STILWELL – Cherokee Nation citizen Kenny Limore is referred to by his friends as “The Cherokee Noodler.”
Limore has been hand fishing for big catfish all of his life and is passionate about continuing the tradition that was passed down to him by his late father, Kenneth Limore.
“It was one of those things where dad said we were going catfishing. It was summertime and I got fired up. It’s one of my fondest childhood memories; it was definitely an experience. I look forward to June every year because that’s when we go catfishing” he said.
Hand fishing, or noodling as it is often referred to, is the sport of catching catfish using only your hands. Limore describes the sport as “the perfect combination of hunting and fishing.”
“You’re fishing because you’re looking for fish, but you’re hunting because you have to find these holes. You don’t know where he’s going to be,” Limore said.
Finding the right spot and the right big rock where a big catfish might live can be a somewhat daunting task for any noodler, Limore explained.
“When I find a big rock and I feel around the bottom of it and I find a hole, I take me a good deep breath and I go down and I start feeling around that hole for a fish,” Limore said. “Sometimes they will come meet you right there at the hole and they don’t want you in there, they’re trying to run you off. Whenever I find one I come up, get another deep breath and get my mind right. Once you get your mind right, you go down there and it’s just you and him. When he bites you and you grab ahold of that fish and he knows you have ahold of him, it’s the best feeling in the world as far as I’m concerned. It’s what I live for every June.”
Limore has taught many of his friends the art of noodling and enjoys getting to pass on his knowledge to those around him.
“I’m not sure if this is something the Cherokees have done throughout our whole culture, I can’t say that for certain, but I do know it’s been going on in my family and it’s been part of my culture since I was a kid. Noodling is as in touch with the land as you can possibly get in a sense. You’re not using any tools, you’re not using any technology. It’s you, it’s nature, and it’s the chase,” he said.
Multimedia Specialist Josh Fourkiller currently lives in Tahlequah, Oklahoma but calls Stilwell his hometown. He began working at the Cherokee Phoenix in February of 2020. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Josh always knew he wanted to work for the Cherokee p ...
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