Catfish Noodling Questions - Tips, Helpful Answers, Guides

by Jason (Webmaster)
(World Wide Web)

Hello catfish noodling enthusiasts!

This question and answer section is dedicated to the overwhelming amount of frequently asked questions that I often receive regarding the great adrenaline-rushing sport of handfishing for catfish.

Just about every week I receive questions through my contact page and e-mails about catfish noodling... mostly regarding information about noodling for catfish guides and services.

Sometimes, it becomes a little difficult to keep up with answering so many of your questions overall.

As always, I enjoy hearing any, and all feedback from you, so don't be shy.

If you have questions about okie noodling, grabblin', grabbling, handfishing, hand grabbing (or whatever you like to call bare handed fishing for catfish), then feel free to ask them here.

If I can't answer them here, hopefully somebody else can help point you in the right direction to give you the information you are looking for.

Helpful Resources About Catfish Noodling

Catfish Noodling Tips - This section offers cool information and helpful tips about noodling for catfish, including a fun handfishing video.

Catfish Noodling Guides - This section invites noodling guides to submit their services - guided trip information, contact information, and fees.

Comments for Catfish Noodling Questions - Tips, Helpful Answers, Guides

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Clean catfish holes
by: Brian Coffman

I've been on a guided noodling trip and since then I am hooked on it. As soon as we got back home I've hit lakes, rivers, and creeks looking for flatheads to grab. I still have not caught a cat. My dad and friends go with me but they're scared. And since grabbing a big water snake, I am weary my self.

I need to know where are the best places for holes? And how to tell if they're clean or not without jamming a stick in and scarring one out back door?

Would greatly appreciate any advice.

by: Anonymous

Hey, I'm from South Carolina and it's a pretty big deal down here. We love eating catfish, they're a delicacy.

Anyways, my dad used to go grabblin about everyday, but he only has two daughters and we still go grabblin. However, you know how dads are with their daughters... he doesn't like us getting the big ones! He's worried about us.

Also do you know if Lake Secession has good flatheads? It's the only lake in Iva.

Noodling Gloves
by: Anonymous

Where can I buy catfish noodling gloves?

RE: Catfish Noodling Gloves
by: Anonymous

@ Anonymous,

You should be able to find catfish noodling gloves at just about any sports department store or at a bait and tackle shop. You can try places like Bass Pro Shops, Cabela's, Big 5, or even Walmart.

If you prefer, you can order gloves online from a retailer such as those listed above, or from Amazon or eBay.

Type in something like "fish grip glove" or "fishing glove" to begin searching for the right pair of gloves that will suit you.

Or better yet, I've already done the research for you...

These are the best featured fishing gloves available!

Best of luck to you,

Boat Ramps!
by: Brian Coffman

You can know absolutely nothing about the lake, creek, or river you are trying to noodle, and still catch fish.

99% of boat ramps have catfish holes under the concrete slab.

Start on one side and feel around the edges until your foot goes into a hole. Check all the way around the ramp before you stick your hand in anything. A lot of times there will be multiple holes (possible escape holes). Block them off before checking it.

As for the snakes and turtles.. Try to avoid holes really close to the bank or anywhere there could be air pockets. With more experience you will know immediately if it is a catfish hole that you found. Dirt around the hole will be packed down and slimy from catfish swimming in and out.

Good luck and don't let go!

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Catfish Noodling Guided Trip?

by John

Me and my aunt are crazy and we try many things together. We want to take a noodling trip. Who can I contact to take us on a guided trip one day or some overnight trips?

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Noodling Guides
by: Kevin Busbee

I have been noodling for over 30 yrs. My friend and I are setting up our guide service. We catch over 200 lbs per week and sometimes up to 400 lbs. If you are interested in going noodling call me and we will make it happen. (864) 941-6452. We are in the process of setting up our web page also. We operate out of South Carolina.

Noodling Guides Near Georgia
by: Jason

Hi John,

Since you're from Georgia, it looks like the next closest thing to you that we currently have listed on our website is in Tennessee (aside from what Kevin is offering out of South Carolina). The Tennessee guide services and contact info can be seen at Big TN Cats.

You can check our noodling guide service page for a full list of guides. We occasionally receive new submissions. You can subscribe to our RSS blog feed to receive updates on new pages that appear on the website, which will include new guides submitting their services to us.

