Okie Noodling

There's a breed of guy out there who's willing to wade into a murky creek, then grope around in some dark ol' holes until a yard-long catfish chomps down on his arm. In those few places where it's legal, they call it hand-fishing; in Oklahoma, they just call it noodling. Filmmaker Brad Beesley, himself a Panhandler, knew that noodling was a bait-and-switch technique traced back to Native Americans. What he didn't know was that a select group of individuals-half crazy, half drunk, or a combo of the two-was up to its elbows in enthusiasm for hand-fishing. Hardcore noodlers like Red Baggett, Jerry "Catfish" Rider, and Lee McFarlin would wade through water snakes and beavers to lay hands on a forty-pound flathead. Beesley, now one of the Few, the Proud, organized the First Annual Noodling Tournament and Fish Fry. This doc's got it all, even Miss Okie Noodling 2000!

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