Please dont take any of this the wrong way, just needed something to write an essay about. Kyle Snider Jan 4, 2006 1st Hour Place Size Limits On Noodling Not for the faint of heart, noodling is a sport which many participate in. Noodling is done by reaching ones hand into a catfishs hideout and wrestling out the fish. The most sought after catfish is the Flathead Catfish. Flathead can grow to over one hundred pounds. They spawn in the spring and early summer. Noodling is done during the spawn when fish move into holes to build and protect nest. Due to noodling, many nest are left unguarded and many big fish are harvested for the table. In order to have an adequate amount of big fish around we need to leave some. Size limits should be set for noodling to increase the amount of big fish. Flathead can grow to phenomenal sizes, therefore needing much to eat. It takes ten pounds of fresh fish for a flathead to gain one pound of body weight. A flatheads diet consist almost entirely of live food. By having several flathead, populations of baitfish and gamefish are kept in balance. If populations were to get out of control many fish would die and growth would be stunted due to competition for food and space. Dramatic population shifts would throw off the entire food change and ecosystem in the area. Flathead catfish have a slower reproductive rate than most other freshwater fish species. They take four to six years to mature and become fertile. Females lay only around 1,000 eggs per pound of body weight, where as other catfish produce about 3,000-4,000 eggs per pound of body weight. Due to the lower egg production it helps a lot to have the larger fish in the water since produce a lot of eggs. Males and females both guard the nest and fan the silt off the eggs until they hatch. When protecting the nest they will attack anything that gets near it, including a noodlers hand. By taking bigger fish there would be fewer mature fish to breed. Along with having a low reproductive rate, it may take a flathead 10-15 years to reach 60 pounds. The opportunity for others to catch a big fish is very important. The feeling of catching a big fish is very exciting. Big flathead fight like a heavyweight and pull like a bulldozer. I believe everyone should be able to enjoy catching a large fish. The memories last a lifetime and the stories can be told through the generations. I constantly hear stories of my father, uncles, grandparents and even great-grandparents catching big flathead catfish. I would like to pass the same stories and even some of my own down to my children, their children, and so on. They should also have the opportunity to pull in big fish for the hard work they may put into finding one. Placing size limits on noodling would increase the amount of large fish. By practicing catch and release of flatheads over 50 pounds, numbers of baitfish and gamefish would be kept under control, catfish would have the chance to spawn and produce more offspring, and many others would get the chance to enjoy catching large fish. Catfishing means a lot to me and many other people I know, it would be a shame to see it lose popularity over something that could be easily fixed.