A tradition unlike any other begins May 1. Grabbling, handgrabbing, handfishing, or noodling, whatever you call it, catching catfish with your hands is a popular way of fishing for a lot of Mississippians. The season opens May 1 and runs through July 15.
Handgrabbers catch channel, blue, and flathead catfish depending on which one is spawning at the time. “People wade around looking for cavities where catfish nest. These can be natural, such as hollow logs and holes in a stream or lake bank, or artificial wooden structures.” said MDWFP Fisheries Biologist and avid handgrabber John Skains. “When you reach into a log, the catfish attacks, and you grab it and just hang on.”
Anglers must have a valid sport fishing license to grabble for catfish. Artificial structures can be used but must be made of wood. Structures may not be raised out of the water to aid in the capture of the fish. Fish can only be taken using hands or by use of a rope or stringer. No hooks or gaffs are permitted.
Logo courtesy Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks