One would expect to be a little apprehensive about trying the newest
legal method of fishing in Georgia noodling for catfish. The angler
works around the perimeter of a lake or river, searching for holes in
the bank or under submerged logs, proceeds to insert their hand into
these areas and hope that a catfish will take them up on their tasty
finger offering, latch onto the anglerís hand and allow him to pull
the fish out. Noodling, sometimes referred to as grabbling, tickling,
dogging or hogging, is legal in only a handful of states
(Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina and Missouri) and
will become legal in Georgia as of July 1, 2005 thanks to HB 301,
according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife
Resources Division (WRD).
Now that noodling is legal, it may arouse the curiosity of many
people, but I am not sure how many will actually attempt it, says WRD
Chief of Fisheries Management Chuck Coomer. I think the best advice
our agency can provide is to take a friend with you when you fish and
to use some caution, especially to those who are completely
unfamiliar with this method, in the event that you come across
something other than a catfish or have difficulty coming up for air.
House Bill 301 passed both the House and the Senate with an almost
unanimous vote (only 2 votes against it in the Senate) and amends
Georgia law (Code Section 27-4-37), relating to game and fish, by
allowing for the taking of flathead and channel catfish by noodling.
Participants can take flathead, channel and blue catfish by hand,
without the aid of any device, hook, snare, net or other artificial
element and without the use of any scuba equipment, air hose or other
artificial breathing apparatus. Noodling will be legal from March 1
through July 15 each year.
HB 301 also legalizes spearing channel and flathead catfish only in
the Savannah River basin. This practice was made legal to conform
with harvest methods in South Carolina. Participants of this method
may use a spear or similar instrument to harvest these species, as
long as it has a wire, rope, line or other means available to recover
the projectile and is secured to the person or weapon used in order
to assist in the recovery of the fish. Spears may not be discharged
into waters within 150 feet of others.
A Georgia fishing license is required in order to participate in
noodling or spearing activities. For more information on these now
legal fishing methods, contact the local WRD Fisheries Management
Office or visit
www.gofishgeorgia.com . To read the full version of
HB 301, visit
this web site .
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