Catfishing has been going on for hundreds of years, mainly in North America, but widely in Asia, Africa and even in Europe. Catfishing as a sport has always been popular, amongst adults as well as children but with its recent exposure in the media, catfishing is growing in popularity. There have been some huge blue catfish caught recently and people want to get in on the action. Catfish are a particularly exciting fish to catch because they put up such a fight. There are some steps in place to protect stocks of catfish but because there seems to be no problem with supply so not many restrictions are in place as yet.
Catfish; Where to Find Them They can be found all around the world, on every continent in fact except for Antarctica. More than half of all the catfish species live in the Americas. Catfish are a diverse group of fish that include a wide variety of different species. Most species live in freshwater but there are also a few species that live in saltwater. They seem to prefer shallow flowing water. They are ground feeders that’s were they spend most of their time due to the fact that they are negatively buoyant. They are mostly cylindrical in the bodies with flattened heads. Most catfish are fairly small in size, about ten to fifteen pounds, and are easily manageable, but some catfish can grow to be very large if they are older.
Characteristics of Catfish A catfish is easily recognized by its prominent barbells. The barbells are elongated tactile organs located close to the mouth that resemble the whiskers on a cat, hence the name catfish. Just like a cat’s whiskers, these barbells are used to screen the environment and heighten the animal’s awareness of its surroundings. Catfish barbells however are equipped with taste buds that they use to catch fish even in the dark and cloudy waters when there is low visibility.
Catfish can be Dangerous Catfish also have a hollow leading ray on their dorsal and pectoral fins. This leading ray is very strong, and the catfish will use it when it is frightened or annoyed. It will excrete a potent protein which stings, some catfish species have a protein that is strong enough to cause injury even to a human. A person that has received a sting from one of these may even require hospital treatment. One catfish species, the Electric Catfish, is without this hollow leading ray and incapable of protein attacks, instead it will send out a severe electric shock which can reach 350 volts.
Catfishing Noodling If you want to try a different way to catch catfish then you could go noodling. This was once used by Native Americans, noodling caught on as a fishing technique during the depression, and later became a sport. The first part of noodling involves spotting the areas where catfish are may be present, such as submerged shallow logs, rocks. Noodling is generally done in shallow water that you can easily wade through. A noodler will also have a team of spotters with them to help catch the fish especially if they are large specimens.
Once a catfish hiding spot is located, a stick is inserted into the hole to make sure that the inhabitant is a catfish, and not a snake or a turtle. “The noodle” as he is called will put his hand inside the hole – basically using his own hand as bait. If the Catfish feels threatened he will attack and bite the hand, usually holding on, allowing the noodler to then just pull it out. Once the noodler gets the fish out of the water, the spotters immediately remove the fish from the noodler’s hand and throw it into the waiting boat. The noodle will always be accompanied be many spotters which will assist the noodle in case the fish is too heavy, or the fish starts to pull the noodler into the water. Catfish can grow quite large and are capable of drowning a human, making the sport thrilling for some.