This qualitative research, based on interviews and participant observation conducted between 2005 and 2008, examines patterned variations in the masculine identity work of Missouri men noodlers between the ages of 18 and 90. Noodling or hand fishing is a folk tradition that involves submerging in lakes or rivers and feeling under the banks for holes where large catfish are spawning. The fingers are used as a lure to catch the catfish by hand. Noodling is contested terrain in which men with differing age cohort-based identity needs emphasize certain aspects from the tool kit of noodling culture over others. Cohort differences are shaped by structural changes affecting different age cohorts in varied ways.

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