In this inside look at the folk tradition of hand-fishing, Mary Grigsby interviews thirty Missouri noodlers to examine this sport's appeal. The skill of catching spawning catfish with the bare hands is passed down through generations and builds a sense of community among participants despite -- or perhaps because of -- its illegality. Grigsby explores how the mostly rural, working-class noodlers create a sense of individual worth and a collective identity as they hold on to a way of life they fear may become lost. To add perspective to this male-dominated activity, she includes women's accounts of their involvement in these traditional practices. Giving voice to the noodlers themselves, Grigsby provides a fascinating view of Missouri's hand-fishing community.