Okie Noodling

This is quite possibly the most random post I have ever written. That is your disclaimer!

My sister‘s hubby is a ‘noodler’….what you might ask is a “noodler”? Well, I felt like more people should see his pictures and get a glimpse of what he does so I asked if I could do a little interview. I fully admit I viewed Noodling as a totally redneck thing, but reading his answers I found myself with a new appreciation for what he does. He didn’t convince me to stick my hand in a dark hole hoping for a catfish to bite, but I am a little proud (in an odd way) of him. I’d never do it, but he loves it. So here is my interview with my engineer brother-in-law who I’ve heard has taken most of his fellow engineers noodling recently!

Eric is an amatuer noodler….in my opinion he catches massive fish. However, he did want me to note that noodling is a hobby he enjoys. Professional noodlers can catch fish as large as 80lbs. That is CRAZY!


What is noodling? The act of catching a catfish with your hands only. Different states have their own definition of it, but here in Oklahoma it is hands only. We look for large catfish in holes up under rocks or other holes created by structures and we grab them with our hands and wrestle them to the bank or boat. When we stick our hands up in these holes we are hoping catfish will bite our hands giving us the opportunity to grab a hold of the fish. If the fish will not bite we keep pestering it until we can get our hands in its mouth. We typically look for these fish in 1-8ft of water and they can range in size with our largest being 40lbs. We are still looking for larger fish that can be well over 50lbs.


How do you learn to noodle? You can learn how to noodle by going with someone who has experience in this style of fishing. It takes quite a bit of practice to become proficient at noodling, so I would advise going with someone who knows what they are doing for quite a few trips, and always go with a partner. The hardest part about noodling is becoming a master at finding the holes and where to look for these holes. It just takes time on the water. We predominantly noodle up under rocks or boat ramps in lakes.

Sidenote: I believe Eric says to always go with a partner because it is dangerous. I imagine one of those fish could pull you under pretty easily. And YES it hurts. I don’t speak from experience, but from witnessing the nasty wounds Eric gets.


Why noodle instead of fishing with a pole? Don’t get me wrong, I love to fish conventionally with my rod and reel, but there is just something about the rush you get when one of those fish bite. It always comes out of nowhere, no matter how ready you are. I especially like noodling because you are always active. The only way to catch a fish this way is to get in the water and start feeling around.


Describe a typical day noodling. A typical day noodling starts by getting the boat ready and equipped with plenty of food and water. We typically get to the lake early and we go from spot to spot looking for fish in their holes. After we have checked the holes that we already know of, we will look for new spots in the areas of the lake we haven’t noodled. We may take a break or two to eat and get something to drink, but for the most part we are in the water from the time we get there to the time we leave.


Will you teach Sweet P to noodle? I would be glad to teach her if she shows any interest but her mother may keep that from happening. We have quite a while until she is old enough to go, so we will see when that time comes.


Give me 3 reasons I should try noodling. Number 1 – Catching a catfish with your hands gives you a sense of accomplishment because there is a fear involved. I don’t care how tough you are the first time you don’t know what to expect and you are a little scared. Number 2 – Enjoying nature. I am always amazed by God’s creation and the feeling of His closeness when I am in nature. I understand you can get this from any outdoor experience but there is just something about being in the water. Number 3 – To get in touch with the Past. Noodling was first done by Native Americans as a common form of catching fish. Then it became a from of gathering much needed food by rural people during the Depression. A fish that size can feed a lot of people. If everything goes bad in a hurry, you know you can always go out and catch dinner with your hands.

(battle wound on his arm)

Why do you noodle? I noodle because it has become a part of who I am. I will always do it as long as I am healthy enough to get in the water and swim around. I know people have this view that only rednecks noodle, but they are very wrong. You will run into people from all walks of life that enjoy noodling. The feeling of putting your hand in a dark lake hole and waiting for something to happen is exhilarating. Being able to win the battle in man vs. beast also has its draw, but for the most part I just enjoy getting out and experiencing life.


