Noodling, hogging, or hand-fishing, whatever you want to call it, can be an absolute blast. One of my favorite hobbies in the summer, hands down, but if this happened to me, it might be enough make me quit.
Destry Mitchell, young man from Atoka, Oklahoma, had been noodling hundreds of times and really enjoyed it. But on this trip, a noodler's biggest fear came up and attacked his hand. A cottonmouth, better known as a water moccasin, was sitting on the other side of a rock that Destry was noodling by, and realizing it, he placed his hand atop that rock.
The three-and-a-half-foot water moccasin latched on too his hand and would lead to one of the post painful experiences and weeks to come for the young man. He almost lost his hand.
Despite popular belief, noodling injuries are pretty rare. Many think that snakes, snapping turtles, and even beavers would present extreme dangers and attack quite often, but that isn't the case. Now, is there some every now and then? Of course, and this instance is proof and unfortunately Destry was one of them.
In a split second, the fangs of this cottonmouth may have forever ruined his love for noodling. The two bite marks quickly took a turn for the worse and put Destry into intensive care. The doctors gave him 14 doses of anti-venom and said he was lucky he didn't lose his hand.
Thankfully, he will get to keep his hand and finger, but may never have feeling in that finger again. But hey, that may be a blessing in disguise if he continues to hand fish right? Then he won't feel any pain when those big catfish latch on. Better them than another cottonmouth.
As Destry urges at the end of the video to all people who noodle... "Just be careful".
I second those thoughts. Know your surroundings and try to be alert of where your hands are going, especially above water because that is where you will run into most snakes. It is also beneficial to know what snakes are in your area and to be able to identify them properly so you can react in the appropriate manner if you come in contact or are bitten by one.
Be safe out there and fish on!