If you thought you had to be fearless to go alligator hunting with the Swamp People or tough to fish crab with the guys from the Deadliest Catch, you’re not going to believe what is involved in Noodling, the outdoor sport highlighted on Animal Planet’s new show, Hillbilly Hand Fishin’.
^ Skipper Bivins (right) demonstrates noodling through Big Fish Adventures, LLC
Noodling is simple, really. You just wade into chest deep water, find a deep hole or hollow log where a big male catfish might be sitting on some eggs, stick your hand in the hole, and let the fish bite you. Then, while its dozens of little teeth are shredding
your arm the bait, you wrap your legs around its thrashing tail, pull it out of the water, throw it into a boat, and try to get your arm back.
And, oh yeah, sometimes the holes don’t have catfish in them. Sometimes noodlers are accidentally sticking their arms into the homes of snakes or snapping turtles or beavers instead. Those critters like “hand” too.
Skipper Bivins is the big daddy of Noodling, also called Hand Fishing, and he will be starring in Animal Planet’s new show, Hillbilly Hand Fishin’. Noodling, like gator hunting, is a family affair, and Scooter Bivins, Skipper’s brother is a noodler, too. The Bivins family traces their hand fishing techniques back for generation, and they keep the traditions alive through their business Big Fish Adventures.
From their web site:
Catching fish in their domain with your bare hands and feet may seem impossible to some, but unto the Bivins family, it has become a family tradition and a passion. We have been noodling for several generations, perfecting techniques that enable us to catch fish that are just swimming or lying on the bottom of rivers and the creeks, or in brush piles. Open water noodling takes much practice and a lot more skill, but catching a fish when it is protecting it’s nest of eggs and is intent upon biting any intruder takes a person that wants to conquer their fear of the unknown. How big is the fish? How hard will he bite? When will he bite?
For a huge adrenaline rush, come go noodling with the five time noodling champion, Skipper Bivins, family, and friends. Whether you want to take pictures, watch, or participate, come and go fishing with us and all of your whoppers will be true!!
Don’t believe that people really do this? Check out this video by the folks atThe Ultimate Bass Fishing Guide.
Noodling sky rocketed in popularity after documentarian Bradley Beesley released Okie Noodling in 2001, which highlighted the history of the sport in his home state of Oklahoma. The film developed a cult following around the country and soon after noodling tournaments and festivals began popping up with thousands of noodling newbies trying their hand (literally) at the sport.
And don’t think noodling is a just man’s world either! Check out this trailer for Angie Fox’s Fearless in which a group of Humveeing hillbetty hotties try to catch more than just night club hunks with their bodies:
Hillbilly Hand Fishin’ airs this Friday night at 8pm on Animal Planet. Let’s give those catfish a hand!