Nat Geo Channel's "Mudcats" premieres Sunday, January 13, 2013, at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Hands as bait? Oklahoma fishermen do it a bit different than the 'Wicked Tuna' guys.
Deep in the heart of America, an age-old tradition has given way to a fierce competition of brains, brawn and guts. Hand fishing is more than a hobby for these fishermen; it’s a rite of passage that has been passed down for generations. Many of these men, and in one case a woman, have been taught by their grandfathers and fathers, and it’s a tradition they’ll one day pass down to their own kin.
From Nat Geo:
Oklahoma’s Okie Hand Fishing Invitational. For 10 weeks, teams hunt for colossal flathead catfish using only their bare hands. With bragging rights, a $2,000 weekly prize and a $10,000 grand prize on the line, it’s an all-out battle to “bring home the bacon,” or in this case, “fish.”
National Geographic Channel’s (NGC) new series Mudcats, premiering Sunday, January 13, 2013, at 10 p.m. ET/PT, literally dives into the murky waters of hand fishing, or handfishin’ as the locals might say.
For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com/mudcats and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NGC_PR.
Defending Champion Scooter Bivins, his gritty nemesis Marion Kincaid, Young Gun Teddy Good and trash-talking Don “Katt Daddy” Brewer are determined to take care of unfinished business.
But there is one new competitor on the water who could change everything—hand-fishing royalty Lee “The Legend” McFarlin has entered the fray.
Following the five teams competing in the invitational, we’ll see exactly what it takes to shove a hand down the throat of a prehistoric monster and wrestle it out of the water. NGC cameras both on land and underwater capture the thrill of the hunt as noodlers scour brush piles and rock formations with only their hands and feet, in the hopes of locating a catfish lair.
The risky technique may sound insane, but that is why the mudcatters fish in pairs. One noodler dives under water to depths reaching 20 feet to drag a catfish out of its cave, while the spotter waits above to string the beast and intervene if things get out of control. The danger can be as deep as the water, as viewers will see when a rookie nearly drowns trying to drag a flathead out of a hole 15 feet under water.
With cash on the line and five of the best grabblers out to get it, it’ll all come down to strategy, experience and sheer guts.
Meet the Mudcats:
Don “Katt Daddy” Brewer is the larger-than-life, tattooed trash talker of the group. Together with longtime friend Dennis Williams, the tough-as-nails duo plans to dominate the competition this season.
Teddy Good and his cousin Winston Walters are the “Young Guns.” As the next generation of hand-fishermen, they have a lot to prove to their competitors and their ancestors.… Teddy learned to noodle from his great-grandfather, and Winston fishes the same rivers his Comanche ancestors once did.
Scooter Bivens is the Okie Invitational’s defending champion—hailing from a family known as hand-fishing royalty. This season, Scooter is fishing with Nate Williams, a rookie with a lot to learn about handfishin’.
Marion Kincaid, “The Catfish King” and his high-school buddy Mark Shull are Harley-riding, rough-and-tumble kind of guys, with a motto “If you ain’t bleedin’, you ain’t hand-fishin’.”
“The Legend” Lee McFarlin is a hand-fishing master with more than 40 years of experience, and a heavy favorite to win it all. He’s been teaching his daughter the ropes since she was a little girl, and now Misty Garcia is his fishing partner.
Mudcats: Big Fish Big Bucks
Sunday, January 13, 2013, 10:00 PM ET/PT
It’s the first round of the 10-week-long Okie Hand Fishing Invitational, and grabbler “Katt Daddy” Brewer thinks he’s got a hold on a local legend. Underwater cameras capture the epic battle of man versus fish, as Katt Daddy wrestles a megabeast he calls Jaws. But this time, the fish gets the best of him. Katt Daddy explains, “He was a big bitch and he was mean, and he tore my ass up. You know, he bust me in the head, bit me on top of the head. You know, put white spots in my eyes.” Elsewhere, father-daughter duo Lee McFarlin and Misty Garcia roll the dice, driving all the way to Texas to fish. Rules say teams can fish wherever they want, but it’s risky to waste all that valuable time driving. But it’s the Catfish King who brings in the week’s biggest fish, a 62-lb. whopper!
Mudcats: Deep Trouble
Sunday, January 20, 2013, 10:00 PM ET/PT
As the tournament enters week two, five grabbling teams are feeling the pressure to find this week’s $2,000 heaviest fish. Veteran noodler Scooter Bivens dives into murky lake waters with his new partner Nate, a rookie with a lot to learn. Deeper lakes are much more dangerous. If something goes wrong, the surface is a lot farther away. An all-too-real lesson Nate learns the hard way, after nearly drowning while diving a hole 15 feet under water. Meanwhile, the Young Guns fish the hallowed waters of Winston’s Comanche ancestors. It’s a tough day on the job for the team; after narrowly dodging an encounter with a deadly cottonmouth snake, Winston gets tangled under a brush pile and is running out of air!