Until last June, barely anyone outside of my home state of Alabama knew who Hannah Barron was. From the time I could walk, I've been in the woods following my dad around. I began skinning and boning out deer by myself before the age of 10. I killed my first deer when I was eight years old; it was a seven point buck. I used a Zebco 33 to catch my first bream as a toddler. I learned how to use a bait caster shortly after. I never thought anything about it because it was the way I was raised, and it was a lifestyle that was as natural to me as breathing. It still is.
Five years ago, the local game warden moved in next door. When I say next door, I mean several miles away from my rural home. My family lives a mile off an unpaved road, so we don't have neighbors in the traditional sense of the word. My dad owns a saw mill. Brad Gavins, the county game warden and our new neighbor, asked him to cut up some logs for him. A friendship was struck between the two, and Brad offered to take us noodling. Although it was something we'd never tried, it fit perfectly into the lifestyle we already live.
For those of you who don't know, noodling, also known as handfishing or grappling, is catching catfish with just your hands (no rod, no reel).
After a few trips with Brad, we were hung. It became a sport as important to us during the summer as deer hunting was during the winter.
Last year, my cousin Ryan Sanders recorded me catching a 30 pound flathead catfish. I posted it on Facebook and Instagram. To my surprise, this video went viral reaching over 25 million views in the first week.
My social media grew to numbers that are still amazing me. This week I broke 100,000 followers on Instagram.
People ask me how I got to where I am with my social media, and the best I can tell them is to be themselves. My followers like me because I'm real. I don't do any of this for the attention. I do it because it's a part of my life that I will never give up. It's my passion, and there's nothing else I would rather do. Hunting, fishing, and even noodling are in my blood. The fact that I'm in a position to help those who want to get started in the sport is just a bonus. Thank you all for your amazing support!