Yeah….so how is that for a Monday post? Bet you didn’t see that one coming. I like to keep you guessing around here. Honestly though, I appreciate that Eric does what he loves despite stereotypes that surround it and people (like me) calling him a redneck. He’s a great guy and I am thankful to call him my brother-in-law.

So because I am curious….How many of you have Noodled? How many have never heard of Noodling?

One more disclaimer: All fish caught are for food…if you leave a mean comment about my bro I will delete it…it’s my blog πŸ™‚

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  • lesley graham - i watched a show on that once. not gonna lie, kind of freaks me out. mostly i’m afraid of touching big fish. i appreciate the art of noodling though!

  • andy - never been noodling. but my husband and i were both raised in the south and when we moved to washington state people would ask us some of the strangest things. one of which, have you ever noodled. we had never heard of it. so a friend of ours showed us a video on it. i was great. still not convinced to so it either but more power to the people who do. those look like bigger catfish than i could ever catch with a pole. πŸ™‚

  • Sheila - I love your disclaimer, lol. He is a brave (crazy??) man! This was interesting, thanks Ashley. I think your sister has mentioned it on her blog before, but I wasn’t really sure how it worked.

  • Cristy - I saw something about it, I think it was on the Discovery Channel. We used to live on a lake, my hubby caught one that was close to the surface and he reached in and scooped it up with his hands and tossed it on shore. It was “”this big”” (hee hee hee… fishing story humor)
    Those are big fish they are catching, new meaning to “are the fish biting?”

  • Sarah - I have never heard of “Noodling” before. I thought it had to do with pasta or making noodles. Anyway, it would freak me out completely to have some “BIG” monster fish try to bite my hand off. I have small hands and they could do it. Those fish are huge though and fat. Betcha your sister will be eating good this week!

  • Natalie@TheShadyAcre - We have the Brazos River nearby, and I know several people that noodle there. I can imagine there is a rush of adrenaline when the fish bite! It’s not my thing, but I think it’s pretty brave and a lot more exciting than pole fishing!

  • Stacy Brunner - Ashley, did I just read about catching catfish with your hands over my morning coffee?! I come here for the crafts and cute kids!! And yet, now I can’t feel accomplished until I’ve wrastled a catfish from a lake to my plate…

  • emmybrown - I like your style, AshleyAnn!! You are so funny in the midst of being very informative. πŸ™‚ I have never heard of noodling, so I feel smarter having just read this! And, those fish are AMAZING!

  • Stephanie - I think this is great! Do what you love and love what you do! I have heard of noodling but have never tried it myself…my husband/father-in-law have done something similar with snapping turtles. My only disappointment is that you didn’t share any recipes! Your family MUST have great recipes!

  • Anna Joy - Love the interview!! The hubby watches a lot of shows on noodling but I’m not sure he’s convinced on doing it. More scared that a water moccasin will bite his hand instead of the catfish! But you never know…maybe if somebody convinced him hard enough he’d do it!

  • Elizabeth Hall - Love it! I’ve reeled in an 8 pound catfish and that was a major struggle! I have no idea how they bring in that large of a catfish – impressive. It’s also referred to as hillbilly hand fishing around here (but that’s meant in the most non-offensive way). I can’t believe you didn’t ask “does it hurt” in your interview… the battle wounds and his mention of fear leads me to believe it maybe hurts a bit. Thanks for the randomness!

  • keely - I went to the Noodling Festival in Pauls Valley a few years ago. It’s another world! I appreciated his perspective. I won’t *just* call them all rednecks anymore! πŸ™‚

    And I love me some fried catfish!

  • Teresa Johnson - Ashley, I love that you did a post about this. My husband has been wanting to try it with friends, but hasn’t planned the road trip south.

  • the whyte house - drama and excitement around every corner…and it’s only MONDAY! can’t wait to see what the rest of the week is like. lol.

    so firecracker’s bday is coming soon…are you on month 4 of prepping?? πŸ™‚ can’t wait to see all of your hard work!

