Catching a fish with your bare hands sounds like the sort of story you’d hear around a campfire, a tall tale to be sure. But, hand fishing works and lots of people do it. You may have heard of noodling for catfish, but other types of fish can be caught with just your hands too, and in fact, hand fishing is common enough that some areas have specific fishing regulations dedicated to it.
Far more than an incredible party trick, learning to fish with your bare hands is an invaluable survival skill, allowing you to harvest food with zero equipment. But, even when your back is against the wall, mind the fact that hand fishing comes with risks: A hand dangled in the water can be nibbled on not only by fish, but alligators, beavers, snakes, and turtles, and standing in cold water for extended periods of time can lead to hypothermia; whenever fishing with your bare hands, keep just your arm in the water to limit exposure.
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Illustrated by Ted Slampyak
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