My Turn: Noodling adds hands-on approach to fishing

By Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

Noodling was started in Oklahoma and is basically fishing with your bare hands.

It can be fun, but there is an element of danger. A noodler can be bitten by a snake or even drown.

Here’s how it works:

Noodlers wade into a river, stream or pond and locate a catfish. They look for holes, submerged trees, brush or anything where a catfish might nest so they can lay their eggs. A noodler reaches into the fish’s nest to wait for a bite.

With the aid of a spotter, the noodler attempts to wiggle their fingers through the fish’s gills and use both hands to pull the fish from the water.

A spotter helps the noodler in different ways, but the spotter’s main purpose is to keep the noodler from drowning.

Don’t try it in New Mexico, because it’s not legal here. But if you’re in the neighborhood, noodling is OK in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas and Missouri.

Clarence Plank is a reporter for the Portales News-Tribune. His column appears on Tuesdays. Contact him at 356-4483 or by e-mail: