Fishing Prudes Ease Up

It’s about time states learned to keep their nose out of our rivers.

Next summer, it will be legal to plunge into some Missouri rivers and grab catfish by hand – a type of fishing that is not for the faint of heart.
Known variously as noodling or hogging, handfishing has long been a misdemeanor punishable by fines, because state officials fear it depletes breeding-age catfish.

Whether or not the catfish are completely depleted, I’m sure they’re rather offended.

It can also be dangerous: Noodlers hold their breath for long periods under water and sometimes come up with fistfuls of agitated snakes or snapping turtles instead of fish.

“Monty, I’ll take what’s behind rock #3.” Or as they say, or should, “There are old noodlers and bold noodlers, but there are no bold 10-fingered noodlers.”

Missouri’s biological concerns are that handfishers, who go for the biggest fish they can wrestle from riverbanks or hollow logs, will take too many sexually mature fish from their underwater nests.

Now how a man grabs a sexually mature catfish is his own business, don’t you think?

So secretive are handfishers that they have formed a club called Noodlers Anonymous. A University of Missouri-Columbia professor who got the group’s cooperation in surveying its members found that most are men, average age about 40, living in rural areas.

Well of course they are, and bored and lonely too, but by making this strange practice illegal you just drive it underwater. As long as the noodlers don’t fish in the same spots as the dynamite fishermen there’s no real harm in it, but forgive me if I choose an electrically operated reel and computer controlled lure as my personal method of pissing off PETA.


  1. 1
    fluke_boy growls and barks:

    pissing off peta is a fun hobby.

  2. 2
    kschlenker growls and barks:

    PETA used to be a great organization–really, it was! It used to confine itself to being against the vivisection of dogs and cats without benefit of painkillers or anethesia. Now it is just a joke.
    The last few years, PETA has put out:
    Lobsters have families too…yeah, and the lobsters would really, really like to find nephew Charlie–and take him permanently to lunch.
    It is cruel to use earthworms for bait because they have families and they have nerve endings so they feel lots of pain when they get used as bait. Taking them out of the ground to use for bait isn’t removing them from the “heart of their family”–they don’t live in family groups. Using them for bait isn’t any more painful than any of the other ways they get eaten. They are at the bottom of the food chain. Most probably end up as mole food.

    As for fishing with bare hands–everybody does it–think little kids catching minnows in ditches. Seems dumb that it was illegal. To keep them from disturbing breeding grounds, just set up a fishing season (which they did). Though I prefer my nice spinning set, I’ve caught fish by hand. Sometimes that pretty fish in a nice stream is just too tempting….

  3. 3
    Mike M growls and barks:

    It’s about time states learned to keep their nose out of our rivers.

    Absolutely true. However, anglers in Missouri will be debating the conundrum created by this Row vs. Wade decision for years to come, though.

  4. 4
    Stormcat growls and barks:

    You know, I’m all for respect for and protection of the earth, so the handfishing thing doesn’t bother me so much.

    But apparently some crazy environmentalist thinks humans caused the Asian tsunami. Now that’s arrogance. I’d dearly love to see this one fisked, since it deserves the talent of a master, of which I am not. (Hint, hint.)

  5. 5
    kschlenker growls and barks:

    I heard that, and that Dan Rather is saying global warming is to fault for it. Sometimes I would really like to find out what interesting plant or chemical they are all smoking.

  6. 6
    Mike M growls and barks:

    In other breaking news from Missouri, Um Yeah has been arrested by Kansas City Police for initiating a false police report regarding a hate crime. Police were able to make the case against him after he got tripped up by the complexities of his own scheme. Via Michelle Malkin.

  7. 7
    B.C., Imperial Torturer? growls and barks:

    Let ’em try ‘n’ noodle this big sumbitch….

  8. 8
    DumbAss Tanker growls and barks:

    I’ve always preferred grenades to dynamite. Weighted to sink nicely, no fuse timing issues…a miracle of both miniaturization and precision in fishing tackle!

    j/k, I actually take the conservation pretty seriously, though I’m of the “catch and eat” school of fishing.

  9. 9
    LC Mamapajamas growls and barks:

    BC…”Let ’em try ‘n’ noodle this big sumbitch….”

    Hoo-eeeeeee! Now, that there’s a catfish! :O What did you use for bait, a pony? 😀

    I prefer ’em plate sized myself, though ;). I like to use hush puppies for bait. It’s a win-win: Catfish are crazy about them, and you can have the leftover bait with the fried catfish :D.

  10. 10
    peter bellone growls and barks:

    Go fuck yourself, you spammin’ piece of shit.—The Management?


  11. 11
    Zeek the Cruel growls and barks:

    “Monty, I’ll take what’s behind rock #3.” Or as they say, or should, “There are old noodlers and bold noodlers, but there are no bold 10-fingered noodlers.”