  • allison - I have never heard of noodling. Very interesting and resourceful. And, no, I will not be trying that anytime soon. My hands are too TINY!! But I totally get the whole adrenaline rush thing.

  • robyn - No, I have never noodled. But, I have heard of if and know a few people who do it. My husband has participated in a wild hog hunt before. More craziness. Great post and very interesting “food for thought”.

  • Sarah - Oh my goodness, I don’t think I could handle this! I would have an anxiety attack waiting for the fish to bite. Plus, I’m kind of a wuss and wouldn’t like being bitten!

  • Jenn - Hmmm….. still freaks me out a little bit!

  • Corinne - Very interesting. Loved the intereview…but does it hurt when the fish bites your hand?

  • RachelC - Wow! Eric’s interview made me want to get my adrenaline pumping!! I have never tried noodling, but maybe I’ll add it to my bucket list. My brother would be proud!

  • Carla - I have never heard of noodling, but I’m pretty sure I would never try it… sounds a little scary for me. My hubby on the other hand might be interested, maybe he’s even tried it, I don’t know, I’ll have to ask him. Thanks for sharing, I like to learn something new every day.

  • beth - sure makes men who use fishing poles look like wimps !!

    i grew up eating catfish perfectly prepared by my loving grandmother….oh the memories of catfish floured perfectly and fried up in her cast iron skillet…..yum !

  • Brooke - I actually saw something on t.v. about noodling before, so I knew what it was. I was going to ask about what he does with all of those fish after they’re caught, but you answered that. how long will he be eating catfish? it seems like he caught a ton and they’re huge!

  • Susan - LOL! Being married to a redneck, I LOVE this post…Have I been? NO, No, & NO! Will I go? You can guess….NO! :0) But I would definitely eat my share of fried catfish.

  • Beth H. - I like how the Okie Noodling logo at the top has a hand with only four fingers. Should we take that as some kind of warning?!?! Hahaha!

  • Andrea - Wow, very cool! I have never heard of noodling before but it is so interesting. I can’t believe how big the catfish are! Thanks for sharing and teaching me something new today. πŸ™‚

  • Sarah @ Handbags*N*Pigtails - Oh my gosh. Ive never heard of this. And all I can say is, to each his own. I cant imagine doing this(esp seeing those wounds) but….well that all I have to say:)
    *As much as this post freaked me out, Im glad you posted it because I learned something:)

  • Abigail - I’ve never heard of noodling before…and “noodling” sure doesn’t make me think of catching and wrestling fish to shore with your bare hands! I kinda wish I liked the taste of fish so I’d be more tempted to expand my horizons and try it…

  • Brook Stewart - Living in SE Kansas (not far from you), people around here do it all the time! I’ve never done it myself, nor do I plan to! But I do get it…I’m just not that brave! lol

  • Amanda - This post is why I love your blog(s)! I have hears of it and know that I would never be that brave! And the fish themselves, well they are a scary bunch of lookin’ things!!! Thanks for this!!!

  • sarah - 1) I can see your pictures today… I havent been able to for a couple months now and I am pretty sure it just made.my.monday
    2) I also live in OK so I have for sure heard of noodling… I just always heard it was really dangerous bc the catfish can take you under and drown you. Tell that brother in law of yours to be carefull
    3) That sweet p sure is a looker!!!

  • nicole - In my former life I worked for an ad agency, and we did a lot of work for boat and boat engine manufacturers, so I HAVE in fact heard of noodling!! Not for everyone but more power to them, I say! Everyone should have a hobby and hey – it’s legal….so that’s more than some people can say about their extracurricular activities, right?!?!

  • Kelly - There is not enough money in the world to convince me to do something like that! Wowza! He’s a brave man!

  • Lauren Klouda - AWESOME! Go Eric! I have heard of noodling. I haven’t done it. My husband has and they kinda caught snapping turtles a similar way while growing up. If I was starving and had to feed my babies I would noodle. Until then I will cheer on any one else that wants to give it a try. There is nothing like the food you catch yourself and eat. Go Eric!

