For my books I’ve done my fair share of research into things off the beaten path. The porn film industry for BUCKED. Clit piercings for FLANKED. Aphrodisiac sealife native to the Channel Islands for GILLIAN’S ISLAND. But nothing, NOTHING compares to today’s research for sheer WTF and OMG value. Today I researched hand fishing for Catfish.
It’s called Hillybilly Handfishin’ on the Animal Planet TV show. Or noodling by the Oklahoma Wildlife Department. But the Bivins family, who have been perfecting this sport/skill for generations, just calls it grabbling. In fact, they start their kids off catching catfish by hand at 4 years old.
The New York suburbonite in me, the one who is afraid of putting my hand in a pocket or my foot in a shoe without checking for spiders first, calls it insane! I guess I’m just a sissy that way, but if the concept of sticking my hand into an underwater hole in a riverbed so a catfish could bite it hadn’t already scared me off, this warning from the Big Fish Adventures website would have…
“You definitely don’t want to go alone because it can be dangerous… You have to also watch out for the snakes, and that is also where another person comes in handy to be a snake watcher.”
I have to say, though, this was the most fun research I’ve done in a long time–and it wasn’t even sexual in nature! This story is going to practically write itself with all the material I got. What am I working on? Not so coincidentally, it’s named FISH OUT OF WATER, and it’s my novella for the mass market paperback anthology being put out by Kensington Brava next July. It’s a beach read, and all the authors’ stories have a water theme (beach, lake, summer vacation near the water somewhere, etc.) My story will feature the characters from my Brava trade paperback series OKLAHOMA NIGHTS.
Anyway, back to work. I have a chef giving me campsite catfish recipes on Twitter so my characters can cook the fish they’re going to catch in my story. The fun continues!