Name: Hannah Barron
Hometown: Brantley, Alabama
Hannah Barron is proud to be an Alabama girl. She’s been in fields, deer stands, and fishing boats for as long as she can remember—hunting and fishing with her dad, Jeff Barron. Hannah was flying under the radar until a video of her catching a 30-pound catfish while noodling (more on that in a minute) went viral. Like really viral—to the tune of about 15,000,000 views. So with a much bigger platform, Hannah Barron encourages women to get outdoors and try the sports she loves—and yep that includes noodling.
So what is noodling – and why on earth did you start doing it?
Noodlin’ is catching catfish with your hands. It’s also called grabblin’ and handfishin’, which makes the most sense. We learned about noodlin’ from a game warden named Brad Gavin, who was my dad’s neighbor. He asked if we wanted to try noodlin’ and we said, “heck yeah,” and it’s been wide open ever since.
Q: What’s your best noodling story?
The first big fish I ever caught started dragging me away with it. So my daddy picked me and the catfish up and threw us both in the boat. The biggest one I’ve ever caught was 56 pounds.
Q: Ever been hurt noodling?
My dad’s had his fingers broken, and I’ve been cut up, but nothing serious. I’ve got some good scars. I’ve been bitten a ton of times—getting bit is the fun part of catching them. I use the hashtag #getbit.
Q: You hunt, fish, noodle, bowfish, a little bit of everything…who got you into outdoor sports?
My dad 100 percent. I’ve been hunting with him for as long as I can remember. Once I could walk and was out of diapers, he had me in the woods. There’s pictures of him with a deer in one hand and holding me in the other with a pacifier in my mouth. I killed my first deer when I was 8—it was a 7-point buck. My dad made me wait for it. We watched a bunch of does and smaller bucks pass by. It was the perfect first buck because it taught me if you wait, you’ll get something bigger.
Q: If you had to choose only one—hunting, fishing, or noodling—to do for the rest of your life, which would you choose?
I couldn’t do it! I’d have to do deer hunting and noodling depending on the season. During deer season, hunting is my favorite. But if it’s May or June, I’m noodling.
Q: You have 442,000 Instagram followers. How does social media fit in your life?
My lifestyle is the same as it’s always been; social media just gives me a way to document it. I’ve always been an avid outdoorswoman, and I’ve always taken lots of pictures. When the moment is over, I like to have something to remember it by. So even before social media, I had thousands of pictures on my phone. Social media lets me document the things I do and share them with people.
Q: Any weird feedback?
There can be negative comments—there’s always haters. But I really like to influence people and be a positive representative of women in the outdoors. I keep it as real as I can. The messages I get from young girls or men with daughters mean more to me than anything. It makes everything worth it. And I’ve made so many friends through social media. It creates relationships.
Q: How do you encourage women to get outdoors or what advice do you have for guys who want to get their girls outside?
For guys: Take your women out, but don’t push it. If they’re anything like me—I’m pretty hard headed—if you push, they’re going to resist. But if you take them with you and show that you want them there, they’ll want to try it to make you happy. And if they get out there and get into it, there’s a very big chance they’ll love it and want to stick with it.
For women: Don’t be scared to try. I wasn’t raised to believe these were men’s sports. I’ve just always loved it. I’ve never known any different.
Q: You’re also a huge fitness buff. How does that factor into your outdoors activities?
I didn’t start working out until after high school. I always had hip problems, and it’s always been worse during deer season when I’m sitting in tree stands for a long time and it’s cold. My doctor told me I needed to build up the muscle around my hips so I started working out. It now helps when I hunt.
Q: What’s the funniest outdoor-related pickup line you’ve every gotten?
I can’t remember any memorable pick up lines, but I met my fiancée (Hunter who proposed to Hannah over the Christmas holidays) through noodling. He’s lived his whole life on the lake where we noodle. Three years ago, he saw a picture that I posted on Instagram, and he recognized the background and sent me a message. So he didn’t really use a line, but we met through Instagram and have been together ever since.
Q: What’s your best “the one that got away” story?
I’m after a 6-point right now that I’ve been after for years and still haven’t gotten. We’ve watched him grow up. But now he’s getting old and harder to kill. There’s another one we call Battle Ax, a one-eyed 9 point. One day I was sitting in the deer stand near a pond, and there was an open spot in the woods right in front of me. The wind was blowing across the pond when Battle Ax came right to the edge of the woods in the clearing in front of me. All of a sudden, the wind changed, he smelled me, and he took off and we’ve never seen him again. But I came closer than anybody to killing that deer.
Q: When you’re not outdoors, what do you love to do?
I love music! I used to play guitar and had a little band in high school that played old country music and 80’s rock. All of my favorite music is from a different generation.
Q: What would you like to leave our readers with?