  • dawn - *awwww*
    i love this morning’s post.

    thought your brother in law would like to see a texas catfish. i don’t think my grandpa noodled, though. guys are crazy.


  • Rebecca - Just watched an episode of “Swamp People” and they were depicting a couple guys noodling. My husband didn’t know what it was, however I did – thanks to you. You mentioned something about your brother-in-law doing this a few months back. The thought of doing this makes me shrug my shoulders past my earlobes.

  • Sarah A - WOW! This post (and the majority of comments) reminds me again of the difference between guys and gals. I would be scared beyond belief to stick my hand under a dark rock! No thank you! But how fun that your bro-in-law loves it and has such a good time. I love his reasons for doing it. You go dude!

  • Melanie - My husband’s family is from Oklahoma. He has told me tales of his “fore fathers” noodling in the Great Depression for food. I always laughed. . . and now, I am eating my words. I’m sorry, Honey!!

  • Steph - You think you’ve heard of everything, then this pops up…wow. That sounds so cool and natural and energetic, and I got a rush of fear just reading about it. Pretty sure wading through the water sticking my hand in dark holes for enormous fish to attack is the embodiment of my nightmare. What a completely cool, back-to-nature hobby, hope your sister enjoys fish for dinner, they clearly have it often!! πŸ™‚ PS gotta say it, that’s one good-looking family I tell you what.

  • ashley jensen - Being an Okie I knew all about noodling even before it was on TV. No I would never try it. I know how big fish can get in the lakes (especially the bottom feeders like catfish) that grow much larger than 50 lbs. Being nipped on by perch is no fun so there is no way I would intentionally let a fish bite my hand! I might have to become BFF’s with Lesley so I can crash their fish fry! I. Am. Jealous. of all that fish!

  • Faith Buss - I’m no expert, but I did live in Pauls Valley for 5 years…home of the Okie Noodling Tournament every July. I actually helped put the tournament on one year when I worked at the local Chamber of Commerce. They had a giant glass trailer filled with water and did demonstrations….freaky. I sold $12,000 worth of tee shirts, hats and stickers. People LOVE noodling. The tournament was born 10 years ago because a guy made a documentary called Okie Noodling. It runs on OETA occasionally. Since then, he’s made Okie Noodling II. Crazy people. Fun post!

  • Emily Langston - I’m from the Ozarks… I believe right where Rednecks come from so I, of course, know what it is. I don’t know anyone personally, but I have seen some movies about it and they are hilarious!!!! My son thought it was the coolest thing in the world. He loved your pictures of the fish!

  • Renata - See…I always learn something new from you. πŸ™‚

  • Kari - My cousin and neighbors have noodled for years. I’ve never tried it or had a desire to try!! My biggest fear is that a beaver would be in that hole instead of a catfish!! Another cool note about my neighbor, he caught a record size alligator gar and it’s on display at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks! His name is Sean Chatham.

  • Lisa - So…he’s a little crazy, but at least he’s pretty hot. πŸ™‚ And your family will always have some yum fried catfish to eat!

  • heather - We have some friends that noodle. I’ve always thought they were crazy. πŸ™‚ It’s so dangerous but they love the rush (and it’s much safer than drugs. ha!) I don’t think it’s for rednecks at all, it’s for people who love the great outdoors. We also never turn away some fried catfish. yumm-o!

  • Aaren - Never heard of Noodling…soI’ll consider it something new I learned today. Thanks.

  • Monique W - Awesome-sauce πŸ™‚

  • Kacee - I actually just saw this on a tv show recently (like last weekend). I don’t remember what show it was but they had a business where they took people out to noodle. The episode I watched they had 2 or 3 southern mamas and they wanted to prove they could do it. And sure enough they did and they were so proud. I don’t know if I’d be able to do it. I have done a lot of things since living on the farm that I wasn’t sure I’d ever do. One of which was help birth a calf from a 1st time mama, which required me putting my hand up to feel the calf’s legs and mouth inside it’s mom so we could get a string around it’s legs to pull it out. That was an experience.

