Let's Go Hogging


By WSIL Sports

REND LAKE -- Glen Trame, Shawn Spears and Phil Wilkerson fish at Rend Lake multiple times a week. But there are no fishing poles in their boat.

"From the beginning of June to the end of July, I don't pick up a rod and reel," Trame said.

These guys are looking for 60 pound flathead catfish and they plan on catching them with their hands.

"I catch plenty of fish on rod and reel every year but I'd much rather be catching them with my hands," Spears said.

"It's an adrenaline rush," added Wilkerson. "Once you do it once, you're hooked."

Hogging was made popular by several TV shows in recent years. Animal Planet debuted a series titled, 'Hillbilly Handfishin', where guides took tourists on noodling expeditions in Oklahoma.

"The thought of hogging scares people more than actually doing it," Trame said. "Once they realize that the chance of them grabbing a snake or especially a snapping turtle is so slim that, 99.999 percent of the time it's going to be catfish."

Just like fishing with a pole, finding fish to noodle is often the hardest part. Glen, Phil and Shawn have several spots they target at Rend Lake. They usually find the biggest fish in holes near old concrete foundations from houses that were built before the lake was made.

"They'll get up in there and spawn and you go in there and if there's a male and female you'll get them both," Trame remarked.

After several stops, Glenn finally catches a fish. He estimates it's about 20 pounds, moderate by his standards. Three weeks ago he caught a 58 pounder in the same spot. On a good day, the trio will catch more than a dozen fish. It provides enough food to feed the whole family.

"They're probably the best you can eat for fish," Wilkerson said. "It's all white meat. It's not like any other catfish."

A few minutes later, Glenn grabs his second flathead of the day. This one slightly bigger than the last. It's not the 60-pounder he was hoping for but Glen says there's nothing better than spending the day hogging.
Marion Regional
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