Noodling Cats

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This material is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned.

The other week, we were talking about the dangers of giant catfish, particularly in European rivers. ITIWBS offered an opinion on the subject, backing his knowledge with the creepiest story we've ever heard. He asserts that the following is completely true, which just makes it worse, in our opinion. (We were hoping it was just a fish story.) We saved this h2g2 horror story for an appropriate time. Here's your Halloween nature horror.

In case you aren't a catfish noodler, the practice involves using your hand and arm as bait to catch very large, carnivorous fish. Not for the faint-hearted.

Noodling Cats

Fugu fish

Noodling cats, depends on letting the cat get its mouth around your hand.

They haven't much, really, in the way either of teeth or bite force.

Catfish can make hybrids with sharks, one of the things that distinguishes some of the larger channel cats.

Reminds me of an occasion I was exploring a pond in a lagoon system once upon a time.

There was an island in the middle of the pond and I wanted to see what was on it, so I swam out to it.

There I was laying on the shore with my legs still in the water and a catfish crawled out of the water next to me.

Something had neatly bitten off its hind end, half that fish neatly sheared away.

I did a back-flip getting my legs out of the water.

Not wanting to swim back to the mainland, instead, I explored the island.

Maybe, I thought, it would prove to be a peninsula and not an island after all.

No such luck, it was really an island.

Next, I looked the island over, thinking there might be materials I could use to build a raft.

A pair of hands trying to grab a fish

No luck on that score either, a few suitable materials but not enough to make a serviceable raft.

Finally, not wanting to spend the night on the island and not anticipating any reasonable prospect of rescue, I resolved to swim back to shore.

I got into water and hit it with my most vigorous and boisterous butterfly stroke, reasoning that enough turbulence might frighten creatures in the water away, and fairly skimmed the surface of the water.

To this day, I'm haunted by the look in the eye of that catfish that crawled out of the water next to me, the look of mute reproach in its eye, as though it felt the whole thing were somehow my fault.

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