  • Alice H - crazy noodler’s!! looks like it could be fun, but I am not going to try it out that’s for sure!! But I do love eating catfish!

    And hello Dominic’s muscles…so nice to meet you!

  • Cassie - Those suckers are ug-ly.

  • Addie - Heard of it, seen it on tv, but never done it!

  • Emily - all of this is news to me, but a) catfish poboys taste GOOD and b) this is just about the most humane way to catch a fish I’ve ever heard of…so you can enjoy them guilt free! Love it.

  • pinksuedeshoe - So my question (which might already be in the comments, I didn’t read them all) is do noodlers actually eat these fish? I’ve heard they are tasty, but man, they are the uglist suckers alive. Or dead, or whatever.

  • Kae - hello! that is cool!..but crazy. would never do that because i’m a wuss. & i’ve never heard of noodling before. i really learn something new every day! question…how does your sister feel about her husband doing this? πŸ™‚

  • Jenny B. - I’ve heard of noodling before, but I’m pretty sure only from your blog or Lesley’s. I think Eric’s friend, Dominic, needs to put on some green paint and be the Incredible Hulk for Halloween. πŸ™‚

  • Jill - I have heard of this, but must admit I kind of thought it was a joke – kind of along the lines of snipe hunting and that getting people to put their hand in a hole was the goal. Then you would be laughed at to high heaven for falling for the trick.
    NO WAY would I put my hand into a hole and WANT something to bite it! I can’t even handle the anticipation of getting my finger pricked at the doctor!

  • tiffani - I have heard of noodleing-I’ve seen a ‘document’ on it on the discovery channel; and yes, I too, stereo typed but your bro in law has opened my a eyes to that;) However, I will not ever do this. Crazy. Awsome post though-so intriguing!!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - oh no you didn’t post on noodlin’!!!

    that is awesome!

    and i didn’t see one mullet in the whole post!

    ; )

  • Georgia - First, I love that you will delete any mean comments! I had heard of noodling, but love knowing so much more about it. And I LOVE how you snuck in the picture of Sweet Pea! Brilliant.

  • amber - My husband will love this post. Something he watches, but won’t try! Can’t blame him…it’s freaky. Texas lakes have catfish that big too…he could get lucky if he ever tried it! We do love some good fried catfish…but for now, we’ll just stick with ordering it off someone else’s menu;).

  • meg duerksen - good job on taking control of the blog comments!
    i saw a show on this and i about died.
    it’s one of my worst nightmares.
    and they are doing it for fun.
    it’s seriously terrifying to think of being bit in a lake.
    i try to avoid getting in a lake or pond because i can’t really stop thikning about fish and turtles and snakes. my kids don’t know this. i doubt craig even knows this.
    but i am just so afraid of it.
    and now…..that i know THAT insanity is in the water with me…..i will most likely NEVER go in again. i had no idea that catfish were so big.
    the end.
    no more water.

  • Amy - Oh my goodness. This is so strange but cool! I would so be up for putting my hand in the plate that was serving these catfish but my hand in a hole in the water you cant see through……no no no. The first thing I thought is what else must they have found in those holes that wasn’t catfish! Fun post. Thanks.

  • Ashley - WHOA! I’ve never even heard of this.. looks crazy fun!

  • Paulina J! - Hi Ashley,
    I saw a PBS special on noodling. It was fascinating, but I don’t think I could ever do it. I would be afraid of what else could grab my hand. Has you BIL ever been bitten by anything else besides a fish? Just curious.

  • Terrie - i only know what it is because a show did a storyline on it (and they are total rednecks). i wouldn’t go near a big hole with nothing but my arm, but hey, he seems to love it, so more power to him.

  • Juli - Mmmmm, catfish…
    I think I’ll go to Cracker Barrel instead of shoving my hand in a crevice under the water, though! LOL!

