How Dangerous Can Hand Fishing Be

Fishing is a very common form of recreational movement that involves a low risk of danger. Most fishing accidents happened due to cutting or puncturing items, or falls. Even, sometimes fishing snares and bars can be hazardous if not maneuvered carefully.

However, fishing has the most noteworthy interest pace of any recreational or sporting task in Australia, the USA, and a few other countries. People of all ages can enjoy fishing.

Humans have appreciated the flavor of fish for centuries beyond retribution. What’s more, it’s still been a challenge to catch the fish from their watery house. Of all the ways to catch a fish, the least complicated but dangerous technique is hand fishing. This is one of the oldest ways of fishing. It is very simple; just snatch the fish from its watery home with your hands. But can you imagine – this is the primitive method of survival fishing?

Truth be told- hand fishing requires a great deal of procedure and advance instincts. Hand fishing likewise involves a comprehension of the fish’s natural habitat.

What Is Hand Fishing?

Hand fishing, also known as noodling, is looking for catfish utilizing one’s exposed hands. This type of sport is very popular in the south and Midwest part of the United States. The angler puts their hand typically inside a catfish hole. This type of fishing is also popular in numerous regions called in different names.

The term “noodling” defines particularly as catching catfish, this hand fishing formula can be applied to other categories of fishes too. However, the origin is still unknown; noodling or hand fishing is dangerous for both fishermen as well as fish.

How to Do Hand Fishing

When you are planning to do hand fishing, at first locate a waterway where catfishes and other low species make their home. Most hand fishers wear shoes, long jeans, a long sleeve shirt, and gloves, and swim out into the water.

At some point, utilize your feet to feel for holes that could hold a fish. Afterward, put your hand inside the cave. This step often requires proper planning. In case your plan worked, the fish will push ahead and chew your hand.

Royalty-free Bass, Fishing photos free download | Pxfuel

Now, it is time to fight to pull your hand away. Put your hand inside the fish’s mouth and haul it from its watery home.

The Origins of Hand Fishing

Individuals have been catching catfish with their bare hands as long as they’ve learned how to swim. Local Americans get acquainted with it when the European travelers showed up. A few settlers figured out how to do it. However, it didn’t get regular until people began utilizing it as a source of family dinner. From that point forward, hand fishing has developed into a family convention in numerous parts of the country.

It is not only an American tradition. People everywhere in the world have built up some method of getting fish with their hands. Early pilgrims considered it as a traditional style of hand-fishing in Europe. The only difference was in the sheer size of the fish noodlers get.

Controversy and Legalization of Hand Fishing

Due to stress over the security of noodlers, the method is unlawful in certain states. In early 2002, it becomes legal in some regions of the United States, under some limitations on the species or sizes of fish, and on the particular strategies that might be utilized. It also became legal in Texas and West Virginia in the following year.

However, hand fishing is so hazardous: noodlers hold their breath for extensive times underwater, and in some cases, they come up with snakes or snapping turtles rather than fish.

But, that doesn’t debilitate fishing lovers. To them, hand fishing is the ultimate pleasure of sportsmanship in fishing.

So after years of demand by hand fishers, the Missouri Conservation Commission has endorsed an exploratory hand fishing season each summer under some restrictions and rules.

Despite one’s position, noodling has stayed an underground and unlawful practice in some states. In such a case, if you break the rule and do hand fishing, you may even pay fines up to $500.

Moreover, hand fishing is generally famous along the way of the Mississippi River, from Wisconsin right to Louisiana. That may not make a lot; however, more states are sanctioning it consistently. Recently, most West Virginia passed another law on noodling in June 2018. Therefore, it gets legal in West Virginia. Still now, “Prohibit fishing” is a veritable issue in certain states.

How dangerous can hand fishing be?

Hand fishing can cause shallow cuts and minor injuries to the hand fisher. If you want to diminish the risk, you should wear gloves and a protective outfit.  Still, there is a risk of losing fingers; sometimes, a simple bite causes infection in a finger. Most fishes make their habitats inside the deep of the water. Therefore, catching fish requires diving deeper into the river. So there can be a danger of drowning. Even, if you catch a giant catfish with your bare hand, it will be challenging to convey that fish to the surface.

If a hand fisher gets injured under ten to twenty feet of water, it will be so difficult for him to return securely to the surface. There is a high possibility of getting drown. Outfits and shocks may get tangled or caught on roots, so most hand fishers wear just denim shorts.

However, the real danger in hand fishing is found in fish holes. Apart from catfish, you may meet with crocodiles, snakes, beavers, muskrats, and snapping turtles. Undeniably, they are riskier than catfish and take over catfish holes as their own homes. These creatures lay their eggs in catfish’s holes, and you obviously shouldn’t disturb them, right?

Champion noodler Lee McFarlin disclosed to ESPN that once he searched in a lake for the missing body of an individual noodler. At the point when discovered, he found bite marks on the skull. Actually, it is the aftereffect of upsetting a beaver a few feet underwater.

We also heard several death stories about how people died in hand fishing, most remarkably in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. In 2009 in Oklahoma, more than one hand fishers found death underwater. Later it was found that the actual reason for their demise was dam structure causing flooding water currents and that overwhelmed noodling fishers. Actually, they went there for practising hand fishing when they were killed.

Dangers of Hand Fishing

I never consider hand fishing as a recreational activity. It’s quite risky. You should be an expert swimmer to do hand fishing, even in little water.

Some fishes, such as catfish, are extremely strong. And, when they’re battling for their lives, they can undoubtedly pull an individual submerged. Numerous incidents have been found about somebody who died since he was unable to get his hand free from the catfish’s jaw and was hauled to the lower part of the waterway. Sounds so scary, right?

Each hand fisher will suggest to you that it’s hazardous to hand-fishing alone. Any hand fisher needs an ally to help to separate one’s hand from a fish’s throat or haul that person out by the feet when trouble strikes.

When a catfish gets trapped in your hands, it’s probably going to turn around, tearing up your skin with its teeth. Some hand fishers use gloves to secure themselves. But wearing gloves can also lead to danger.

Think- of your gloves snug on a catfish’s tooth or a wanderer branch you will be trapped underwater. Due to this reason, most hand fishers even don’t wear sleeved shirts underwater.

In such circumstances, some hand anglers would prefer to lose a little part of their skin than get drowning underwater for wearing protective shields. This is another reason for not wearing gloves. But, still, the risk remains for a person.

However, underwater fishes are so strong that it represents a danger of injury. In case, you don’t get a decent grasp on the fish; odds are it will come out of its hole and straight into you. It can take the breeze out of your control or even break a couple of ribs.

Catfish additionally have thorns on their pectoral blades. It can cut your skin.  Like we stated, hand fishing isn’t a child’s game.


Hand fishing is the primitive method of catching fish without using any fishing kits. Usually, a catfish got by hand fishing weights between 22 to 39 pounds – a great source of feasting with family and friends. But, never attempt to do this alone. Always go with your buddies so they can support you in case you become trapped or injured underwater. However, it would be best if you likewise focused on the dangers involved in this form of fishing. Still, if you wish to go hand fishing, please keep a fishing security kit with snares and line. Yet, these kits will not reduce the big risks; the risk of drowning underwater will be less. And, I appreciate that so much.

Leave a Comment