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noodle v1,

hence ppl adj noodled, vbl n noodling, n noodler[Etym unknown; cf Scots, nEngl dial guddle, and similar frequentative forms canoodle v, doodle v1, grabble]esp Ozarks

To catch (fish, or occas turtles) with the bare hands or with a gaff; to fish in this way.

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contains DARE survey quotes
  • 1923 DN 5.215 swMO, Noodle. . . To catch fish with the bare hand or with a long-handled barbed hook.
  • 1933 Williamson Woods Colt 9 Ozarks, I’m aimin’ to help noodle that catfish.
  • Ibid 13, You git things ready, an’ the rest of us can go noodle that cat [=catfish].
  • 1937 Esquire Apr 130 swMO, If the larder is replenished by a noodled or jumped fish . . so much the better.
  • 1937 AmSp 12.162 AR, In the state of Arkansas . . noodling is the process of catching fish by reaching into the water and grasping them by the gills with the thumb and forefinger.
  • 1951 Conant Reptiles OH 160, Professional turtle collectors take them [=softshell turtles] by “noodeling,” [sic] in traps, nets or on set lines.
  • 1957 McMeekin Old KY Country 205, Noodling is the sport of catching snapping turtles barehanded.
  • 1960 Criswell Resp. to PADS 20 Ozarks, Noodle. . . To catch catfish nesting in holes in a bank with bare hands.
  • 1968–69 DARE
    Qu. P13, . . Ways of fishing . . besides the ordinary hook and line
    Inf KS10, Noodling—dive in under a bank and catch fish with your hands, usually done in August; MO39, A-noodlin’.
  • 1987 Childress Out of the Ozarks 28, There were two kinds of noodling practiced during my Midwest childhood—one using an encircling seine and bare hands and another with a breakable stick attached to a hook and line.
  • 1988 DARE File csOK, Some friends who grew up in Garvin County, Oklahoma . . told me that people wade out into creeks and rivers and reach in mud holes in the banks to pull out catfish. This is called noodlin’.
  • 1989 Yankee June 66 ME, A few turtle hunters. . . flop down in the mud and feel around blindly under riverbanks till they find a snapper to pull out, preferable tail-first—a method known as “noodling,” the practitioners of which can be numbered even on the fingers of their hands.
  • 1991 Kirksville Express & News (MO) 1 Sept 12, [Headline:] “Noodling” Hurts Duo’s Pocketbook.
  • Ibid 12/1, Good behavior might get a pair of Monroe County men $100 of their fines back, but their illegal behavior cost the two “noodlers” $600 each. The duo pled guilty in . . Court on charges of taking fish by illegal methods. Specifically, they were handfishing in the Salt River.