The Great Noodling Experiment, hand-fishing for giant catfish now legal
Tina Butler, mongabay.com
June 1, 2005
Noodlers have been described as idiots, wrestlers and brutes, depending on an individual's personal opinion of the sport. Conservationists are not supportive of noodling--their concern being that noodlers' penchant for large, spawning fish could reduce the population. Female catfish can take seven years to become sexually mature. Noodlers counter that big catfish prey on smaller catfish and more importantly, due to the fairly visceral and dangerous nature of the practice, not enough people will ever become involved to affect the population.
Regardless of one's position, noodling has remained an underground and illegal practice with enthusiasts facing fines of up to $500. However, Missouri will open its first season of legal hand-fishing in June, due to persistent lobbying by a group called Noodlers Anonymous. The season will consist of a six-week trial period, in which registered noodlers report their catches to the state's Conservation Department for analysis.
Fishermen catch 646-pound catfish, believed to be world's largest: Thai fishermen caught a 646-pound catfish believed to have been the world's largest freshwater fish ever recorded, a researcher said Thursday. The 8.9 foot long Mekong giant catfish was the heaviest recorded fish since Thailand started keeping records in 1981.
This article uses information from a May 26th 2005 article in the Economist.