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noodling aly from alabama catfish over shoulder

Catfish Noodling [A crazy fishing method!] | Learn How To Catch Catfish Bare-Handed

“I stuck my hand down in this hole and pulled out a giant catfish.”

Wait… WHAT??

If you’ve ever heard about noodling for catfish, you might wonder what in the world might possess someone to stick their hand into a dark hole and hope something latches on.

This is… noodling!

two men holding giant flathead catfish

Does the thought of grabbing a big catfish with your bare hands make you want to learn more? Read on!


You can jump straight to any of the following sections of article:


two hands holding up a noodled catfish

Grabbing a catfish with your bare hands will definitely make you want to raise your hands in victory!

So, what exactly is “noodling?” Well, it’s basically catching a fish with your bare hands. VIDEOS BELOW…

Noodling defined

Some call it hand fishing. Some call it grabbling (or grabblin) or hogging, and of course, some call it “noodling.”

The bottom line is that you are catching a fish with your bare hands!

Even though it might seem scary at first, it can be fun like you’ve never experienced when you #putahandN1!

So, How Can I Learn to Noodle A Catfish?

Do you want to learn to Put A Hand N1? Read below for a step-by-step noodling tutorial!

Time needed: 10 minutes.

How to noodle for catfish:

  1. Safety First!

    Always have at least one person in the water with you, spotting you, when you noodle for catfish. Noodling can sometimes require you to go under water and holding your breath.

    Don’t overestimate your ability to hold your breath. Also, catfish are extremely powerful fish, so be sure you don’t underestimate their strength. You may also want to wear gloves to protect your hands. They bite hard!

  2. Find where they’re hiding…

    Check under boat ramps and in holes in the bank. Some people also noodle in man-made catfish boxes that have been submerged to attract catfish during the spawn.

    You can use a stick to probe in the holes. If there’s a catfish in the hole, it will often bite the stick with a distinct “thud.”

  3. Stick your hand in the hole

    This can be the most unnerving part of noodling catfish. Be sure to keep your 4 fingers together so you don’t break a finger unnecessarily (see picture below!) Slowly move your hand around in the hole and get ready to get bit!

    hand placement when noodling

  4. Grab it!

    Once the catfish bites your hand try to close your hand, grabbing its lower jaw. Once you get a grip on it, try pulling it from the hole.

    Once you are able, slip your other hand up under the catfish’s gil plate (see picture below). This helps prevent the catfish from “rolling” and getting away.

    The roll is very powerful, so don’t neglect this step. On larger fish, you may want to wrap your legs around its tail to lock it up.

    men holding flathead catfish caught noodling

  5. Celebrate!

    There’s nothing like the rush of noodling. You’ll be able to handle this step with no problem! And be sure to shout, “Put A Hand N1!”

What Do Other People Say About Hand Fishing?

You might have seen people noodling for catfish on social media. Here’s what some of our friends have to say about this crazy hobby of catching catfish with your bare hands…

“I love noodling because there isn’t anything that can prepare you for it. Every aspect of noodling is based on your ability to conquer your own fears — you can’t prepare yourself and you can’t practice. There is a level of surprise that is untouched in any other sport or hobby, and the adrenaline rush is absolutely incredible.”

Aly “Aly from Alabama” Schreiber

“Noodling challenges me every time and the feeling of conquering fear is absolutely addicting!”

Jess Bond

“There’s just something about the adrenaline rush of going into a hole blind, but expecting to get bit every time! That’s what I noticed the first time I tried it a 12 years old! From the first bite of a little 3 lb blue cat, I was hooked on that adrenaline rush! It’s become something of a passion for me, not just a hobby! Couldn’t really see myself going back to not doing it at this point!”

Nate Kennedy

“It’s just the adrenaline you get from getting on a big fish, and the experience of having fun while doing it. But it all comes down to putting a hand N1 and that’s what I love the most!”

Lane Allen
huge catfish with large whiskers that was noodled

Since learning to noodle catfish, it’s now enjoyable to teach others how to grab big cats, like when I took one of our friends from FOB Archery. (Those whiskers though!) Learn more below about how I learned to catch these dinosaurs with my bare hands!

