|Brady Knowlton photo from Wall Street Journal...hefting a well-noodled 60 pound cat...|
DALLAS—Brady Knowlton believes it's his inalienable right as a Texan to shove his bare hand into the mouth of a 60-pound catfish and yank it out of a river. But wrestling a flapping, whiskered giant as it latches onto your arm with its jaws isn't among Texas's accepted methods of capturing fish. It is, rather, a class C misdemeanor, with fines of up to $500.
Knowlton is trying to change all that and currently pandering a bill through the state legislature would make noodling legal, just another fishing method. Some angler groups are of course opposed to the idea, calling noodling unfair to the fish (no surprise there, eh? This last paragraph is of course the prose of none other but your brilliant correspondent...but you knew that, eh?
How to Noodle (again pilferred from the Wall Street Journal)
Noodlers explore the banks and rocky areas of lakes and rivers for catfish lairs, using their hands or a branch to poke around in the murky water. They look for clues such as smooth, packed dirt (catfish will clean the area around their nests of debris and plants).
Once a hole is located, noodlers insert their arms, with elbows slightly bent. As the fish lunges forward to bite, a noodler tries to get both hands into the fish's mouth and grab the bone in the lower jaw shaped like a suitcase handle. The fish can also be grabbed through the gills.
The noodler brings the fish to his or her chest, elbows facing straight out of the body for strength, and wraps his or her legs around the fish's tail to immobilize it. Helpers pull fish and fisher to the surface.
Skin, clean, fry, munch…yummy good eats
PS...Be careful what you noodle cats ain't the only critters dwellin' in underwater holes...true story...over and out...Chuck