Noodling — the practice of catching catfish with bare hands — has only been legal in Texas since 2011, but fisheries officials are seeking to catch important data about the pursuit themselves.
The pursuit has hit the mainstream, being featured in numerous reality shows and TV programs, but the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department continues to be vigilant about the tactic, enlisting a statewide study involving flatheads, and catch methods of all catfish varieties.
Kris Bodine, a fisheries research biologist at the Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center in Mountain Home, leads the project, which is focused on the growing recreation that is catfish angling.
“Because it is so new to our state, we are hoping to identify who hand-fishing anglers are and what their needs may be,” Bodine said. “TPWD will be conducting a survey over the next 60 days to better understand the needs, opinions and characteristics of hand-fishing anglers in Texas.”
The survey, which is open through June 30, takes five to 10 minutes to complete online. Responses will remain confidential, officials said.
The purpose of the survey is to improve catfish populations across the state as well as to ensure that the needs and opinions of hand-fishing anglers are included in future management plans.