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Piece Comment

Review of Catfish Noodling in Oklahoma


"If you know what yer doin you kin git by pretty well okay. But you kin git drownded -- git on up in a hole, git hit by a fish, knocked out, and drown. There's several different ways."
-- Thomas Riggs, 38-year Noodling veteran.

It's hard to have this much fun in six minutes, but that's the trick of Scott Gurian's fish tale, "Catfish Noodling in Oklahoma". If Saveur magazine delivers "authentic" cuisine, Gurian serves up "authentic audio" here – plenty of splashing, panting, and shooting the breeze. Really, this story makes you proud to be American – you can add Thomas and his fish to your list with Mom and apple pie.

Okay, I'll admit it. Like Thomas Riggs, I "learnt myself" catfish noodling when I was a boy. (In the Yankee version you lay on your belly on the bank of a brook with hands numbingly submerged until the catfish swims into the slow eddy where you're camouflaged. Then, straight-armed and two-handed, you catapult him onto the grass, a flying, swimming, arching cat headed for dinner.) I was not, like Riggs, "hungry... and left standing by a set of railroad tracks in Jerome, Idaho, when I was 7". Rather, it was summertime, I didn't have a fishing pole, and, well, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Which should be said about airing Scott Gurian's "Catfish Noodling in Oklahoma". It puts the "nation" back in NPR.