  • Lisa Pummel - Gross! He’s a brave man – I’d freak out! And those fish are ugly, but the guys are pretty cute πŸ™‚

  • Marykay - Yeah, I’ve watched a show on noodling on the redneck channel… Seriously though, it does seem pretty cool but I would never try it plus I think it is illegal in WA. Thanks for the fun post, i like your disclaimers too πŸ™‚

  • Lesley - Hey folks, it’s the sister & wife of the noodler. To answer some questions, yes it hurts. I have never done it but I watch all the time. It’s really entertaining but you can actually hear the noise of the bite above water. The guys get rocked pretty good by the big ones. Also, Eric hasn’t and none of the guys he’s been noodling with has ever been bitten by anything other than a fish. They don’t go to super deep holes either. Their heads are usually above water the whole time when they are checking holes so there’s not much danger in drowning. Some guys will swim 12′ down to look for fish but not Eric. They are pretty safe about it all things considered πŸ™‚ Glad his hobby has entertained you all this morning!

  • natalie - I reeled in a 30lb Halibut once in Alaska! But, there could be SNAKES in those dark holes…

  • Lacy M. - Yep I live in NW Oklahoma and it’s quite popular here too!! I would NEVER do it but I’ve been with friends back in high school that did it. I little too creepy for my liking!!

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag - I have never in my life heard of such a thing! AWESOME!! Very Bear Grylls-esque!!

  • Brooke Leigh - I’ve never really heard or experienced anything similar to noodling, but let me be 100% honest with you. After reading this post, I could totally see my father getting all up in there, having the time of his life catching those catfish.

    Eric is a brave man, one who does what he loves. Amazing. Just amazing. Thank you for sharing this, it gave me a sense of rush this morning with my coffee, & the only thing I’ll be catching with my hands anytime soon is squirt toys from the kiddie pool out back.

  • Maria - Never heard of it except here I think…and we are in the South. I could never do it…that would seriously give me nightmares….but I would gladly eat any catfish from someone ELSE doing it….yummy…think I may need some fried catfish this week now…

  • Mercedes - I have to say I am an animal rights defender, I love animals, I do… so I have BIG respect for people that get their food with their own hands!! way to go! I have seen the noddling on TV, but where I grew up there is nothing like it, so I have no connotation to rednecks… where I grew up (Mexico) there are no rednecks, it is totally different socially (not better)… nice post! Mercedes

  • Sarah - I have heard of it from a couple of TV shows. I believe Man Vs. Wild implemented noodling once.
    I think it’s amazing, but I’m thinking I’m not going to stick my arm in a hole and wait for something to bite.

  • Trudy - I saw it once on a news special and thought it was crazy. Fascinating! I’d be scared just being in the same water where these large fish were swimming. He’s brave alright.

  • Hannah B - I’ve heard of noodling. It’s been in the news here in Texas recently because apparently it was illegal here but they recently passed a law making it legal. I know a couple of people who do it. It’s interesting but something I would never try. Reaching down into murky water waiting for something to bite me sounds pretty scary to me. But it’s neat that your bro-in-law enjoys catching his fish like that. He’s right; it is kind of a cool connection to the past.

  • karen eyink - I saw a documentary about it. Wild is all I am saying.

  • Kate S. - Maybe because my area doesn’t have a population of fish anywhere near that size, this practice seems kind of depressing to me. It almost seems a shame to see such a large, obviously mature fish be captured. Are there really that many Catfish of that size in your area to make that practice sustainable? I can’t even imagine.

    Don’t misunderstand, I have no complaints about hunting or fishing–I see both practices as an improvement on eating meat that has been factory farmed–but something about this just makes me a little sad. I’d never heard of it before.

  • Karen - I’ve never done it but I remember going with my dad and his friends when I was little. They would let me go and ride in the boat. They loved it.

  • Mindy Harris - fish kinda gross me out but thanks for the eye candy today.
    i didn’t mind seeing the cutie pies with their shirts off.
    what? πŸ˜‰

  • Mary - I have been with men when they noodle, but I have never been brave enough to stick my hand under the rocks. I get enough of a thrill and feel close to nature watching them do it. And for the record, noodling in Texas rivers is illegal, so when we first came to Oklahoma, I was surprised to learn that they have noodling tournaments!

