Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Debates Got You Bored? 7 Badass Feats of Strength from Politicians

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 8:10 AM

Page 5 of 7

3. Paul Ryan - Congressman and VP candidate

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You might've caught Paul Ryan's sculpted biceps in TIME last week. But far right as you may be, you probably weren't as excited as we were when we learned Ryan has been known to noodle in his spare time. RFT's love affair with the noodlers of Missouri goes back a ways. These are the fearless men and women who grab large catfish from the muddy bottoms of lakes with their bare hands. Catfish noodling isn't your run-of the-mill fishing trip. In using a May 2007 feature story about this extreme, occasionally-outlawed sport, we reported how lifelong noodler Howard Ramsey landed an especially feisty 64 lb beast:

A Missouri noodler displays his bounty. - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • A Missouri noodler displays his bounty.

"This fish was about six or eight foot back in a hollow log," Ramsey explains. "So my son pushed me into the hole headfirst and grabbed my ankles."

Wearing nothing but a pair of jeans, Ramsey found himself submerged in the river's cloudy water and nose to nose with the fish, which was guarding its cache of eggs. Ramsey put his hands in front of him as he approached, inducing the flathead to attack with its weapon-like lower jaw.

In other words, he had that catfish right where he wanted him.

"He's chewing me any place he can grab," Ramsey says. "Then I put both hands in his lower jaw, and--"

Thinking better of divulging a bit of hard-won strategy, the fisherman says tersely: "Well, I'm not going to tell you all the secrets."

When his puppy dog eyes aren't trained on a TV camera or the latest Ayn Rand anniversary re-release, Paul Ryan likes to go out with the guys and scour river banks for catfish nests.

"You get your hand inside the fish and they kind of, they come up on your hand. Then you just squeeze wherever you are on that fish and pull it out," Ryan told the New York Times several months ago. "I know it sounds crazy, but it's really exhilarating."

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