Is noodling legal and can I go in my state?

You may have watched these videos and read the stories on this page and said, “There’s no way I’m ever doing that!”

However, you might be one that loves the thought of catching a catfish with your bare hands and wonder, “Is noodling legal in my state?”

Find out if noodling is legal in your state. If so, you can click “more info” to visit that state’s department of natural resources to learn more about the local game laws for legality and restrictions on noodling for catfish.)

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If you want to see pure outdoor joy, watch these catfish noodling videos below of our friends, Andrew Urban and Luke-Avery Urban and “Aly from Alabama” as they noodle some huge catfish! The videos below will make you smile… we promise!

Now THIS is how you celebrate a catfish!

Check out this huge catfish and the ensuing celebration! Woo!

MORE VIDEOS BELOW THAT YOU WON’T BELIEVE…

Another Monster Catfish Noodling Moment

In this video, Andrew’s brother, Luke Avery-Urban, puts a hand N1! Check out this incredible catfish noodling video!

Watch Luke-Avery put a hand N1 as he grabs a huge flathead catfish from underneath a concrete boat ramp…


WATCH OUR FRIEND ALY FROM ALABAMA BELOW, NOODLE “A STINKY ONE…”

Aly From Alabama Noodles Big Blue Cat

When it comes to grabbing big cats, “Aly from Alabama” is no stranger to big cats. Check out what happens when this blue cat engulfs her arm!

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Once up a time, I was a first time noodler…

Watching catfish noodling videos like the ones above from the Urban brothers and Aly from Alabama made me want to put a hand N1 too!

What was it about sticking your hand into dark holes where you couldn’t see anything and hoping something huge would bite your hand?

We weren’t sure what the buzz was all about, but we were fascinated to find out what it was like to get bit.

So, we scheduled our first noodling trip with Luke-Avery Urban on Clarks Hill lake in Lincolton, Georgia.

After all, in addition to learning how to ice fish, is something we’d always wanted to try.

man holding flathead catfish that he caught with bare hands

A great day on the lake noodling for catfish! This was a nice flathead I grabbed with the five-finger death grip!

Tag-Team Catfish Noodling!

Sometimes the catfish are just too big for one person to handle!

But first, a limit out

Luke-Avery was generous enough to spend the whole day with us, teaching the N1 Outdoors audience how to fish for striped bass and hybrid bass.

So, we spent the first part of the day striper fishing and it turned into a striped bass and hybrid limit! 

Once we had limited out on striped bass and hybrid, we were off to some boat ramps that had produced some quality noodling trips over the years for Luke-Avery. 



Catfish spawning

Spawning time is the optimal time for noodling catfish. We learned that water temperature is key in learning when the catfish spawn happens.

The female lays her eggs in hollow logs, crevices or caverns under the bank, and in holes or openings under boat ramps, which is where we would be searching.

Once the female catfish lays her eggs, the male guards the nest fiercely until the hatch occurs. We found out that they will bite down hard on anything entering the nest!

Spawning of catfish can vary depending on location, however, temperature ranges of 65-84 degree water temperature will trigger spawning action of blue cats and flathead catfish. Some believe 81 is the magical temperature for some species, but again, that can vary depending on location.

Well, whatever the perfect temperature is for each, we were able to experience both species in one outing! 

Hurt at first bite

At our first stop, I got to experience what it feels like to get bit on the hand when trying to noodle a catfish for the first time. I learned quickly that it’s best to keep your fingers together when noodling.

The first bite was actually on just my little finger. It sure didn’t feel very good! If you have never experienced how strong the mouth of a catfish is, noodling will help you understand!

man holding flathead catfished that he noodled

Getting a big catfish to bite your hand and then pulling it out of a hole will get your heart beating at high speed!

Luke-Avery said he’s taken a lot of grown men noodling and most of the have yelled underwater the first time they get bit. I was determined to not do that. But, I will say I was certainly startled. 

