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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!

fish cleaning table full of crappie

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.

Crappie cleaning instructional video

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!



hand holding antlers

Scent control in deer hunting | How to hunt the wind so you can see and kill more deer

So, what’s the big deal with deer hunting and all this “upwind” and “downwind” talk?

Every year hunters make mistakes by not paying attention to wind direction. You can have all the deer in the world on your property. You can have all the “best” and most expensive hunting gear.

But, if you don’t pay attention to wind direction, you will be severely limiting your chances of harvesting a whitetail.

So, let’s learn how to hunt the wind, so that you can give yourself the best chance for hunting success while in the field.

Wind direction doesn’t really matter when hunting whitetail deer… does it?

You’ve probably heard stories of the hunter who rolls out of bed, goes through the local breakfast joint drive-through and gets a greasy sausage biscuit and drives to the hunting land.

Then, gets out of the truck, rides his/her 4-wheeler straight to the bottom of the tree they plan to hunt, ascend, light up a cigarette and shoot the biggest buck of their life.

whitetail buck standing in field

When it comes to harvesting mature whitetails, you had better be on your A-game when it comes to scent control and wind direction.

Then, when the subject of scent control and wind direction in deer hunting comes up, they point to the wall hanger in the den and say something like, “pffffft, I never pay attention to the wind and you can see I’m doing just fine.”

Sure these stories are out there, but don’t be fooled. A mature whitetail didn’t become mature by “throwing caution to the wind.” A whitetail’s nose is its best defense and you are one of the most offensive smells around.

So, if you hope to have sustained success in the deer woods, you need to be serious about scent control. For bowhunters, who typically need to get a close shot to get the kill, it’s even more critical.



What is “upwind” and “downwind” in hunting?

So, if you’re still reading, you must want to learn about how to hunt the wind in a way that keeps your scent away from a buck’s nose.

When it comes to wind direction, the key is to stay “downwind” of the deer you are hunting. But, what does “downwind” and “upwind” really mean?

How to “hunt the wind”

Being “downwind” of a deer means that if you were looking straight at the deer you hope to shoot, the wind would be blowing in your face. Thus, the wind would be blowing your scent away from the deer.

Conversely, if you were “upwind” of the deer, the wind would carry your scent “downwind” toward the deer (not what you want).

So, you want the deer to be upwind of you, and you want to be downwind of them. Got it?

Let’s take a look at the diagram below, which might help clear things up.

hunting wind direction graphic

In this graphic, the yellow indicates wind direction. If deer are typically in the location indicated in this graphic, a hunter would want to approach the stand location from the “downwind” side of the deer, so they would not be alerted by the hunter’s scent.

It’s not just about being in the stand

So, let’s say you are in the stand (or from the ground) and you’re overlooking a field where you know the deer feed. You are downwind of where you think the deer will eventually be. You are golden, right?

Well, maybe not.

You’re scent doesn’t just matter when you are in the deer stand. It matters well before you even sat down!



Entry and exit routes when hunting

One thing deer hunters often ignore is how their entry and exit to and from their deer stand impacts the deer they are hunting.

So, the hunt actually begins before you take one step toward your hunting location.

When you are making your way to your deer stand, the wind is carrying your scent just as it does from the stand.

So, unless you want your hunt to end before it even gets started, you need to be sure that you have thought through the wind direction as it pertains to how you are going to get to your stand.

ladder stand pic

If you are going to use the wind to your advantage, your hunt begins long before you actually sit down in your stand.

This means you need to know where the deer typically are during the time you plan to enter. Are they bedding? Are they feeding? Where are these locations in regard to your entry route?

And it’s the same for your exit route. If your scent gets blown toward the deer when you leave your stand, you have just educated those deer to your location.

So, if you are trying to avoid danger, are you going to continue to go back to where the danger is every day? Well, neither would a deer. They are trying to stay alive and that means avoiding the danger, which in this case, is YOU!

So, be sure you are paying attention to wind direction as it pertains to your entry and exit routes.



How to fool a deer’s nose… well…

Let’s be clear, you can never truly “fool a deer’s nose.”

But, there are some things you can do to make it harder for them to bust you.

whitetail buck in grass

You can never totally fool a buck’s nose, but you should do everything you can to make things more difficult for him to bust you. (photo by Jeff Coldwell)

Kill that clothing scent

Take a whiff of your laundry detergent. Smells nice, doesn’t it?

Not to a deer.

