One of my most vivid childhood memories is of my neighbor coming home from his fishing camp on the Amite River with a fresh catch of catfish.
He’d get to work skinning and filleting them. He’d batter and coat them in cornmeal, then fry them in a cast iron pot. And, lucky for us, he invited his neighbors over to share.
Each bite tasted like a warm memory of earth and river.
The catfish has satiated hungry Southerners as long as we have been around. One in every ten fish on the planet is a kind of catfish, and they can be found on every continent except Antarctica. Odds are almost everyone, everywhere, has some awareness of this particular fish family.
Their whiskers, the reason for their name, are called barbels and contain the greatest concentration of their sensory organs. Where they lack scales, they make up for it in taste buds. Their entire body is covered in taste receptors that allow them to taste their food long before they sense it any other way.
Catfish have been the “big fish” in many a tall tale. If you’re from the South, you’re likely to know at least one story of the big one that didn’t get away.
For as long as we’ve been fishing them, we’ve been coming up with ways to do it. A rod and reel, a trout line, jug fishing (a fishing line, lure, and weight tied to an empty milk jug that floats in the water), limb lines (a simple baited line hanging from a springy low limb over the water) — but the one that got me interested in catfish in the first place was the hoop net.
Hoop nets are woven into the fabric of this place we call home. Knot by knot, cotton or nylon cord is hand knit into a tube-shaped web that's held open with hoops made of wood, metal, plastic, or fiberglass. The inner funnel web keeps the catch from escaping. A single hoop net could catch enough for your whole family (and your neighbors. ;)
Our catfish collection pays homage to both the catfish and the hoop net. The catfish pendant and cuff are totems of this life-sustaining, deep-water dweller.
The hoop net cuff symbolizes the heritage of handcrafted traditions and bounty and harvest.
This pendant measures approximately 1½" x ½".
Made by hand in our south Louisiana studio.
Each piece varies slightly due to its handmade nature.
*Note: Sterling Silver and 14k Gold prices may vary due to fluctuation in the gold and silver markets.