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Mudcats Facts

Fun Facts About Catfish and the Sport of Grabbling

Teddy and Winston hold a catfish.

Grabblers Teddy Good and Winston Walters hold a catfish in the muddy waters of Oklahoma. (View larger version)

  • Hand fishing dates back to the American Indians, who would hold red cloths in their hands for the fish to bite.

  • “Grabbling”, “hand fishing”, and “noodling” are all names used for catching fish barehanded.

  • Grabbling is currently legal in 18 states, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

  • Hand fishing is allowed year-round in Oklahoma.

  • The average person can hold their breath for about 30 to 40 seconds.

  • In 1987, President Ronald Reagan declared June 25 as National Catfish Day.

  • Flathead catfish can grow to be 5 feet long and weigh over 100 pounds.

  • The largest Flathead ever caught was 123 pounds 9 ounces. But it wasn’t caught by hand.

  • Flatheads can survive for over 25 years.

  • Like sharks, Flatheads are carnivores that feed primarily on live prey.

  • Catfish are the only animals that naturally have an odd number of whiskers.

  • Flatheads prefer to dwell in cloudy, slow-moving water.

  • There are 3,000 known species of catfish in the world.

  • Flatheads tend to live their entire lives in the same area.

  • One in every four freshwater fish is a catfish.

  • Flatheads have rows of inward curved teeth on their upper jaw, designed to let food in but not out.

  • It’s the male flathead that guards the nest, and they’re known to be vicious when threatened.

  • 1,224 square miles of Oklahoma are covered by water.

  • West Tawakoni was named the “Catfish Capital of Texas” in 2001.

  • Oklahoma is hit by 1,017,989 lightning strikes per year.

  • The Red River is a 1,360-mile-long tributary of the Mississippi.

  • The Red River is the tenth longest river in the United States.

  • Lake Eufaula is Oklahoma’s largest lake, covering 102,000 surface acres.

  • Guthrie was the first capital city of Oklahoma, until 1913.

  • The Oklahoma state motto is “Labor conquers all things.”

Teresa Decker
Teresa Decker

I hate this show!  It's not all that hard to catch a male catfish in its nest; he's there protecting his young.  Take the male away and thousands of eggs are left unprotected.  One fish caught is thousands destroyed, eaten by predators in the unguarded nest.  These "fishermen" detect the fish when it starts to bite them protecting their young, thus the hands in the mouth when pulled out. I am an avid fisher woman, not a prude, but this is destructive.  

"Catfish nest in cavities. The male creates a nest, and then lures the female there to spawn, no doubt inviting her to view his etchings. After the female has deposited a mound of sticky yellow eggs, the male fertilizes the mass. He drives the female from the nest, preferring to guard the eggs himself. During the six- to 10-day hatching period, the papa catfish eats little. His work is to prote­ct the eggs and keep them aerated and free of sediment by constantly fluttering his fins to circulate water. He continues to protect the young until they leave the nest. [source: Sutton]"