'Bare Knuckle Babe' Hauls in 72-Pound Catfish, One-Handed

In victory for women, Ms. Millsap becomes the first to win Okie Noodling Festival

Bare Knuckle Babes

Lucy Millsap, center, and catfish

Bare Knuckle Babe Lucy Millsap became the first woman to win the annual Okie Noodling Tournament in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

The 19-year-old former cheerleader from Texas, who has been noodling since she was 5 years old, beat out over 200 other contestants by catching a 72-pound catfish with her bare hands.

Bare Knuckle Babes is an all-woman noodling club.  Millsap is a member, but both men and women were bested in her first ever competition.

Noodling, which is illegal in all but 11 southern states, is a form of fishing in which fishermen use their fingers as bait to catch giant catfish by sticking their bare hands down the animals throat.

Sound dangerous? It is.

Losing a finger or two to a catfish is an obvious risk, but old-time noodlers also tell stories of people being drowned by a strong catfish fighting for its life.

For noodlers, these dangers only add to the allure of the sport. Millsap told Tulsa World that the winning fish gave her a bit of a fight. It "rolled like an alligator," she said, and injured her hand.

Miss May in Bare Knuckle Babes 2014 calendar, Millsap told The Tulsa World that her victory is a win for women.

“I'm standing up for women, and you don't think we can do it? Well, here you go, I just did."

The real question is, how long before Bare Knuckle Babes has its own reality TV show? 


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