Monday, January 10, 2011

Noodling is my eigth wonder

(Photo from here at

As I'm sure you've figured out, I like fishing and weird things. When these two combine, it's a veritable Voltron of Awesome. I can hardly speak, there is so much awesome. Fold in legitimately crazy people and women with big hair wearing Joe Diffie T-shirts, and I am a puddle on the floor. I am speaking of Noodling. This is where you stick you hand in a muddy hole at the bottom of a river or lake and wiggle your fingers until a catfish bites down. Then you yank the poor critter up and heave it into your awaiting Bayliner Capri.

I discovered Noodling while we were living in a USFS bunkhouse. We had like 9 channels of television luxury at our disposal and PBS aired the most interesting material by far. One wintry night, I was washing the dishes while the Noodling Documentary played in the background. It is a hour long story of three brave men/families who noodle in the wilds of Oklahoma. The three groups couldn't be more different. I have named them according to several distinctive traits:

The Catfish Whisperer: This guy is like a goofy little kid with delusions of how famous he really is. Once, he was on Letterman and he released videos of his exploits. He tames a snake by having it repeatedly bite him and spends the bulk of the documentary wearing bandages from a copperhead bite (he was playing with it).

Family Plumber: Family plumber is a big redheaded guy who noodles with his dad and son. They launch the family Bayliner and root around in muddy holes with their buds. Plumber's wife is appropriately big-haired and sports a Joe Diffie shirt. (Joe Diffie sings the best country songs about gravy.) Plumber notes his introduction to plumbing was fishing out some turds blocking a sewage outlet for $10. "Either way, you're noodling."

ZZGearhead: This is an uncle/nephew team who have that exact look you would expect of aging gear heads. ZZNephew has a partner named Tami, the first-ever crowned noodling queen. (You can totally see her arse through the netting shirt she wears around.) ZZNephew is afraid of letting his young son participate in sports because that would take him away from the lake.

All of these guys are super-proud of the fact that they are men who work with their hands. Doctors and Lawyers don't noodle, just these salt-of-the-mudhole men.

I must add that freshwater situations where noodling occurs is scary-ass water. Water is murky, full of leeches, copperheads, snapping turtles, or beavers. There is also the very real possibility of drowning while participating in the dumbest way to catch fish ever. At one point, they show the piece of asphalt that their buddy drowned under. You can get yourself stuck and drown with your fingers in a hole. I refuse to enter a body of water with leeches or to participate in an activity where drowning is common. (Yes, I know people drown in salt water often. But that is LEECH-FREE water.)

After this first introduction, I bought the dang DVD and made everyone I know watch it. I can't recommend it enough. Short of watching the DVD, you should totally google image search "noodling."


  1. Watch the "Okie Noodling" trailer at

    Question: Who has less teeth and is the ugliest, the men or the catfish?


  2. That's a tough call there. Music is good, tough. It's all flaming lips.