Category: Gear

Pool Noodling for Catfish – the Other Kind of Noodling

Picture by Catfish Sutton

OK, something is going to have to change.  When it comes to noodling for catfish, there seems to be two different kinds that are competing for the same name.  One type of noodling is to catch a catfish by finding where the catfish is held up in a hole, and then you reach your hand or arm down into the hole and stick it in the catfishes’ mouth.  When the catfish crabs on, you pull your arm out of the hole with the catfish attached and there you have it.  Well maybe not quite as easy as that, because it usually includes a lot of chomping and yelling.

But then there’s the other type of noodling, but maybe it can be distinguished when some call it pool noodling.  It’s called pool noodling because it’s a method of catching catfish using one of those noodles you see in just about every swimming pool these days.  It’s just a long foam plastic tube that you can buy just about anywhere for real cheap.  This method is really just a newer conversion of jug fishing (or jugging) where they just use any old nasty plastic jug with a line and hook attached.  And sorta related to limb line fishing, throw line fishing, or maybe a single hook version of trotline fishing.  Everybody’s got to do something different.

Anyway, for pool noodling, you make your noodle by tying the fish line to the end of a 1-2 ft length of noodle.  But a couple of different ways have been devised to keep the line from tearing through the noodle.  One is to put a small metal or plastic tube through the end of the noodle (across the diameter) and thread the fishing line through the tube. Another way is to put a PVC pipe (with same outer diameter as the ID of the noodle) through the length of the noodle (with a little gorilla glue to hold it in).  Then you can put two holes at one end of the PVC pipe to tie the fishing line through.  Or as Gobblin tom shows in this video, you can put two caps on the ends of the PVC pipe, put a weight in the pipe, and screw an eye-bolt to one end to attach the fishing line.  The tube is laid flat on the water and when the bait is hit by a catfish, the tube tilts, the weight shifts and the noodle stands up.  With some reflective tape on the top end, it’s easy to see, even at night.  The weight shift idea may cause a few false positives for catches, but I don’t see a problem.  Even if a little nibble turns some noodles upend, they can still catch catfish.  If you wanna be real sure, watch the noodle bob underwater or be drug around to verify the catch.

Also be sure to write you name and address on the noodles or in some states, like Oklahoma, you could get in deep trouble.  This type of noodling is a lot easier method of catching a catfish than the catfish-in-a-hole type of noodling, and doesn’t require all the yelling from the pain of being ravaged by a catfish.  But there is still plenty of yelling many times just because its so easy to grab a nice catfish with a pool noodle. Maybe we should call it Pooloodling or Poodling???

What You Should Know About Catfishing Poles

Catfish poles

You’ve invited ten friends over to your house for couple of beers. And the one thing you can be sure of is this – no matter the topic; football, cars, beer or fishing, you’re going to have ten different opinions about it.

And because you’re planning a catfishing trip – it’ll be all about fishing this time – the best place to find the biggest catfish, what bait to use – and most important of all, what fishing gear to take. Everyone has his own story (or stories) about the monster cat he caught up at the lake and how he landed it using the only kind of rod an expert angler would consider using – his.

Let’s take a look at the different types of rods recommended for catching big catfish. As a long-time catfish angler, you already know that it’s how you use the rod you have, rather than the rod itself. For the smaller catfish, you don’t need anything fancier than the gear you already have. But for the bigger beasts, you need a good, sturdy pole.

Most experienced catfish anglers would agree that the Ugly Stik, introduced in the early 80′s is the most popular. It’s available in a wide variety of models and is one of the most durable on the market; in fact one angler decided to see just how tough it was. He took the Ugly Stik and six other kinds of fishing poles and went catfishing. The Ugly Stik was the only one to survive the beating he gave it, taking 55 pounds of stress.

Why is it called the Ugly Stik? Because it is.

It has a graphite core, wrapped in fiberglass, making it extremely strong without losing flexibility. More experienced cathunters might want some extra sensitivity, but this pole is great for the more casual angler. You can get your Ugly Stik for under $50 and they’re available in different lengths. Most of them are also multi-functional for “catch and release.”

Consider a spinning pole – these are generally five to eight feet long and come with spinning reels for light or heavy use. Very popular for heavier spinning use such as that big catfish you’re after and its long length is perfect for drift fishing. There’s an Ugly Stik spinning rod that’s nine feet long and has a quick-taper “clear tip” design, foam grips, a graphite twistlock reel seat with rubber cushion inserts. These poles can be used for casting, trolling, drift-fishing and tranquil fishing – but be aware of the various added features which can make it an expensive piece of kit.

A casting pole is a great alternative – it has a longer handle and is easier to manage when you’re fighting your monster catfish because the smaller grips on other rods are inclined to get away from you during a fish-fight. Your casting rod generally has two types of reels; baitcast and spincast. You use the baitcast when you place heavier baits and need to achieve super-precise casting across long distances. But the spincast is easier to use and is a better choice for those just starting out. There’s a reel seat in the rod’s handle which keep those reels conveniently on top.

But hey, fellow angler – if, like me, you’re going out to hunt those big, bewhiskered, trophy-sized blue beasts, then you need to take a long, close look at the Quantum Big Cat rods. The rod action is faster than before, meaning that the tips are softer for those tip-sensitive cats like flatheads. These Big Cat rods still have the same super strong backbone and you’re more likely to haul that monster cat into your boat because that’s just what they’re built for. It’s got those big graphite reel seats and nicely cushioned stainless steel hoods as well as the double-footed guides with aluminum oxide inserts. It’s perfect for cat-hunting in strong currents and comes in three strengths – heavy, medium heavy and medium – depends on where you’re planning to go for your catfish date. But as we agreed earlier, the length of the pole is the important feature when you’re casting across long distances.

Whatever your plans, remember this; fishing is like romance – the next best thing to doing it, is talking about it.

by Wade McBride