Noodlers vs. Grabblers
This brief aside about a video in our May 10 feature story, “Using Their Noodle,” opened a Mississippi River-size can of worms: “Forced to watch a clip from Girls Gone Grabblin’ in which a woman in protective gloves effortlessly pulls a limp catfish from the water, a disgusted Gary Webb scoffs, ‘Them girls ain’t noodling. That fish was already dead!'”
After seeing the story in print, Webb reflected on the assessment and concluded it had been a little hasty, so he contacted Girls Gone Grabblin’ creator Marty Jenkins to apologize.
“That fish wasn’t dead. The mean had just gone out of him,” Webb says. He adds that he has seen other clips from Girls Gone Grabblin’ involving catfish that are plenty feisty.
Jenkins, a grabbler who produces his videos with his wife, Fostana, was riled anyway. He called from his home in Etowah, Tennessee, to set things straight. “Not one of them is staged,” Jenkins said of the catches caught on his video. He plans to release a second Girls Gone Grabblin’ video in December. In fact, the first one has “just blown everybody’s mind,” he said. “A lot of people said, ‘Man, I thought I was going to see a bunch of girls in there with no teeth and spitting tobacco,’ and they say, ‘My gosh, those are some good-looking women.'”
Jenkins also defends the use of gloves while grabbling.
“Some of the controversy we deal with, of course, is the gloves. Well, I used to do it with no gloves, and like I told Howard [Ramsey] and Gary [Webb]: That might be their big thing, but it ain’t a big deal to me,” Jenkins said.
Webb says he doesn’t fault Jenkins for using gloves — it’s just not the way he has taught his own clan. “Here’s my analogy: My bunch, I want them to taste every little morsel of that catch. Noodling with gloves is sort of like going deer hunting with a gun versus bow hunting: You just connect with it more.”
Noodler Howard Ramsey, meanwhile, notes that Jenkins has always backed the Noodlers Anonymous cause, and he applauds Jenkins for getting girls to go grabbling, period.
“He’s been real supportive of us through this whole thing. We sure don’t want to get him upset,” Ramsey says. “If a girl’s got guts enough to get in the water, she can wear gloves. That’s fine with me. We just don’t do it that way up here.”