows two amazing things: 1) catfish in the South get really big, and 2) people who noodle may have a screw loose!
The clip starts off with just one person, seemingly struggling in a river. The guy (who is totally jacked) is wading through waist-deep brown water clearly fighting with something just under the surface. The clarity of the water makes it hard to fully tell, but judging from the size of the man, it’s something big.
Within a few moments, we can see the tip of a large tail just barely start to poke its way out of the water. As we had thought, this is a really big fish. Somehow, this single guy is planning on getting the fish to the shore. Then, there’s commotion under the water and something amazing happens: a second guy appears from under the water!
For the whole first part of the clip, a second guy was totally submerged in the river and was fighting with the head of the fish, not just the tail! As the second guy comes up, we get a look at the fish they are struggling with—a massive catfish.
Catfish can grow to 150 lbs in the United States and are super strong. As these two guys fight with a River Monster of a catfish, its clear the fish is making them work for their photo! Generally, people catch catfish using a rod and reel or jugs, but these two are doing something known as “noodling”. Noodling is the art is sticking your hand into a catfish den and getting it to swallow your arm (like a noodle). Once the fish as swallowed your arm, you can then pull it out of its hole and bring it to the surface!
Noodling takes a lot of practice and know-how, but these two seem to have the practice down pretty well. When they come to the surface, you can see that the man who was under the water has his hand through the mouth of the fish, showing he probably caught it via noodling.
The person using their hand (known as the noodler) can get a lot of leverage on the fish, and some of the largest fish around have been caught with the noodling method. It’s mostly practiced in the southern United States and isn’t for the faint of heart!
As the video clip shows, you have to be willing to get down and dirty with a big catfish in order to be a good noodler. These two guys seem like they are basically pros with the size of the fish they were able to bring in!
Make sure you check out the wild video clip below!
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.