Noodlers bring home the catfish at Okie Noodling Tournament

ED GODFREY, Outdoors Editor Published: July 12, 2009
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photo - Marion Kincaid unloads a catfish during the Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley on Saturday.  (Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman)
Marion Kincaid unloads a catfish during the Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley on Saturday. (Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman)
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uot;If you have an event that gets you attention like no other event all year, you would keep doing it, wouldn’t you?”

It’s certainly paid off for Bob’s Pig Shop.

"We get calls from people all over the country, just because of Okie Noodling,” said Bob’s Pig Shop manager Jamie Sheridan. "Most people think the restaurant is right on the river and that as soon as we are done working, we jump out there and go noodling.”

Wilson said Bob’s Pig Shop has become Pauls Valley’s equivalent of Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater.

"It’s an icon,” she said. "The kind of media attention that it (Okie Noodling) has brought the restaurant, there is no way they could have paid for that kind of advertising.”

Okie Noodling also has celebrated and legitimized a type of fishing that few people paid much attention to before the first tournament and the first Okie Noodling documentary that aired on public television.

"This is a sport that was done mostly in secret or at night,” Bivins said. "Now that they have shed a little light on it, it’s really opened the eyes of some people. So few people knew what noodling was, now that’s it’s gained national attention, it’s almost like a fire has ignited. People can’t get enough of it.”

It has brought new people to the sport. Oklahoma County game warden Mark Murray said there’s more noodlers to be checked these days.

"When they find good spots, they don’t want to tell anybody,” Sheridan said.