Noodling closer to being legal in Texas

Updated: May 24, 2011, 6:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Catching catfish with your bare hands -- a practice allowed in only 17 other states -- may soon be legal in Texas.

A bill approved last week would make noodling legal in Texas, as it is in neighboring Oklahoma.

ESPN highlighted noodling in an award-winning feature by reporter Wright Thompson last year.

Noodling is the practice of using a person's hands to find the fish in underwater nooks, then to get the fish to latch onto the noodler's arm with their mouths. Sometimes, the noodler can get their hands in the catfish's gills.

The noodler then takes the fish to a boat or to shore and gets the fish to let go of the arm. It is often a two-person job, as catfish can grow to nearly 50 pounds.

Currently, people caught noodling are subject to fines of up to $500 in Texas.