Good luck!
- Jason

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Closest Catfish Noodling Guide Near South Carolina?

by Dave
(Simpsonville, South Carolina)

I'd like to know where the closest catfish noodling guide is to me. I live in Simpsonville, SC and my parents live in Westminster, SC on Lake Hartwell. We generally fish for crappie or any pan fish, however we recently started fishing for catfish and have watched many shows about noodling and would love to try it. Please help if you can. Thanks!

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Hillbilly Handfishin' Noodling Guides And Where For 13 Year Old Girl?

by Jaclyn (Jackie)
(Riverview, Florida)

Hi, I'm Jaclyn, but you can call me Jackie, and I'm 13 years old. I love watching the show "Hillbilly Handfishin'". I'm on the verge of turning red neck and I think this will just put me on top. I've always loved to fish ever since I was a kid. So my question is where can I go noodling - like the state and where in the state? And are there like guides to help me for my first catch? Thanks for your help. I REALLY appreciate it :D -- Jackie

Jason's answer:
Hi Jackie,

First of all, I would like to say that you are courageous for wanting to go hand fishing catfish. There are many grown men who wouldn't even dare consider attempting this adrenaline pumping sport. Hats off to you!

To answer your questions, I have posted quite a bit of information about noodling for catfish guides and services.

Follow that link above to learn about guides, when and where you can noodle at. Keep in mind that the best times are often during the spawning seasons - usually around the months of May through July.

On that page, you'll find a few catfish noodling guides offering their services - look down towards the bottom of that page under the title that reads "Catfish Noodling Guides". However, during the fall and winter months, I don't think that they take people out on hand fishing trips. But, if see any that you like, it wouldn't hurt to try to contact any of them to see if it's possible to get on a waiting list for the upcoming season.

By the way, if you do happen to come across another guide not listed there on that page, would you please direct them to that page to submit their services? By doing so, it can help a bunch of other folks looking for the same information as you are right now. Thank you much.

Good luck and happy catfish noodling! And enjoy your conversion into a red neck... ;-)

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Noodling Legal In Florida?

by Adam
(Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

Is Noodling legal in the State of Florida? If so, are there any charters in the Tampa area? I am eager to give this hillbilly handfishing a try!


Jason's reply: Unfortunately, Adam, noodling is NOT legal in the State of Florida.

Florida Fish and Game states that you must use a fishing rod and reel with line and a hook attached.

It seems that any type of fishing done while completely submerged in Florida waters, such as spearfishing while diving, is not allowed at all.

You can check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife website for more complete details of their fishing regulations by following this link here.

Best regards,

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When Is The Best Time To Go Catfish Noodling?

by Stew-Dawg
(Gone Fishin)

I was just wondering as to when do you think the best time is to go hand fishing for catfish?

I'm kind of new to the sport of grabbling. I have fished out a few nice and big fat catfish and love it. I'm just trying to learn as much as possible, and maybe hopefully enter some tournaments one day?

Jason's answer:
The short and quick answer is during the day time in the spawning season around the months of spring and early summer. For a more complete detailed answer, check out When is the best time to go noodling for catfish?

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Why Is Hand Fishing Illegal In Some Places?

by Brady Strecker
(Hoyt, Kansas)

I have been hand fishing for most of my life and I keep wondering why it is illegal. It's just another way of fishing right? But every where I go I have to read all kinds of different laws and rules on it and it gets hard to find places to go. But anyways, I was just wondering why it's illegal to hand fish in a lot of places?

Jason's answer:

Well Brady, I assume that hand fishing is illegal in many places because of safety concerns. Whether you're noodling for catfish or hand fishing for other species of fish, it is a dangerous sport.

Those states probably don't want to deal with it, but more importantly I think that they don't want to be held responsible when folks become injured, or even worse, lose their lives.

Noodlers risk being latched onto by a huge catfish and held under the water to drown to death. But in some places, there are alligators, snakes, beavers, snapping turtles and whatever else that lurk in the waters. Naturally, it's not easy to just legalize hand fishing in those areas.

Safety is usually the number one factor.

Comments for Why Is Hand Fishing Illegal In Some Places?

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Hand Fishing
by: brady strecker

Then why is it legal in some states and not in others?

Legal and Illegal Political Factors
by: Anonymous

Aside from the safety factor, other things may play a role in why some states allow handfishing while others do not.

Money and politics, which can go "hand in hand" (bad pun intended).

I assume that if enough people were to fight to legalize handfishing, then it could possibly become legal. But it would have to make sense financially for whoever is involved, such as for the fish and game department, and/or the government (because they always want to have their hand in the cookie jar too).

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