Swimming Trip Turns Into Noodling Extravaganza

I hate fishing.

I don’t see the fun in it, unless there is a cooler of ice cold beer, but even then why does a rod and reel have to be involved?

I can effectively utilize a cooler while on the golf course or sitting in my recliner at home.

Of course, I had never experienced fishing like I did Tuesday evening. I went noodling, which means to attempt to catch fish, generally catfish, with your bare hands.

I joined cousin Dale, cousin Jalen and brother Troy for a swim at Cottonwood Point at the Marion Reservoir outside of Marion, Kan.

Just as I have an affinity for fishing, I’m not a huge outdoorsy person. I dislike camping because of the bugs and sleeping on the ground, so I wasn’t chomping at the bit to swim in the lake.

However, I figured a nice relaxing swim would feel nice, so I easily agreed to go.

Making our way down the beach to swimming area, I noticed a couple things.

One was a couple was burying their grandson in the sand with the help of another youngster.

Another missed photo opportunity. Dang.

The second thing I noticed was how green the water was.

Upon entering the cool water, I quickly realized one could not see through the water. I couldn’t see my hand just below the surface.

It was filled with algae and debris, most likely stirred up from the recent bout of storms that had struck the area.

(We later learned the lake was experiencing a blue-green algae bloom, which shouldn’t be consumed by humans. Apparently I swallowed a little bit because I think I had a small bout of the dysentery, but that is neither here nor there.)

In any event, we all swam, frolicked and practiced skipping rocks dug up with our toes from the lakebed.

We were all very leery of each other as we swam, though, because we all feared being the victim of a drive-by peeing. Luckily, there were no reports of such malicious activity.

If there had been, I am sure the victim would have screamed like a girl, much like Dale did when we saw something swimming toward us in the water.

Dale began making his way back to shore. Jalen followed suit.

I simply stopped moving, and Troy approached the creature.

And then it disappeared, which kind of worried us all.

Collectively we resolved to enjoy or swim closer to the beach.

As we did, I noticed the creature had returned, and then I saw its mouth eating the surface scum we were swimming in.

It was a fish of an unknown variety, and there were five of them swimming around cleaning up the swimming area.

Troy and I decided to attempt catching one of the fish.

We scooped up rocks from beneath our feet and approached the fish.

Quietly we entered the area the fish were eating in and extended our hands just below the surface.

Troy claims to have been close enough to catching one that he touched two of the fish.

I could have done the same if my arms were twice as long.

Granted, it would have been cooler had we actually caught a fish, but noodling was fun.

And we didn’t even have a cooler.

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About toddvogts 800 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, MJE, is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association, among others. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at twitter.com/toddvogts or via his website at www.toddvogts.com.

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