While the majority of the Senate members were caucusing over the budget this afternoon, a few Senators were discussing a bill which would make it legal to hand fish for catfish.
The sport called, “noodling” is a long-time tradition and practically the state sport of Oklahoma, but pulling a catfish out of the water with your bare hands is illegal in Texas. If you’re caught noodling in Texas waters you could be charged with a fine upwards to 900 dollars.
East Texans have been noodling for a long time claimed Sen Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and he was suprised to hear that the sport was illigal in Texas.
Now, Texas noodlers will no longer have to hide in the shadows, the bill passed unanimously but not after some comical debate. Lawmakers were practically giggling like delighted school children when discussing HB 2189–the noodling bill. and even the Senate carrier of the legislation, Sen. Robert Deuell, could barely keep a straight face.
“How big do your hands have to participate in this sport?” Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, asked jokingly, while Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte, poked fun at Deuell, a practicing physician, saying, “Hopefully you aren’t using this bill to set up your doctors practice somewhere near the docks.”
“I don’t noodle myself, but I will defend to the death your right to do so,” Deuell said. He argued that making noodling a legal sport in Texas would bring additional revenue in the form of increased fishing permits. “They (Texas noodlers) are taking dollars to other states and we want them to stay in this State and we want other people to come to other states to come here.”
The noodle bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk and if it get his final approval, the Texas noodle ban will be finally lifted. So come all ye’ noodlers, roll up your sleeve and bring your galoshes, Texas’s waters will soon be open for business.