"Grabbing" huh? No wonder my husband doesn’t like to fish! When he moved here that left that technique of fishing in Knoxville! I’m working on that though, with a rod and reel of course.
Rustie246: In Tennessee, it is called grabbing and I am like you, I am not sticking my hands into any dark hole.
Paul E. Smith
Ever hear of Okie Noodlin’????? It’s where you search out cracks and crevices with your hand/arm. Catfish like to hide in these type places. Once you locate a fish, you thrust your arm in the crevice and down the fishes throat….pull him out. Apparently there are three families in Oklahoma that are hooked(pardon the pun)on this type of fishing. It’s a one of a kind method for sure, even the children do it! We’ve aired the show on our PBS station several times….Different, very different. Give me a hook and some chicken liver please…
Jug fishing must be a growing phenomenon across the country. On most summer weekends M and I are out on the rivers around St. Louis and we see more and more jug fishermen. Two weeks ago on the Missouri we ran into what appeared to be a jug fishing tournament. Folks had a weigh-in station set up at the boat ramp complete with a generator to power electric fans. There must have been 20 boats up and down the river drifting amidst a sea of bleach bottles and other floats of various descriptions. Can’t say that we saw anything caught, however.
In Missouri the law requires jug fishermen to have the jugs in sight all the time so you can’t just throw ’em out and pick them up at the end of the day. The result is you see boats drifting down the river with floats all around them. Kinda like a spider sitting a its web. I assume this must be a successful tecnique or there wouldn’t be so many people taking it up.
Around here, and I live 15 miles from lakes marion and moultrie (Santee), they use the jug-fishing method to catch the big channel and blue catfish. Many of the fishermen around here sell them from the back of their pickup trucks at choice locations. I have never purchased catfish this way. Don’t really trust the sanitary (or lack thereof) conditions !
Jug-fishing needn’t be a commercial operation. I have a couple of friends who fish for catfish using that technique. They use Bleach jugs with color-coded numbers on them…and two-litre bottles. They typically put out about 25-50 jugs and haul them in several hours later. It isn’t very ‘sporting’ but it sure puts filets in the freezer and on the table.[;)]
Recently I have noticed fishermen bottle fishing in the river in front of my house. They will drop about a hundred (two) litre soft drink bottles capped and empty, baited and dropped along the Tennessee River. They will let the set for several hours and then chase them and harvest their catch.
My question is what do they do with them. How can they get them certified for sale. There is obviously too much for home consumption.
I know of no restaurants in the area that would take their catch and cook them for sale.
I watched them last Sunday and it appears that they caught several hundred pounds. They obviously cannot consume that much.
Appreciate your thoughts.
Paul E. Smith
My grandfather, who ran a fishing camp on Lake Buchanan, called it "trot-line" fishing. We used to go out on the lake with him in the mornings and bait the trot lines decorated by bleach bottles he had let us draw happy faces etc…on. Later in the day we would go "run the trot-lines".
He caught tons of catfish, channel cats, and some times alligator gars which he would bonk over the head and throw back.
The biggest exciment was sometimes he would hook a huge "yellow-cat". Then he would take us kids back to shore and get the "men-folk" to go back out and help him wrestle it in. I think the biggest one was about 67 pounds.
As for the noodling, my father is an Okie boy, and he just laughs about it, and said he never was brave enough to try it.
Sometime last year, there was a program about it on PBS. A real eye-opener!
They just had a big noodlin tournement here in Okla at Lake Eufalla—about 200 guys showed up and a lot big fish grabbed—if your thinking about trying it—remember–catfish are not the only denizons of those holes–more then a few noodlers have been surprised by snakes and snapping turtles and THAT will take the "spot" out of your fishing day!!![xx(] and if your think its easy to heft a 65lb cat out of hole he doesnt want to leave with one arm thats 1/3 swallowed is easy—well then–go for it!
Bill Dance had an entire show on "jug fishing" yesterday on OLN. He was out on the river between Greenville and Memphis. Instead of jugs they were using closed end lengths of PVC. Caught a bunch. It was nice to see Bill fishing on a "real" body of water instead of his personal lake in Memphis with all of his pet fish (I swear he has caught the same fish so many times he has names for them)
In North Louisiana, that catfish grabbing technique is called "grabbling".
Noodling is practiced in many areas, and here in Ohio there are people who specialize in this sport. I’ve tried it, and did not find it to be a fun way to spend my time, especially after getting horned by a shovelhead.
Catfish that size seem like they would be too fatty. I like fried catfish but not when it has that jelly-like substance, it makes the fish taste like the bottom feeders they are. I prefer the smaller fish, especially the tail section fried to a crispy golden brown!
Rusty and Paul,
Noodlin’ (sp?) is an accepted technique especially in Kentucky. Many of the guys (it tends to be a man-thing) who do it mark their favorite places..or dig out prospective locations along the river banks during the summer ‘low-water’ time, then when the water level rises they have ‘pre-set’ spots to do their groping. In the book "Catfishing Techniques" it reminds you to wear gloves as more than one finger has been lost during the man/fish battle. Tugging an 60 lb catfish out of a submerged cave when it doesn’t want to go is a real WWF type of skill!
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