The practice of "noodling" captured the attention of legislators today.
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The practice of "noodling" captured the attention of legislators today.

Date: February 25, 2009
By: Nathan Higgins
State Capitol Bureau
Links: SJR 8

Intro: The practice of "noodling" captured the attention of legislators today. 

Nathan Higgins has more from Jefferson City.

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OutCue: SOC

For ten years similar measures haven't made any splash in the legislature, but supporters tried again Wednesday to legalize "noodling."

Opponents say noodling, catching fish by hand, is dangerous for the catfish population because hand fishing targets the largest adult reproductive catfish.

Noodler's Anonymous spokesman Howard Ramsey disagrees.

Actuality:  RAMSEY.WAV
Run Time: 00:11
Description: "Catching catfish when engaged in reproduction is no different. Biologically how fish are killed in the fishery is irrelevant. That is proof of discrimination."

Ramsey said Missouri catfish belong to the people and Missourians should have the right to fish as they please..

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Nathan Higgins.


Intro: Use the hand not the rod was the proposal by supporters of noodling to Missouri senators today.

Nathan Higgins has more from Jefferson City.

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OutCue: SOC

A hearing which garnered much attention would allow grabbing catfish with your hand to be legal.

Conservation Department spokesman Bill Turner opposes the measure and says a noodling season would drastically alter the Missouri catfish industry.

 

Actuality:  TURNER2.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: "Hand fishing targets the very largest reproductive fish in the population. If we legalized it, it would jeopardize the catfish population."


The bill would create a noodling season from June til July and would restrict hand-fishermen to grab only five fish per season.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Nathan Higgins.


Intro: A strange word for a strange practice as legislators today listened to a measure advocating a "noodling season."

Nathan Higgins has more from Jefferson City.

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OutCue: SOC

Noodling season supporters say they hope hand-fishing becomes legal.

The bill would allow noodlers to catch five fish per season from June til July.

Opponents say noodlers just chase the largest fish and harm the population.

Claudia Wilkinson says that's not true and so does her son.

Actuality:  WILK2.WAV
Run Time: 00:12
Description: "They say we target big fish. How are we targeting big fish when you can't even see what's in the hole? It's like, it makes perfectly good sense. His little speech about taking a bull:  you can see what you're getting ready to slaughter. You're not getting ready to see what you're taking out of a hole."
 
During the Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Republican Senator Chuck Purgason said the issue should be settled between Noodlers Anonymous and the Missouri Department of Conservation, not by uneducated legislators.

Reporting from the State Capitol, I'm Nathan Higgins.


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