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Noodling Legalization Approved By Texas Senate

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President of Noodlers Anonymous Howard Ramsey holds the mounted head of a catfish Feb. 19, 2005, that he caught with his bare hands in the Salt River behind him near Paris, Mo. (AP) | AP File

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texans who want to catch catfish using only their bare hands would be able to do so legally under legislation approved by the state Senate.

While budget negotiations were teetering on the brink of collapse Thursday, state senators took action to legalize hand fishing, called noodling, in Texas. Right now the fine is $500 for noodling in Texas.

The bill would require "noodlers" to have a fishing license and freshwater fishing stamp.

Enduring joking questions from fellow senators, bill sponsor Sen. Bob Deuell said he's never noodled, but that the bill needed to be passed for the "noodlers of Texas."

The measure was already passed by the House and is headed for Gov. Rick Perry's desk, where his signature would make it law.

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