Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Written by Sarah on May 16, 2011

I thought noodling (or noodlin’, as some might call it), the art-slash-science of reaching into the mouth of a catfish and then wrasslin’ it into submission,was a practice largely limited to states like Oklahoma and Louisiana, but it had never crossed my mind that they wouldn’t do it in Texas. In fact, owing to the Lone Star State’s tendency to try to do everything bigger n’ better than its 49 brother and sister states, I might’ve assumed that they took noodlin’ a step further, perhaps finding a way to make it more dangerous or more uncomfortable.

Then I read in the Wall Street Journal, of all places, that noodlin’ is illegal in Texas. In fact, it’s punishable by a fine of up to $500. Imagine that – you’re in the emergency room getting treated for lacerations to your forearm when the attending decides to turn you in to Johnny Law for prosecution. That is truly adding insult to injury.

Fortunately, masochists near the Rio Grande, the Sabine and the Brazos Rivers may have help on the way. There’s a bill moving through the Texas legislature which aims to legalize grabbing fish.  It’s far from a slam dunk, though, having already experienced a fair amount of opposition.

Legal or not, I think I’ll stick to pursuing fish with a rod and reel – the article mentions run-ins with muskrats, snakes and snapping turtles . Ever since I developed this opposable thumb, I’ve had a strong desire to keep it.

This blog was written by Pete Robbins, Facts of Fishing blogger.

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