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Published August 29, 2011, 04:10 AM

2 UND Athletes Trade in Basketballs for Catfish on National TV Show

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Two UND basketball players had an experience of a lifetime this summer when they were picked to be on the show "Hillbilly Handfishin." Friends recommended the two for the new show on Animal Planet.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Two UND basketball players had an experience of a lifetime this summer when they were picked to be on the show "Hillbilly Handfishin'." Friends recommended the two for the new show on Animal Planet.

Nick Haugen and Mike Mathison traveled deep into the southern parts of Oklahoma for an experience they say they'll never forget. All caught on camera by Animal Planet's latest series Hillbilly Handfishin'.

"You'll know when you get bit because you can actually hear it. Like when you're standing, like if you're not even the one getting in the hole, it just kind of sounds like..." Mike Mathisson recalled.

"A big thud," Nick Haugen added.

"Yeah like shooting a gun under water if you can imagine that. And you'll hear them just go 'woooomff' and they'll grab you and you're ready to go and they'll take you for a ride," Mathison said.

These two UND basketball players waded in creeks and rivers with four other people to get their bare hands and feet on some very big catfish.

"And then the first time that I put my hands on a fish it was like..." Mathison said.

"It was like he got struck by lightning, jumping so far out of that water," Haugen said.

"I was pretty shocked, yeah, I was not an average fisherman so I wasn't knowing what to expect," Mathison said.

Each day started at 7:00 in the morning and they fished for about 6 hours three days straight. Noodling is a tradition in many southern states.

"You got one person with a stringer and it latches on and you string it through its gills and pull it through the water and that's one of the biggest ways to catch fish," Haugen said.

Both boys are competitive, and by the end of the trip they had caught at least seven catfish using their fingers and toes as bait.

"I've grown up fishing," Haugen said.

"I don't fish," Mathison added.

"He can't touch a fish," Haugen said.

"No you'll see, you'll see that I can manhandle a fish on the episode. You'll see," Mathison said.

The boys came home with plenty of stories to tell and they say their friends and families are anxiously awaiting the episode.

You can watch their handfishing experience on Monday, September 5 at 9:00 p.m. on Animal Planet.

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