Preparing for a different form of noodling

Slice a pool noodle the way you would a pineapple, ending up with several thumb-sized bait pieces that will stay on a hook while providing a medium for holding stink bait.

The term “noodling” for catfish usually refers to the sport of grabbing catfish by hand, but at Lake Washington it takes on a different meanings.

There, it refers to other methods of catching catfish that are often referred to as jugging — dropping lines off floating objects, which traditionally meant using plastic “jugs” or bottles — and yo-yo fishing.

Jugging became noodling when someone came up with the idea that pieces of pool noodle, the kind the kids play with in the swimming pool, not only makes a great floating device to attach drop lines but also a great medium to apply prepared stink or dip bait on a hook.

Preparing the noodle

To prepare the noodle for use, use a sharp knife to cut a ring off the end of the noodle, which is hollow inside, about ¾ inch thick. Lay the slice of noodle flat and cut the ring into chunks anywhere from ¾ to 1 inch across.

Whether on a floating device or a yo-yo (mechanical limb line), the angler must attach a line. Most anglers use a Carolina-rig with ½- or ¾-ounce weight and a leader of 1½ to 3 feet in length for yo-yos, perhaps longer for floating devices.

Once the piece of noodle is put on the hook, it is ready for baiting. Dip baits are sold in jars or buckets with lids. Drop the hooked piece of noodle into the jar or bucket and use a stick or spoon to smear the bait onto the noodle.

When using the dip bait on a yo-yo or other commercial device, it is common for some of the dip bait to fall or sling off. Think of this as helping to bait the area. Because the pool noodle is buoyant, the bait will float up off the bottom. You can counter this by using a wide-gap jighead instead of a hook or by adding sufficient weight to the line to hold the bait at the desired depth in the water column.

About Phillip Gentry 405 Articles
Phillip Gentry is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer who says that if it swims, walks, hops, flies or crawls he’s usually not too far behind.

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