Catfish are a large group of fish that live in freshwater and saltwater across our entire planet, except Antarctica. Most of the Catfish species live in freshwater but there are a few that live in saltwater environments.
The variety of catfish species is vast and diverse, making for a great variety of catfishing experiences available to the catfishing enthusiast. Most catfish weigh anywhere from ten to fifteen pounds making them a manageable fish to catch. However, for those of you out for an adventure, other catfish grow enormous, live to very old ages and can give you a wild fight.
The most distinguishing marks for a catfish are their cat like whiskers, called barbells. Just like the whiskers on a cat, the barbells on a catfish sit close to the mouth and are essentially elongated organs. Barbells are used by catfish to monitor their environment and increase their awareness of their environment. Strangely enough, barbells have taste buds so that a catfish can taste any area that is murky or hard to see.
If you are going to start catfishing, you should know that catfish can sting you and in some breeds, this sting could require hospital care. Catfishing enthusiasts beware. On their dorsal and pectoral fins, catfish have a hollow leading ray that is very strong. If the catfish is afraid or anxious, it can excrete a potent protein that stings.
Most catfish cannot injure a human with their sting but some can. One type of catfish species that does not sting is the Electric Catfish. This catfish is actually more dangerous. It can send out an electrical shock that is up to 350 volts.
Fishing for catfish is a great way to spend your day, however if you are up for a real challenge, you may want to try something called noodling. Noodling does not require your rod or your reel; just bring your hands with you on the trip.
Noodling is a form of hand fishing. The easy answer to your question of noodling is this. You stick your hand in a log, run it through the hole, grab the catfish’s mouth and pull him out. If it sounds like I am making noodling sound too easy, I am and it is not.
The art of noodling takes practice and is often a team sport, with spotters around to help.
Noodling is traced back as far as Native Americans, reemerged during the Depression out of necessity and is now an increasingly popular sport.
Here are the basics of catfishing by noodling:
1. Spot the catfish by looking in areas where he may be present, such as by shallow rocks, in shallow logs or other submersed hiding spots
2. Next, insert a stick into the hole where a catfish may be hiding to make sure there is not a snake or other creature in the hole
3. Now, put your hand in the hole and it becomes bait for that catfish. Because the catfish is now threatened, it will try to bite your hand.
4. When the catfish bites, it is essentially holding onto your hand and you can pull it out of the water.
5. Once you have the catfish out of the water, your spotter should help you remove the fish from your hand and into your boat … humans have actually drowned by being pulled into the water by an extremely large catfish.
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