North Dakota duo goes 'Hillbilly Handfishin'

September, 6, 2011
9/06/11
1:47
PM ET
North Dakota has received some national attention for the school's controversial usage of the Fighting Sioux nickname, but two players were recently able to represent the program by making an appearance on the reality fishing show "Hillbilly Handfishin'."

Nick Haugen and Mike Mathison had their week in Oklahoma documented on Animal Planet while they tried their hand at noodling, which is fishing for catfish using bare hands and feet. In this clip, the 6-foot-10 Mathison while wearing a North Dakota T-shirt is able to hoist a 40-pound fish right out of the water.

"You know you stole that from me," Haugen said.

Of course, extreme fishing for the two thrill-seekers wasn't exactly an easy task, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
In the competition to catch the biggest catfish, Haugen and Mathison and four other contestants spent six hours a day for a week wading and belly-crawling shoulder to shoulder through the murky waters of the Red River near Temple, Okla. Daytime temperatures were more than 100 degrees with water temperatures in the 90s.

The water was so cloudy, you couldn't see two inches, the guys said, and it wasn't really all that fun sticking your hands and feet under piles of brush and overhangs to find fish when you didn't know what else was lurking there. It was uncomfortable and, at times, scary.

"We were in the water six hours a day," Mathison said. "By the time we were done, it was time for supper and then we went to bed. When your adrenaline stopped pumping, you died."

North Dakota is coming off a year in which it won the Great West tournament and got to play in the CIT, and not even the threat of snakes in the water was stopping these two from grabbing more attention.

"I really didn't have a choice," Haugen told the team's website. "I didn't even really know anything about until the morning before we auditioned. Mike told me, 'You're doing this. You're not keeping me off TV.'"

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