We all know it’s only a matter of time before “The Big One” hits the West Coast, probably somewhere in California first because, let’s face it, they get everything first. The aftershocks will then spread north along Oregon’s coastline, which is exactly where I happen to live. I’ve prepared myself for The Big One as best I can but the truth is: How much can you really prepare for a Sharknado?
But you’re going to need more than a survival kit of granola bars and toilet paper when faced with a giant tornado full of hungry Great White sharks. Although the toilet paper will probably come in handy.
What you need is someone who knows how to handle aggressive fish. Someone who isn’t afraid to reach inside its gaping jaws and show it who’s boss. Someone who routinely seeks out their underwater burrows, fearlessly reaches inside and drags them to the surface by the the throat. Occasionally while sober.
Because we here at Long Awkward Pause care deeply about our readers (everyone else is shark bait in our opinion), I was put in charge of conducting an extensive search for the people you’ll want to make friends with before the impending Sharknado comes to your area. After spending time with Alaskan halibut fishermen, crabbers in Maine and Japanese sushi chefs, none compare to Oklahoma catfish “noodlers” when it comes to bare-handing aggressive water predators.
As I discovered, the Deep South contains people who use themselves as bait for catfish roughly the size of an Airstream travel trailer. Generally speaking, these people are not intoxicated or medicated. No. These folks WANT to hunt catfish by sticking their bare hands into underwater burrows, knowing full well it could be the hiding place of a cottonmouth, snapping turtle or Donald Sterling. Who better to have with you in the event of a Sharkado?
To fully appreciate this aggressive style of catting known as “noodling,” you must keep a couple of things in mind. First, some catfish can weigh as much as 100 pounds. Fish biologists have documented enormous mouth radiuses, which is done by carefully extending the mouth to its largest capacity, measuring it on all sides, then comparing it to a scale reference provided by Mick Jagger.
The other thing you have to remember is that the South’s most successful “noodlers” — those who have achieved celebrity by the sheer volume of catfish they’ve landed with their bare hands — generally have names like “Uncle Stubby,” “Button-Nosed Jim” and “Three-Finger Jack.” These men not only offer themselves for the sake of the sport, buy vow to keep doing so, even if it becomes necessary for someone to physically insert them into a catfish lair headfirst once they’ve lost all their appendages. It’s this kind of dedication that inspires people like myself to at least consider taking a risk and, despite the danger, order a fried catfish dinner that might contain a missing digit from “Three-Finger Jack.”
To better understand this sport, I tried contacting several “noodlers” by phone to discuss what it takes to be successful. One thing I learned right away was to make sure the person you are calling is indeed a “noodler” before addressing them as such. This is especially true if you accidentally transpose the number and call someone who is, at that very moment, running late for an anger management class.
As it stands, I have yet to talk with an actual “noodler,” many of whom were in Pauls Valley, Okla., last month for the 15th annual Okie Noodling Tournament, which is held in Wacker Park.
Yes, I said “noodling” in “Wacker Park,” which proves some jokes just write themselves.
With the premier of Sharknado 2 set to make landfall July 30, and the threat of a real-life Sharknado (or even Jellyfish-nado for that matter) growing by the minute, we hope this special report has been helpful.
On a side note, we’d also suggest staying out of Wacker Park unless there’s a tournament going on.
MORE PLACES TO FIND LONG AWKWARD PAUSE:
Facebook: Long Awkward Pause
Tumblr: Long Awkward Pause Mag
Would you like to see a topic discussed on LAP? Click HERE.