The Texas Senate has passed a bill making noodling legal in Texas. Currently, there is no noodling law, and there is a $500 fine for the illegal practice, which involves sticking one's hand into an underwater hole, allowing a catfish to bite it , and then wrestling the fish out of the water.
According to The Austin American Statesman, House Bill 2189 will allow noodlers to get a state fishing license in order to pursue the sport they love. The bill, passed Thursday, is headed to the desk of Texas Governor Rick Perry for signing. If signed, Texas will become the 18th state to have legalized noodling.
Stories of noodling abound in Texas. According to Senator Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, who is sponsoring the bill, "It is a southern tradition that people seem to enjoy in other states, and we would like to allow Texans to do it here." He explained he is carrying the bill for all the noodlers in Texas and goes on to further explain why he believes in the bill saying, "I personally don't noodle, but I would defend to the death your right to do so."
Opponents of the noodling law believe noodling takes away from the sport of fishing. If a person is willing to insert their arm into a hole, they can't see and wrestle a catfish for his dinner, that qualifies as pretty sporty. One doesn't have to use a fishing pole to catch a fish. There's always more than one way to do almost everything... even catch fish.