Edgar Gentle, an accomplished attorney and a partner in the firm of Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, LLC, in Birmingham, Alabama, enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly near his homes on Logan Martin Lake and Weiss Lake. Though he is an avid bass fishermen, Edgar Gentle has also engaged in catfish noodling.
Catfish noodling, also known as catfish grabbing or fish grabblin’, is a method of fishing with one’s hands rather than rods and nets. Catfish noodling is particularly popular during the spring months, when catfish move to shallow waters to lay their eggs. As the days grow longer and the water warms, more and more fish populate the shallows.
Individuals familiar with the behavior of female catfish know that the fish seek out hidden areas to deposit their eggs, such as under rocks or inside hollow logs in the water. As the females depart, male catfish move into these sheltered egg sites to guard the developing young. During this time, the males rarely leave the shallow water, eating infrequently and doing little more than watching the nest. They become highly aggressive, lashing out at anything that comes too close to their nest, including a human hand.
Most catfish noodlers follow catch-and-release practices, noodling for the thrill of the catch. Though noodlers prefer to use only their hands whenever possible, some will at times make use of a slightly angled pole to help leverage fish from tight places. To learn more about the art of noodling, visit www.catfishgrabblers.com.