  • Jenna - I know about noodling, but it was fun to read about! And you would never catch me doing it! Uh, uh – no way! Down here people wrestle gators, which I think would be pretty scary and exhilarating too! But you won’t catch me doing that either. πŸ™‚

  • Jessica - this is so great! as a MS girl, i’m glad to hear that ‘rednecks’ all around the country enjoy God’s creation πŸ™‚

  • Carrie - I have never heard of noodling but it sounds fun! I would never do it but my husband sure would! And… since we are in Lesley and Eric’s small group I can safely imagine that there will be words about Eric holding back on this fun sport, hehe, I can see John going out with him soon for some noodling fun, I want some of that catfish, yum πŸ˜‰

  • Margaret - hahahaha…this post is too funny. I’m from Kentucky and my husband has several friends that go noodling. He is trying to work up the courage to go, but just can’t bring himself to do it yet. He always talks about how cool the ‘beast v. man’ battle is.

  • Jamie - LOL That one is HUGUE!!! I can’t believe he caught that with his bare hands! WOW
    I had never heard it called noodling, but my son is obsessed with Bear Grylls so we watch Man vs. Wild all the time and he has tried fishing with his hands…I don’t think he was terribly lucky with it though…LOL

  • Robyn Farmer - I love all of his answers.

  • Isabel Heliodora - Hi Ashley,

    I’m from Brazil and always read your blog. And I copy something that you teaches. But, what is that?? Sounds amazing, wonderful!! Uau. I’m totally impressed. Do you have a video?

    Ps: Sorry about my english, in july I’ll start an course.

  • Heather - Hi Ashley, I have never heard of noodling but my dad used to go “goodling” which is catching trout in streams, using only his hands. Apparently he tickled the trout and they would stay still and then he would flip them up onto the bank. This was in the highlands of Scotland.
    By the way I love your blog.

  • Megg RIggs - i had never even heard of this! when i think noodles – i think cheese! oh my wuuuuuurd!

  • Suzanne D - I just saw an episode of Burt the Conqueror on the Travel Channel, and we went noodling with a group of women noodling for the first time. I had never heard of it before, but the show looked like everything you talked about above – but he didn’t talk about the bite injuries… more manly to not talk about it I guess. Looks completely crazy to me, but I am sure that we all do things that seem crazy to others! Good job Eric!

  • Rebecca - I saw this on a movie once and I thought it was made up! I cant believe people actually do this, so brave! I usually come to your blog for the gorgeous photos and you didnt dissapoint today with all the hot guys in this post πŸ™‚

  • Pamelotta - There is no way you will ever catch me putting my hand in a dark hold under water. I would love to watch from the shore, though!

    I’m much more comfortable sitting on the bank with a pole and a cork on a line.

    What about snakes? Does he run into water moccasins very often?

  • Jaime A. - So… I guess it’s nothing like “spooning?”

    Couldn’t do it. Fish are UGLY. Blech.

  • Amy C - LOL! I have to admit my brother does this πŸ˜‰

  • Ashley - yup! totally random! ha! I just asked my husband if he knew what it was and totally expected him to look at me wierd and say…”Huh?”…but he knew what it was! I had no idea this sport even existed. Ya learn something new everyday!:)

  • Susan Caing - the first thing that came into my mind when i read Noodling, is noodles. i never thought it’s about catching fish. hahaha

  • Lacey - My husband has been BEGGING me to let him do this ever since we moved to western Oklahoma. A lot of guys he works with find it to be a fun hobby, but I’m not willing to let him sacrifice one of his hands quite yet. Plus, I’ve convinced myself that he would get bit by one some ginormous Oklahoma snake. Your post may be softening me though…..

  • Jennifer - This should be one of the requirments for that show “fear factor.”
    Menacing, dark, wet, holes are NOT getting these prissy little paws!!

