PAULS VALLEY — Kodi Morrison is quickly becoming a noodling legend.

The former Byng assistant softball coach was crowned the Female Division champion for the third straight year at the 20th Annual Okie Noodling Tournament last weekend in Pauls Valley.

Morrison landed a catfish that tipped the scales at 54.05 pounds to claim her incredible three-peat.

Morrison also placed fourth in the overall Scuba Division while competing against male competitors with varying noodling experience.

“It’s cool,” Morrison said. “Tournament fishing is stressful, no doubt.”

Compared to other tournaments she’s competed in, landing her 54-pound monster at this year’s Pauls Valley event was a piece of cake.

Morrison said she visited the North Canadian river Saturday morning before she found what turned out to be the perfect spot.

“We walked around a mile down the River and found an old tinhorn (culvert). I slid into it to check it out, and the fish whomped my hand soon as I got in,” Morrison said.

That was the catfish’s first mistake.

“Usually, once I get my hands on the fish it’s over,” she said.

This time was no different. Morrison made quick work of the lunker.

“I fought him for about five minutes and cut my wrist and hand while trying to get him caught and in the boat,” she explained. “ It was tough, too, having to carry my scuba tank down the river. It sure helps to have it, though, to be able to stay under longer to fight the fish.”

Nate Williams of Shawnee won the overall Okie Noodling title with a fish that weighed in at an incredible 85.05 pounds. Williams caught the record-setting beast in Wewoka Lake.

Morrison — who is currently an assistant softball coach at Muskogee with former Byng coach and good friend Andi Hurst — said she still enjoys noodling for the sport and entertainment. The adrenaline rush keeps her diving for more.

“What’s really fun is just going out and fun fishing when there isn’t the stress of tournaments,” she said.

Morrison, who also played basketball at East Central University, landed her biggest catch — a 65-pound catfish — the first year she competed in the prestigious Pauls Valley event.

She’ll be the girl to beat at next year’s Okie Noodling Tournament.

“I at least have a couple more years left in me,” Morrison said.

That’s bad news for the competition and for the catfish she encounters.

Jeff Cali has been covering sports in the Ada area since the mid-90s. He graduated from Byng High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from East Central University.