I tried multiple times to grab the catfish in that first hole and just could get a grip fast enough.

Finally, Luke-Avery said to let him try. He stuck his hand into the hole and got bit as well.

When he came up he said, “that’s a blue cat. They bite harder than a flathead catfish does.” (Flathead catfish are sometimes referred to as mud cats, yellow cats or shovelhead catfish.)

We left that hole and moved farther down the boat ramp. Eventually, we were both diving down in 10 feet of water checking other holes. Luke-Avery was able to pull out a nice blue cat.

hand grabbing a catfish while noodling

To “put a hand N1” is a rush quite unlike any outdoor activity I’ve ever tried. I highly recommend it!

My first bare-handed catfish!

When we left there, we went to another ramp where Luke-Avery had noodled some 40+ pound catfish in prior years. We got bit several times but were having trouble landing any cats. Finally, I was able to get a hand N1 and land my first flathead catfish! It was a rush for sure!

I found out that noodling was definitely worth all the hype. Let’s just say that was the first of many noodling trips to come!

How to filet crappie the easy way

Crappie are fun to catch and an incredible-tasting freshwater fish. Many fisherman try to filet crappie, only to be frustrated (especially on the smaller ones), as they typically do not have as large of a filet as a largemouth bass or striped bass, for example.

So, check out the video below where we show you two easy ways to filet a crappie!

Learn two easy ways to filet a crappie!



fishing lessons with dad

Fishing Lessons Of Life | 5 Things I Learned From Fishing With Dad

By the time I was old enough to say the word “fish,” my Dad was taking me fishing with him (yes, that’s us in the picture above).

And, those trips with Dad turned out to be much more than fishing lessons.

Fishing lessons = life lessons

Fishing was always something I considered fun. I loved the challenge of casting in just the right spot. I loved the feel of that first tug on the line. And, of course, who doesn’t love reeling in fish?

As I’ve gotten older, those memories of going fishing as a kid with my Dad have become even more special. That time with Dad doing a fun activity has impacted me in profound ways.

You see, he was teaching me about fish, different fish species, how to catch and clean them, and how to tie fishing knots. But, I ended up learning principles that have become foundational in how I try to live my life, conduct business and relate with my own family.

two people fishing at dusk on shoreline

Memories of fishing with Dad have become even more special as the years have gone by. Those times have impacted me in profound ways.

Lesson #1: Good things don’t always come to those who wait

It’s no secret that fishing is a great way of learning patience. As a kid, if that bobber didn’t go under soon after I casted, I wanted to throw to another spot! Dad would tell me to be patient and just wait.

Of course, many times, my patience paid off and the fish would bite. But, I learned something else that was maybe even more important than patience.

Sometimes, it didn’t matter that we had a great fishing spot (no, I’m not telling you where). It didn’t matter what bait we were using. And it didn’t matter how long I waited. The fish just weren’t going to bite.

There’s more than just a fishing lesson here.

person holding a spinning reel

When you know things don’t go your way, will you do the right thing anyway?

Sometimes you can give your best effort. You can do all the right things. You can even be extremely patient… and still not get the result you wanted.

That’s called life.

The question is, when you know you won’t get the result you were hoping for, will you do the right things anyway?

It’s a difficult question to answer and it’s even tougher to do. I’m thankful that there were times when the fish didn’t bite, so I could learn that lesson.



Lesson #2: You don’t drift back where you started

I loved going to the spot my Dad and I used to fish (no, I’m still not telling you where). There were just so many places along that creek bank to catch fish.

As I got older and graduated from the red and white round bobber (I still love it though), I would cast my lure to what looked like the perfect spot. Sometimes I’d catch fish, and of course, sometimes I wouldn’t.

But, there just always seemed like a better place ahead to try.

man fly fishing in the river

Fishing with Dad has taught me to be intentional about making sure I don’t drift too far from where I should be.

So, I walked a few steps and casted. Then I walked a few more and casted. Before long, I’d look back and realize that I had wandered far from where I first started. I was lost in the moment and couldn’t believe how far I’d gone.

