Noodling and River Monsters

Burkhard Bilger's Noodling for Flat­heads is about noodling, obvi­ous­ly, and some oth­er large­ly south­ern pas­times. I'm going to bet, though, that he nev­er caught or saw any­thing near the likes of this bad boy. I have had great fun and edi­fi­ca­tion from Ani­mal Plan­et over the years, me and my kids, but nev­er more than the recent Riv­er Mon­sters.

My brother's friend Ron­nie spent a week or so with me once act­ing the part of big broth­er while mine was gone, some­time in the late 70s, I'm guess­ing, so I was eight or nine or so, and we spent a long ear­ly fall day pulling dead­falls out of See­ley Creek and hand-search­ing through great sod­den heaps of leaves stuck in the slow-mov­ing water, nego­ti­at­ing the bob-wire fences a few over-indus­tri­ous (one might char­i­ta­bly call them pricks) land-own­ers had spread all across the water and into the water, hon­est­ly, where they rust­ed, mak­ing you lift them up and swim-crawl under. Not great fun, but fun, includ­ing the barbs I took in the hand that got me the first of many tetanus shots. I can nev­er remem­ber the date of the damned things, so I get them every five years or so. Any­way, we found fence-posts and tire rims in the water, sev­er­al tires, too. A cou­ple traps (not set, thank­ful­ly), a chain, some fish­ing line. No fish.

I've always want­ed to noo­dle since then, though, even before I knew what it was. I was first to stick my hands up under the tree roots that jammed into the stream, the first to fuck around in the occa­sion­al clay beds, mak­ing penis­es both gross and abnor­mal. I even named them: Cow­prick, Horseprick, Dogdick are the names I remember.

We fin­ished with the creek pret­ty ear­ly then took on the farm­pond in the field in front of our place, where I used to house my pet ducks. I mean, what was in that water, after all? This was long after the ducks had been smacked down and flat­tened in the road, but the car hood they'd shel­tered under was still there. Ron­nie and I lift­ed it up and unearthed a nest of six­ty or sev­en­ty snakes who had tak­en up res­i­dence in the rel­a­tive cool. I'm shud­der­ing even now.

I'll tell you a a secret–isn't that what blogs are for?–I've hat­ed snakes ever since. But some­body needs to get my pasty white ass in a riv­er soon. I want a catfish.

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2 Responses to Noodling and River Monsters

  1. Rusty says:

    I've been finned a few times. It hurts. I've nev­er seen a moc­casin, though I have seen rat­tlers and cop­per­heads up close. Those big blunt heads on a rat­tlesnake make me skeevy.Snakes in general–bleh.

  2. Rosie says:

    I love noodling. I love the idea of it, going after these pre­his­toric fish cave­man style. But I'm real respect­ful of cats–the salt water ones I grew up around are vicious and all of them can stick a fin straight through your hand. And don't get me start­ed on water moc­casins. My elder­ly friend came across a nest of mat­ing snakes in the creek once and it scarred her for life.

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