Who needs a pole to have fun fishing? Not you, intrepid adventurer. Challenge yourself and impress your buddies with these alternative ways to catch a fish without a rod.
It doesn’t get more primitive than this—you, a male catfish guarding his eggs, and a battle of wits. Noodling is an art, and you may know it by its other names, including “grabbling” and “cat-daddling.” You don’t need any equipment for this technique, which goes as follows:
- Find a good-sized catfish hiding underwater.
- Stick your arm in his mouth as bait.
- Wrestle it out of the water.
That’s it, although we’re glossing over much of the struggle. Wear gloves and a shirt with long sleeves on your first try, or you’ll end up with the dreaded “river rash.” Invite some of your beefier friends to block the catfish’s exit (or hold you if you cry). It’s legal across most of the South and Midwest, although you should verify that with the proper authorities. You don’t want to get caught red-handed.
If you’ve ever wondered if there was a way to combine a nice night stroll along with the beach with a five-pronged spear, this is the sport for you. Flounder lay flat on the ocean floor, blending in with the sand. Once you detect their shape in the water—or glimpse one eye moving around eerily—you strike. You can do it by boat, too. It’s a little harder than it sounds, and there are local rules and regulations you’ll need to follow. It helps immensely if you go the first time with an experienced gigger or have a good understanding of the process. Flounder gigging is most popular along the southern Gulf and Atlantic coasts.
Of the many alternative ways to catch a fish without a rod, this one is the most similar to playing whack-a-mole. Regulations vary, but you can usually use up to 20 empty 2-liter bottles. Tie a six-foot fishing line to the bottle with some extra line underneath to attach a hook and a weight to anchor it. Repeat nineteen times. Then watch for one of your jugs to bob in the water and retrieve your catch. If that sounds like a lot of work, you can also put your jugs out at sunset and reap your rewards in the morning.