I have learned that life provides you with many opportunities to “drift” in a similar way. Something catches your attention and you chase it. After all, it seems like such a great opportunity.

Now, let me say here that I’m all about dreaming big and giving things your all. But, sometimes we are prone to chasing dreams at all costs. We sacrifice precious time with family and friends for the sake things that leave us empty in the end.

I’m learning that I don’t want to be that guy.



I’ve learned you have to be intentional about making sure you don’t drift too far from where you should be. You have to surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth about yourself, good or bad.

And, you have to be willing to heed wise advice, even when it’s what you don’t want to hear. In doing so, you can prevent yourself from drifting too far from where you should be and save yourself a lot of heartache and from hurting those you love.

Going fishing with Dad is still helping me learn these lessons many years later.

Lesson #3: When you catch a big one… celebrate!

Catching fish is fun, no matter what size the fish. But, I’d be lying if I said catching a big fish isn’t just a little more fun! It’s amazing how just about anyone can muster up a big smile after they reel in a heavyweight. It makes the fun just a little more fun to celebrate.

Life gives us many reasons to be sad or upset. After all, bad things happen to good people. But, good things also happen to good people. So, just like when you catch a big fish, be sure to celebrate the good times in life!

man looking into mouth of largemouth bass

Good times, like good fish, should be celebrated.

Lessson #4: Always be prepared

Call me a neat freak or obsessive compulsive, but I hate a messy tackle box. The fishing supplies have to be organized.

The night before I knew we were going fishing, I would always be certain that all my fish hooks, fishing lures and supplies were neatly tucked away in their designated compartment. (Of course, after a day of fishing, they were right back to being unorganized!)

But, as orderly as I wanted things, I learned there’s one thing a neat tackle box can’t help you with… and that’s not having enough of the lure you need for that fishing trip.



Sometimes on a particular day, the fish just like what they like and nothing else. Hopefully, they like what you have in your tackle box. And, hopefully you have enough of it!

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about neat people being better than messy people. But, I’ve learned that doing your due diligence ahead of time is better than being unprepared.

This applies to just about anything. Of course, you can’t predict the future, and sometimes unexpected things can happen no matter how much you prepare.

But, just like with fishing, be as prepared as you can possibly be in all situations. Something BIG just might happen!

Lesson #5: Control what you can control

When I was first learning to fish with Dad, I started with live bait and a fishing bobber. I would watch the bobber intently, hoping to see just the slightest movement or ripple in the water.

But, I am a competitor at heart, and sometimes I would sneak a peek over at my Dad’s bobber. It seemed that every time I did that, I would look back and mine would be nowhere to be found, with a fish on the line! (I guess if the fish aren’t biting, this is a viable strategy. But, I digress).

fishing float bobber in the water

I have learned to focus on things that I can control, and not on those I can’t.

It’s easy for us to get distracted sometimes. We worry about what others are doing. We worry what they think of us. And, we try to fix others and make them who we think they should be.

The problem is that when we do that, we put our focus on things we can’t control.

As I get older, I am learning that I can do very little to change other people. I can’t become exactly like someone else. God made one of me (and one of you).



And, while it’s great to have role models and aspire to be strong in areas that others are, we must understand that we are uniquely made. We are custom designed. There will never be another one exactly like us.

So, don’t excuse your weaknesses. Work on them. But, also work to become better at your strengths. You will make much more progress on you than you ever will by trying to change others. And, who knows, you might inspire someone else to be a better them!

man paddling fishing kayak at dusk

The life lessons learned fishing with Dad, I want to share with others.

Don’t let the lessons end

With all the life lessons I’ve learned from fishing lessons with my Dad, it would be a shame to keep them all to myself. I am inspired to use teachable moments like these in the outdoors to impact the lives of my kids as well. I hope you do the same.

So, whether you hunt, fish, or just love being in the outdoors, there are so many great lessons to be learned in the simplicity and wonder of the outdoors.

Oh, and Dad… thanks for taking me fishing.



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