If anyone is interested in noodling, here's a good way to start.
You'll need the following supplies:
(1) 10' stick of 1/2" PVC
(1) 1/2" tee connector
(1) 6" foam buoy
(1) 10/0 treble hook
40' of trot line (mine was 260lb. test. Also, I preferred tarred line.)
some foam,(mine was a piece of wood stain applicator, I've also seen upholstery cushion foam used.)
any garlic spray attractant.
Start by tying the treble hook on one end of the line. I find the Palomar knot works well for this. Leave about a foot extra so the knot stays secure underwater. Also, tarred line will help to keep the knot secure when wet.
Next, feed the loose end of the line through the pipe. It tends to get wadded up inside and isn't stiff enough to push through, so I find it helps to push it as far as it will go, then blow through the pipe in the direction you're feeding the line. Rinse and repeat until it comes out of the other side. You should end up with the hook looking something like this:
Now take the 1/2" tee and drill a 1/8" hole in the center of the tee like so:
And feed the loose end of the line through, like so:
Tie the tee on using the following method: Form a bight near the hole you drilled and pass it through the tee in the direction of the red arrow.
Now pass the end of the bight through the loop shown, from BACK to FRONT, then pass the standing end through the bight.
Pull everything tight, and you should end up with this:
Now you need to tie on the buoy. Pass the line through the buoy and tie a simple square knot, leaving about 8" extra.
Rotate the line so the knot is inside the buoy and only the extra 8" is sticking out of the end.
Wrap about half of the line lengthwise around the buoy, taking care to keep the extra 8" out of the way.
On your next turn, lay the line on the buoy itself (red), and pass the extra over it (blue).
Now, holding the extra taut, turn the line around the width of the buoy until it is about 8' away from the knot at the tee.
Form another bight in the line (red) and pass it under one of your lengthwise turns (blue).
Now form another bight below the one you just made, and pass it through the first bight, which is tucked under the lengthwise turn.
Pull the second bight tight and you should get this:
The reason for this specific knot is to ensure that if a fish is hooked and the pole gets out of your hand, the pressure from the buoy floating and the fish pulling down will untie this knot, and you will still be able to retrieve fish and pole as the buoy will float on the surface. You should make the line about 10 feet longer than the channel you will be fishing near. That way, the fish will be unable to pull the buoy under, due to the length of the line. For example, my channel is about 30' deep, and my line is 40' long, therefore any fish that is hooked on my pole won't be able to swim deep enough to drag the buoy under. If you'd like to wind the extra 8' of line up and repeat this knot close to the tee, the loop you have left at the end can slip over the tee and keep the buoy from unraveling during storage and transport.
Now let's look at the business end. Your hook should have a little slack in it:
Now take a strip of foam, about 2" by 10", and fold in it half like a hotdog bun. Hook the first barb of the treble hook near the end corner opposite the fold.
Wrap the end around the shank of the hook, pushing each barb through as you go. The last hook you will make will be on top of the first barb. Trim the excess and you're good to go.
Basically, the idea is to soak the foam with garlic spray and stick it in a catfish hole. the fish grabs the hook and the rest is history. Boat ramps are great places to find holes. Just look at the edge of the ramp, and you can't miss the holes.
If you have any questions, feel free to post or PM me. Where I'm from (Georgia), this legally isn't considered noodling, rather pole and line fishing, just like a cane pole. We have a noodling season, March 1 to July 15, where you can catch only catfish using only your hands, but using a pole like this, I can fish hog cats all year round. You should check your state laws before going noodling with poles or otherwise. Noodling hasn't caught on nationwide yet, so there are some states where it's still illegal altogether.