    Ya know, I’ve got rednecks in my family and none of them have managed to regress to prior to the tool age. Perhaps that requires an unbroken string of ignorance that spans multiple generations.

    Of course, the greatest benefit to this is the knowledge gained. Here’s the etymology lesson I came away with.

    “Handfishing”…so that’s what they call that in the Show Me state.

  12. 12
    LCNeilV growls and barks:

    When catfish are outlawed only outlaws will have catfish…Thats some fish BC damm

  13. 13
    Stormcat growls and barks:

    kschlenker — Not surprised.

    That is one hell of a fish, BC.

  14. 14
    mongo growls and barks:

    As a proud Missourian who has fished the Ozark rivers, lakes, and streams for 50 years, I can also point out that some of us also fish for red horse suckers using ladders and bows/arrows. This is no joke.

    It’s hard to catch a sucker (they have small mouths, and pick up plankton and junk off the stream bottom), but you can gig or spear them. I’ve actually seen people (not “fishermen”) sittng on ladders erected in the middle of the stream so they can get a proper angle to spear or shoot an arrow into a sucker.

    BTW, suckers are bony as hell.

  15. 15
    me growls and barks:

    noodling, or grabblin’ as it’s called in Texas, would actually be harmful if done by too many people in one spot. i think it’s still illegal here.

    that being said, too many people going to one spot doing any one thing causes damage. the same is true with any animal. run 10000 caribou through central park and you’ll see some destruction.

    personally, i never had a problem with it. i just don’t like sticking my hand into holes in a muddy river bank that can contain way nastier stuff than just a catfish. water moccasins tend to clump in groups.

  16. 16
    LC Denita TwoDragons, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    Me’s right–here in TX you have to watch for cottonmouths (another name for water mocs) and they’re a damn aggressive snake to deal with. And most cottonmouths tend to hang out in the very same nice, warm rivers that catfish do.

    Damn BC, if they cut that thing into a fillet, they’re gonna need one HUGE pan to fry it in. Like, say, the hood of a VW! Reminds me of stories Hubby used to tell of the sats in Lake Houston–though I doubt those would have been very edible…


  17. 17
    Sam growls and barks:


    I think if you remove the slightly hysterical “animals are so clever and people are dumb” coating from the article, you’ll find that it’s actually claiming that the effects of the tsunami were worse because mangrove swamps have been replaced by shrimp farms, which don’t absorb as much of the energy.

    Apart from it being in rather bad taste to stand around saying “I told you so” whilst the bodies are still being counted, it seems to be more of an “If you build housing on a flood plain, don’t be surprised when you get wet feet” kind of thing rather than and enviro-nutter’s ranting.

  18. 18
    Sam growls and barks:


    I don’t suppose Rather offered any hint of a mechanism whereby global warming could cause earthquakes?

    I’m quite happy to believe that significant global warming, were it to occur, could cause quite drastic shifts in weather patterns. I’m clearly not nearly smart enough to understand how it could cause an earthquake, though.

  19. 19
    Harvey growls and barks:

    “Now how a man grabs a sexually mature catfish is his own business, don’t you think?”

    LOL! 😀

    Actually, I believe you’re thinking of Massachusetts, not Missouri, on that one 🙂

  20. 20
  21. 21
    LC Bishop, Imperial Titweasel growls and barks:

    Sam, what Rather blathered was that Global Warming? (Dahn, Dahn Dahn!) has raised sea levels, exacerbating the the effects of the tsunami on low lying areas.
    As E-man pointed out, while this is technically true, the few inches of seal level increase attributable to Global Warming? (shriek! Gasp!) was likely not noticable when stacked up alongside the 45 foot high column of water that slammed into the coastlines.

    This is like saying that a boil helped stress the immune system of a terminally ill cancer patient, or that the glue that Rather huffs has helped to lower his IQ.

  22. 22
    LC Bishop, Imperial Titweasel growls and barks:

    Damn those leveling seals.

  23. 23
    LC Xealot growls and barks:

    It’s also like saying Moore got fat because of a single cheeseburger.

  24. 24
    Lord Spatula I, King & Tyrant growls and barks:

    A single cheeseburger and 20 million fries. 😀

  25. 25

    Moore’s not fat, he’s simply acquiring a large mass around his core in order to protect the fragile flame of his soul’s inner fire from us evil right wingers.

    Either that or he’s eaten a small nation.

  26. 26
    LC Army NCO Guy growls and barks:

    Moore is responsible for Dharfur!(sp?) That’s where all those people went!

    (/bad taste)

  27. 27
    LC & IB Mr Minority growls and barks:

    I ranted on this “Global Warming” BS yesterday. And expect to see some nut case blaming it on Bush because he didn’t sign Kyoto Protocol Extortion Act.

