Okie Noodling

There’s nothing quite like catching a 60-pound catfish with your bare hands, and Oklahoma fishermen have been for hundreds of years.

Okie noodling 01
True Stories
Premiere Date
May 1, 2002
60 minutes
Funding Initiative
Open Call
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2001 Great Plains Film Festival -Best Documentary
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2001 South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW)-Audience Award, Documentary Competition
  • Beesley bradley filmmaker bio

    Bradley Beesley

    San Francisco-based filmmaker Bradley Beesley has been named one of Filmmaker’s Top 25 Independent Filmmakers. His 2005 documentary The Fearless Freaks, featuring the Flaming Lips, has screened worldwide and aired on the Sundance Channel. Summercamp!, which Beesley co-directed with Sarah Price, premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Beesley also directed Roller Girls, an episodic documentary for A&E, and Okie Noodliing (2001), an ITVS program. His long-term collaboration with the Flaming Lips includes co-directing 10 of their music videos and acting as producer and cinematographer on the sci-fi narrative Christmas on Mars. Beesley’s first film, Hill Stomp Hollar, won first runner-up at the 1999 SXSW film festival.

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    The Film

    There’s nothing quite like the thrill of catching a 60-pound catfish with your bare hands, and that’s just what Oklahoma fishermen have been doing for hundreds of years. Diving into creeks, rivers, and lakes in search of bank-dwelling catfish, the tradition of “noodling” originated as a Native American hunting practice, but has survived as a rural sport with a unique and colorful subculture. Okie Noodling catches the excitement and sense of community that has hooked three Oklahoma families on handfishing.