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noodling aly from alabama catfish over shoulder

Catfish Noodling | Learn How To Put A Hand N1

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

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

We’ll talk more about how you do it later on in the article… But first, some photos of some flathead catfish caught while noodling…

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!

CHECK OUT AWESOME CATFISH NOODLING VIDEOS BELOW… HUGE CATFISH CAUGHT WITH BARE HANDS!

After watching these, you’ll understand why we decided it was time for us to try noodling (be sure and read about that trip below!) You can also read about some other noodling adventures and learn about some other interesting names for noodling and how to try it yourself!

Catfish noodling joy

(Andrew’s Catfish Noodling video transcript below)

“I think we might get him. Got him! Holy crap! Look at that, son! Look at that! Whoo! That’s a cat daddy right there, boy!

Shake it boy! Look at that. That’s a big boy. Hold him above your head if you can. That is a nice cat!”

MORE NOODLING VIDEOS BELOW THAT YOU WONT BELIEVE…

Another Monster Catfish Noodling Video Moment

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

(Luke-Avery’s Catfish Noodling Moment video transcript)

“Luke’s under there. He’s got a fish hitting. Let’s see what he’s got. Whoo! Yeah baby! Yeah baby! C’mon… c’mon. I got you. Who’s your daddy?”

WATCH OUR FRIEND ALY FROM ALABAMA BELOW…

Aly From Alabama Noodles Big Blue Cat

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(Aly From Alabama’s Catfish Noodling video transcript)

“It’s a big, big fish. It’s a big blue, I think. Or, a good size flat. It bit me good. It’s got to be a blue.

I can’t get my hand in its gill. I wish you could feel this fish right now. Can’t tell what’s going on.

It just swallowed my whole hand! My whole hand is in its stomach. It’s starting to go crazy.

That’s big blue. I didn’t even think it was a blue. It swallowed my whole hand like that.

It stinks! She’s a stinky one.”

“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 at this point! Couldn’t really see myself going back to not doing it at this point!”

Nate Kennedy

What Is Noodling Anyway?

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?

Some call it hand fishing. Some call it grabbling (or grabblin), and some call it noodling. We weren’t sure what the buzz was all about, but we were fascinated to find out.

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

blue catfish noodling pic
A great day on the lake noodling for catfish!

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 striper 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!

Optimal water temperatures for blue catfish is 70-84 degrees, while some believe that 81 degrees is the magical temperature for blue cats. Most believe that the flathead catfish spawn an temperatures of 66-75 degrees. 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!

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. 

catfish noodling giles pic
Getting a big catfish to bite your hand and then pulling it out of a hole is a rush like other!

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.

My first noodling success

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 and I can’t wait to put a hand N1 again!

Another Noodling story
catfish noodling man

– By Charles Farmer

Summer is upon us and in Southern Illinois, and that means it’s time for catfish to start spawning, which means noodling! Catfish swim up in holes under all sorts of things such as stumps, boat ramps, and rocks.

With noodling, the first thing you do is feel around with a stick in the hole because fish this big will be in holes 15, maybe 20 feet, back. We found a big flathead catfish under a boat ramp and we knew it was time to Noodle1. So, I went under the murky water and put my arm in the hole, waving it around inside there and… Bam, I got bit!

So, I grabbed its bottom jaw and ripped it out of the hole while putting my other hand under it. We ran a stringer in it to see how big it was once he broke the surface. It was a monstrous 40+ pounder! I’ll never forget the day I put a hand N1! 

So, Can I Go Noodling For Catfish In My State?

You may have watched these videos and read these stories and said, “There’s no way I’m ever doing that!” But, you might love experiencing the thrill of catching a catfish with your bare hands and wonder, “Is noodling legal in my state?”

According to Wikipedia, as of 2002, noodling was legal in 12 states in the U.S.

If you live in one of the following 15 states, you may be ready to put a hand N1! (But, be sure to check your local game laws for legality and restrictions.)

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

Have fun, be safe, and put a hand N1!

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