To most people this may seem like a crazy idea. But if you are like me, catching the biggest fish out there is the sign of a good day. Noodling makes it possible to catch fish where a hook and line cannot go. Catfish are typically most active at night, and they rest or lay eggs in large holes made by them or abandoned by other animals under banks and boat ramps, in the bottom of the lake, and so forth during the day.
The best thing about this sport: no equipment. This method of fishing has been around for who knows how long. It really became popular however during the Great Depression when no one had any money. It costs nothing and yields large amounts of meat to feed a family.
Where To Look and When
I have had the most success under large boat ramps. I just feel around with my foot for a large hole then if I have to I’ll dive down and stick my hand down there. If you find a good private boat ramp that is hardly ever used is perfect. There are sometimes holes just borrowed out all along shallow parts of the lake but those can sometimes be hard to find. Your best bet is under landmarks; ie: boat ramps and banks. Noon is the time I have had the most luck with. Fish generally move to deeper water during the middle day, while catfish will go to their usual holes.
How to Bring ’em in
Once you have your hole, all you do is slowly run your hand down there until you a feel a CHOMP! Then grab its lower jar and pull ’em out! Your hand actually works as the bait. Wiggle your fingers and it entices the catfish to bite. Yea it’s pretty crazy but it also is rush. You get a big enough catfish on there you almost have to wrestle the thing out of there.
Now as unsafe as it sounds…yea it’s not really safe at all. Even though chances are good that hole has a massive catfish laying in it, there may be some other toothy critters waiting on the inside. Loggerhead snapping turtles, snakes, and depending on where you live, alligators, also love to inhabit these former catfish holes.And some people will dive down several feet to reach these holes. I personally do not recommend this and I have never tried it. I will only go a couple feet underwater just in case something were to happen. There is always that chance that fish will be too big to swim up with attached to your arm. And with you wanting to swim up and it wanting to swim down, it may not turn out pretty. I only do this in water where my feet can touch the ground for leverage.
If you really want to give this a try but are scared of the consequences of choosing a bad hole, I recommend using a long, thin PVC pipe with a line going through the middle attached to a large treble hook. This allows you to make sure you have a catfish while not risking losing your fingers. It’s a win-win for you.
That’s basically all there is to it! Good luck and be careful!