Did you know that it's a crime to "noodle" a catfish in Texas? Oh, you don't know about noodlin'? Also called "hogging" or "grabbing," it's when you reach your hand into an underwater hole, jam your fist into a catfish's throat, pull the sombitch out of the water and then do whatever it is you do after catching a fish with your bare hands. The crime is currently a misdemeanor in Texas, and could come with as much as a $500 fine. But that could soon change.
Fishing laws are serious business in Texas, apparently. One fed up Texas noodler, Brady Knowlton, recently got a bill pushed through the state House that would legalize noodlin'. It's currently in the state Senate awaiting a vote. However, opponents of noodlin' — notably, traditional anglers — say that the practice is unfair to the fish, who are trapped and have little chance of escape. But Knowlton told the Wall Street Journal that haters just "want to paint people who do this as lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut." Well, shit.
And while noodlin' might sound like great fun, that's not always the case down in the river sludge:
"There's muskrats and snapping turtles and snakes," says Gary Webb, a 67-year-old farmer and noodling authority in Missouri. His brother had to get 13 stitches on his chin after inadvertently encountering a beaver, Mr. Webb says.