My Son and the 70 pound cat he caught

My son sticks his hands in places they don’t belong and pulls out giant catfish.

He and his friends go up and down the rivers of South Carolina sticking a hand in a hole in the bank in hopes a giant catfish will bite it. Once the catfish bites his hand\arm, he wrestles it out from the hole. He’s come home with huge catfish, a big grin and forearms that look like someone took a cheese grater to them.

“That doesn’t hurt?” I asked him the first time he came back from a trip and showed me his arms.

“Yeah, it hurts.” he said.

“So why do you do it?”

“It’s fun.”

“Your not one of those “pain” weirdos who enjoy things like root canals are you?”

“What?”

“Nothing.

The word he and his friends use for it is “noodling.” The word I use for it is “stupid.”

I once asked him, “With all the snapping turtles, snakes, muskrats, beavers – you name it, hiding in holes in the river bank, how do you know its a catfish biting your hand and not one of them?

Absolutely serious answer: A catfish will let you go.

I decided to start a new outdoor craze that I am sure the average Noodler would absolutely love. I call it “Gator flossing.”

What you do is you get a length of the line used to tie square hay bales together and a snorkel. You dive into alligator infested waters such as the Cooper River in South Carolina. Splash around the surface until a gator comes along. When he gets right up on you, jam the length of line between his teeth and begin flossing.

Your score is based on the size of the alligator and how many teeth you floss before you are eaten alive.

Of course, points are deducted if you survive the encounter.

For the more extreme of you out there, I came up with the sport of Grizzly Styling. This is a competition where the participants attempt to part the hair between a Grizzly Bear’s ears down the middle. They are equipped with nothing but a comb, some styling gel and an extreme lacking in the sense of self-preservation.

Participants are graded on how straight the part is and how close to the center of the grizzly bear’s head the part is. That and how many actual extremities they have remaining once the competition is over.

Last night, the boy brought home a four-foot long seventy pound flathead catfish.

“Did you noodle him?” I asked.

“Caught him on a rod and reel,” he told me.

You can imagine my disappointment.

He is normally a catch and release guy, but he kept this one to stock up on his catfish filets. The good news is we now have plenty of chunks of bait to take with us to the beach later this summer. I plan to talk some Noodler into decorating himself in catfish chunks, dive in the ocean and do a little shark taunting.