Redneck Adventures enjoys partnership with snake handlers

Published 12:07 am Sunday, March 28, 2010

NATCHEZ — Morton resident Jimmie Nichols said he’s never much of a fisherman.

Thus, when he hops in a boat with his buddies, it’s usually to catch something that’s far more likely to bite back: water snakes.

Nichols is one of the founders of Grab U One Outfitters, a group of men who go out into lakes around Mississippi and Louisiana and grab wild snakes for sport. The activity results in quite an adrenaline rush — and plenty of bites, Nichols said.

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“You get bit more times than not,” Nichols said.

A YouTube video of the group’s activities made them a national sensation overnight, and even earned them an interview on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom June 16, 2009. It was that morning that a partnership with Redneck Adventures was put into motion.

“I saw them on Fox News at the Go-Mart (last June), and jokingly said to someone standing beside me, ‘These are probably some redneck boys from Mississippi,’” Redneck Adventures’ Jim Allgood said.

“Lo and behold, yes they were. Next thing you know, our boys ran into them at a wildlife show in Jackson, and soon we’re filming while wading the waters of Lake Washington last August, grabbing snakes with the Grab U One boys.”

In February, Grab U One participated in the Outdoors Without Limits squirrel hunt, and Nichols said the company has begun to branch out in helping people less fortunate.

“This past hunting season, we teamed up with Bass Pro Shop, Primos and the National Wild Turkey Federation and did a hunt for disabled children, the Wheelin’ Sportsmen Youth Hunt, in Pearl,” Nichols said.

“We’re all hunters, but I’m glad to report that all of the kids in our group killed a dear, and we got more enjoyment with these kids having a good time than when one of us goes and kills a 180-class deer. It also puts things in perspective, knowing what you have and what you have and don’t have.”

Grab U One’s beginnings came in 1990, on an annual fishing trip to Lake Washington in Washington County. Nichols and his partner, Rayford Palmer, noticed a large water diamondback sitting on a tree limb.

“Rayford is a really good fisherman, but panicked a little when it came to the snake,” Nichols said. “I reached over and grabbed the big water snake, and threw it in the boat.

“Rayford had a few choice words with me, and told me I’d be dead before we got back to the dock. He told me later that me and my buddies should stop fishing and catch snakes, since we couldn’t fish worth a flip.”

As for grabbing the animals itself, Nichols stressed that no snakes are harmed in the sport.

“We try to grab them in the safest place, which is close to the lower section of their body. We try to be gentle. Occasionally, we’ll get our hands on the head, to avoid getting bit.”

Allgood said taking part in snake-grabbing got his heart thumping when he did it with them the first time.

“It’s an indescribable adrenaline rush, and puts a new meaning to scariness and trembling,” Allgood said.

Nichols said Grab U One and Redneck Adventures plan on conducting a snake-grabbing rodeo at Lake Washington June 19.