    As for Noodlin’, I’m with 2D on this one, here in Texas, where Water Mocs abound, it’s not the smartest thing to go sticking your hand in a hole underwater. Unless you are a Liberal, then go ahead, Noodle all you want, in fact I’ll show you some real good spots.

    Mr Minority

  28. 28
    kat-missouri growls and barks:

    As a resident of Missouri, I find this so damned funny, I almost fell off my chair. I mean, there are probably ONLY 40 people in the entire state that want to “hand fish” in the missouri rivers. Frankly, I’ve never eaten a catfish I’ve caught out of the missouri because I’m pretty damned sure I’d have to burn it in order to kill all the microbes that would probably kill me before I could actually eat it.

    I’m more for fishing in the tributaries. And, folks, this isn’t some lib eco rant, I’m serious when I tell you there are certain places in this state that I wouldn’t want to actually touch the water, much less eat something I caught out of it.

    The Missouri goes right through an industrial area that houses colgate-palmolive and a number of other chemical and other plants. Trust me when I tell you that the poor breeding catfish have nothing to worry about as anyone that lives here knows where to fish and where not to.

    Frankly, I’ve only ever met one guy that talked about the joys of hand fishing. He never caught a damned thing as long as I knew him.

  29. 29
    Perri growls and barks:

    “The earthquake was more severe as a result of global warming because the ocean floor was made more brittle as a result of the sudden rise in temperature over the last 50 years of 0.5 degrees C.”

  30. 30
    Perri growls and barks:

    Or some other BS along that line.

  31. 31
    Old Patriot growls and barks:

    There are several reasons why you don’t “noodle” in Louisiana rivers, and water moccasins are only one of them. Anybody have any experience with gar? Some of those suckers grow to be 7-10 feet long. Can you imagine grabbing THAT in three feet of muddy water? They also bite. HARD. With a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. They also live in the entire Mississippi drainage area. They may vary in size, but not in nastiness.

    Grabbing an alligator by the tail is also considered the start of a very bad day… 8^)

  32. 32
    LC Valerie growls and barks:

    Ditto what you said about eatin’ ANYTHING caught in either the Missouri or the Mississippi rivers. I will eat farm raised catfish, thank you, none of that “free range” stuff.

    Years ago, I knew a guy who was an underwater welder who worked on the old Alton, Ill., lock-and-dam. The day he put down his torch and refused to go back down to the base of the dam was when, in those dark, silt clogged waters, he bumped up against something that pushed back. A huge catfish that he swore was bigger than a VW Beetle.

    I always thought when they got that big they weren’t fit to eat.

  33. 33
    B.C., Imperial Torturer? growls and barks:

    This is EXACTLY why you don’t stick your hands into ANY hole in the ground in FL. (Well, one of the MANY reasons not to here.) (Note: Dumbass alert for that link!)

    Here are more hole-dwelling denizens.

    There are approximately 360 other species of animals that call the burrow home. … Some of these animals use the burrows at the same time a tortoise resides in it, and some species utilize abandoned burrows. Some of the snakes that are known to inhabit gopher tortoise burrows include the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, Crotalus adamanteus; pygmy rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius barbouri; Florida cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti; eastern cottonmouth, Agkistrodon p. piscivorus;…

    Us natives just don’t do it.

  34. 34
    Patriotduck growls and barks:

    Great link to the UM YEAH story…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  35. 35
    Elephant Man growls and barks:

    I heard that Um Yeah joined “Noodlers Anonymous” but was kicked out when it was discovered that his idea of “noodling” didn’t jibe with that of the handfishers.

    He’s still trying to get over the laughter and pointing by the women anglers when he “dropped trou”.

  36. 36
    Patriotduck growls and barks:

    LOL!!! His picture ain’t flattering…he has the perfect face for radio – Moore’s long lost brother?

  37. 37
    LC mrs heather, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    EM, UY is getting a bit uppity on Pardon My English.

    Slap down time? (I’ve already delivered my first blow on the “US is stingy” thread—)

  38. 38
    LC mrs heather, G.L.O.R. growls and barks:

    *The “Never Good Enough” thread* Pardon me.

  39. 39
    Elephant Man growls and barks:

    No problem, mrs heather.

    The slap down has been executed.

    (With a comment addressed to “Tom” as well. )


  40. 40
    brian growls and barks:

    A University of Missouri-Columbia professor who got the group’s cooperation in surveying its members found that most are men, average age about 40, living in rural areas.
    That’s the same as the average Bush voter. No wonder hteir so fucked up

  41. 41
    Mike M growls and barks:

    No wonder hteir so fucked up

    Posted by brian at December 30, 2004 07:04 PM

    So speweth the pot. You can go ahead and correct those transposed letters, brian, but it’d still be wrong in a couple of respects and you’d still have no fucking clue.

  42. 42
    Elephant Man growls and barks:

    If you look closely at brian’s post, you can pinpoint the exact moment he crapped his short-pants when he tried to squeeze out one more fart.