What might smell great to you could make a deer want to leave the county. So, what can you do about that?

It’s a good idea to wash your clothes in a scent-free detergent. Baking soda is also a good scent “eliminator.” There are lots of these types of scent-killing hunting detergents on the market, so you’ll have no trouble finding them at you local sporting goods store.



Shower, for goodness sake!

Should you shower? For everyone’s sake, YES!

But, when it comes to deer hunting, that sweet smell of typical detergents that we discussed above… you want to avoid that in your shower soap as well.

Be sure to get a good scent-killing soap to use when showering before the hunt. And, don’t be afraid to be generous. You’re after an animal that lives and dies by its nose, so give yourself the best chance possible to NOT STINK!

Pitts are the pitts… don’t ignore them

Once you’re done showering, one more precaution you can take is to use Sweat the details, but please don’t sweat…

Sweat is your enemy.

When you sweat, odor follows. And, if you’ve been paying attention so far, you know that is not what you want when hunting deer.

So, how can you avoid sweating?

Well, one thing to be careful of is how much clothing you wear when you are walking to and from your stand or hunting location.

But, what if it’s cold outside?



Well, of course you want to have hunting clothing that will keep you warm in cold weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear all of it while you are walking to and from your stand or hunting location.

Plus, if you sweat on your way to the stand in an attempt to stay warm, you are going to end up being cold anyway when the sweat cools your body down. Nothing like being we in cold weather, right?



Many hunters are hunting on public land, which can mean a long trek to the final hunting destination. So, if you have a long walk to where you are headed and know you are going to work up a sweat, consider starting out by removing a layer or two. You might be a little bit cold when you start walking, but your body will warm up as you get moving.

Then, once you arrive at your stand or hunting location, you can put the layers back on, so that you will stay warm during the hunt. By doing this, you not only will be warmer, but you’ll avoid much of the odor that sweating causes.

This could be the difference in having hunting success… or getting busted.




Clothe your body with… nothing

No, don’t hunt naked.

But clothe your body with the most “invisible” clothing possible.

This means wearing scent control clothing and using scent killing sprays.

Scent control is a big market in hunting apparel world, and there are a wide variety of options to choose from. So, take advantage of some the products that can help shield human scent.

It’s also a good idea to spray down your clothing, as well as your boots and gear with a scent elimination spray.




“But, isn’t all of this overkill?”

Well, remember, wind direction is the most important scent control tactic you need to pay attention to, but if you can gain any kind of advantage in harvesting a whitetail (especially a mature buck), should you do it?

Use cover scents

The use of covers scents can be helpful in shielding a deer from your scent. There are a variety of cover scents available, such as racoon or fox urine, acorn scent, pine, etc.

Just be sure to choose a cover scent that you are sure is native to your area. So, if there are no oak trees in your area and you use an acorn cover scent, this could have the opposite effect you are intending.

A deer may be on high alert when smelling this, since it is not a smell they are used to in that particular area. So, take care in choosing the “right” cover scent.



Conclusion

So, remember, paying attention to the wind direction is paramount in your quest to consistently give yourself a chance to see deer.

Hopefully, when the moment of truth comes, you’ll shoot straight!

Hunt safely and good luck out there!

Check out the video below and learn how to play the wind to your advantage for better whitetail deer hunting success!

(Wind Direction video transcript)

>>Read about all the N1 shirt designs

Find out what deer hunting and playing the lottery have in common. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.

Suppose I knew the five winging numbers to the lottery and all you had to do was guess the order they go into to win. How many of you would refuse that information and instead, decide to guess the numbers yourself and the order they go in?

Hopefully none of you, but that’s exactly what many deer hunters do every season by not paying attention to the wind.

Wind direction is critical in deer hunting

All the scouting and trail can picture is in the world won’t make up for poor planning when it comes to wind direction.

For you bow hunters out there, it’s even more critical. Always be aware of which way the wind is blowing, not only in regards to stand location, but also in relation to the entry and exit routes to and from your stand or hunting location. The last thing you want is for your hunt to end with deer blowing before it even gets started.

Stay downwind of the deer in all situations. For those of you not familiar with the terms “upwind” and “downwind,” an easy way to remember, is to be sure the wind is in your face when approaching and hunting your favorite trail or location.

Paying careful attention to wind direction certainly won’t help you win the lottery, but when combined with effective scouting, planning and accuracy, it will increase your chances of seeing and taking more deer.

We hope you have a great week and remember… “where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there.” We’ll see you next time.

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