  • StarHughes - Oh my goodness that is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!! Or heard of! And that battle scar!

  • Lisa - I have heard about this since we moved here two years ago. It sounded crazy to me. I can’t believe they are brave enough to stick their hands in any dark hole expecting a bite – but from one of those big things? YIKES! Yes, a whole new respect for Noodling folk. It still seems pretty gross, but you have to be serious about fishing like that. Wow.

  • amy - …only in America……..(and I mean that in the best way possible.) I’m military stationed in Germany — and I can say that this post made a tad homesick. Love it.

  • Elizabeth K - This post is exactly why I read blogs….to learn things I didn’t already know! Also, now I really have a craving for some fried catfish and it’s barely 8am.

  • Pamela - They actually screened a documentary about, it in South Africa. My thoughts- “geez, those Americans are more crazy than I initially thought…..”

  • Jenny Wenzel - I am familiar with noodling, although I have never done it! But what I think is the funniest about the entire post is the noodling logo and the hand that only has 4 fingers! That makes me laugh!

  • Gretchen - Wow, that is exactly the kind of crazy I like. Noodle on, gentlemen! PS One of your sons looks like Eric.

  • Gretchen - Oops, that doesn’t sound right since he’s your sister’s husband. I just mean that one of your boys has the same rugged cuteness.

  • Lisa - okay. So I reposted this to facebook. I have not only tried to understand this sport of sorts, but others just need to know about it. Off topic a bit, where might your brother-in-law suggest going to find some crawdads? I know you have posted on some. My kids are wanting to find some of their own around here. Thanks!

  • tracy ashley - one of my favourite quotes from a tv show we watch regularly is,
    “do you know what noodlin’ is?”
    “what kind of hill-billy are you?”

    just made me laugh to think of okie noodling while so far away (did you know there’s even a documentary on it, called “okie noodling”?)

    great post ashley!

  • twirlingbetty - That.is.hilarious. I’m considering the possibility that it was noodling that led someone to first use the phrase “Only in America”. I can’t stop laughing for some reason.

  • Shannon - BOOMER!

  • amber - i have seen the tv show and my thoughts on noodling are not good. however, God made us each different and what does it for someone might not do it for the next person. i do understand the thrill of it though! : ) rock on!

  • Heather - My kids LOVE catfish but there’s no way I could do that! Even if someone promised me it doesn’t hurt (which apparently it does), I know I couldn’t leave my hand in the hole long enough for a fish to bite. I’d keep pulling it out because I’d be afraid. I would imagine it is quite a rush, though. Those are the biggest catfish I’ve seen. I wonder if they get that big around here and if people noodle for them in this area. That would make for a great dinner πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post!

  • Blair - Ha! That’s awesome. My uncle will scoot along in his boat and electrify the fish with an old car battery. they all kinda go into shock and float up to the top and you can just scoop ’em into your boat. good ol’ carolina.

  • Lisa Keen - O my! how funny…I am from Pauls Valley which anually hosts the Okie Noodling Tournament every June! hahah! Yes, I know about noodling πŸ™‚ lol There are all kinds of news people that go there to report live– even Fox News! Too Funny πŸ™‚

  • Mandy - I cannot believe I was raised in KENTUCKY and have never heard of noodling! However I have caught a monster catfish in my time. Not sure if I would be brave enough to noodle..Just seeing them in the photos in that water makes me cringe and I’m no girly-girl by any means. Looks fun though!

  • Nori R - Well, ain’t that a kicker. Teehee!!! I hadn’t heard of noodling, but I’m sure it’s practiced in Pennsylvania by some too. We’re rather resourceful, and many people are connected to the land from many generations back of early settlers, who fought to make it habitable. Yay for laughing at stereotypes. πŸ™‚

  • nathan thompson - I noodle and its a blast. Its a big adrenaline rush. If any one is around the oklahoma region id be willing to take them out noodling with my brother and I. Contact me at n.thompson91.nt@gmail.com