BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – While many of Louisiana’s fishers are anglers who use a rod and line to catch their catfish, there are others who prefer to carry out the sport by using their bare hands.
This is known as ‘noodling.’
In some states, noodling is banned due to concerns about the safety of noodlers as the sport can be quite dangerous.
Not only does the water itself pose a threat, but catfish are incredibly strong and can easily pull a person underwater.
Another reason why some areas don’t allow noodling are related to concerns about the sustainability of fish populations.
But as of August 1, Louisiana’s fishers are within their legal rights should they choose to engage in noodling.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) advises noodlers to keep the following safety precautions in mind:
1. Always have at least one person in the water with you, spotting you. 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.
2. Wear gloves to protect your hands. Catfish bite hard!
3. Once you find where the catfish are hiding, be sure to keep your four fingers together so you don’t break a finger unnecessarily when you put your fingers in the catfish hiding hole.
According to U.S. Angler, “Where it’s legal, and when practiced with some safeguards, noodling is simply the most exciting way to catch catfish that you can imagine.”