Noodlers will be able to go after channel catfish and blue catfish next year along with flatheads.
Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation that makes it legal for noodlers, or hand fishermen, to keep blue cats and channel cats in addition to flathead catfish. The law takes effect Nov. 1.
Whether noodlers actively will search for blue cats, however, is another story.
Blue cats are known for having a sharper bite than flatheads, and many noodlers who have snatched them in past have expressed regret.
“Compared to a dog, a blue cat is a pit bull and a flathead is a poodle,” said Skipper Bivens, who is from Temple and is the star of the Hillybilly Handfishing television show.
Most noodlers are able to snatch catfish during spawning season when the males are guarding the nests. But there is a difference in the bite of a blue cat and a flathead.
“If they catch a blue cat, they will pay for it,” said Robert Fleenor, head of the law enforcement division for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
WHAT'S THE ODDS TO WIN A HUNT?
Sportsmen have through May 15 to apply for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation's controlled hunts.
Hunters must apply online at http://wildlifedepartment.com. Elk, deer, antelope and turkey hunts are offered.
Based on 2011 data, the overall odds of getting drawn for the coveted hunts are as follows: