The practice, known as noodling, is illegal in the Lone Star state and is subject to fines of up to $500. It is allowed in 17 states, including neighboring Oklahoma.
Practitioners insert their hands in underwater nooks to find the catfish. The goal is to get the fish to bite the fisher’s hand in order to wrestle it out of the water.
The proposed law had been opposed by some reel-and-rod catfish anglers, who said they feared that opening the state’s lakes and rivers to noodlers would deplete fisheries.
Bill supporters denied those claims, saying that catching a catfish with line and bait would have the same effect as fishing it out with their hands.
The noodling bill was the subject of a page-one article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.
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