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http://www.catfishedge.com/texas-catfish-bowfishing/

there is a discussion on another TX fishing forum about this new proposed bill.

some are saying it'll deplete the catfish population or that big fish shouldn't be killed for food and for trophy hunters, they can just take a picture and get a fiberglass mount, etc.

my take is to just set restrictions on monster fish, like that of the Red Drum Tag or the 1 hog Speck per day limit. b/c even if people catch monster fish on rod and reel, under current laws, its their choice to eat it, get it mounted, or release it.

disclaimer, i don't bow fish, and i hardly do any freshwater fishing, i hardly keep any fish to eat, and i'm not spending money to mount any "trophy" fish.
 

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Retired opinionated old fart
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I am sure this could get very controversial. How often can someone actually see a catfish to shoot? From my experience they don't act like gar.
Most fishermen release blues over roughly 10 pounds since they don't taste as good as smaller fish and the big ones are the prolific spawners. Shooting doesn't lend itself to live release.
 

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I have seen ,many times, what bow "fishers" do below the dam at Lake Livingston. I can't be for unleashing them on catfish also.
 

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Robbin Hood

Are you kidding me. Most cant hit a deer 20 yds away much less a catfish thats 20 yds away for 1 second .
Sounds like another fee for a tag to me. Surely not something to argue about. Now if there is a catfish that is sitting at the top of the water long enough for someone to take aim and actually hit it, most likely something is wrong with it and needs to be put down.
I heard this argument before and I wondered who is lobbying for this. Every catfish I've ever seen in this shape was 😷
 

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One of our North Texas state house representatives (Justin Holland) has filed House Bill 346 to allow bow fishing for catfish. Honorable Justin Holland is attempting to go around TPWD with back door legislation to allow bow fisherman to hunt/fish for catfish. TPWD had allowed bow fishing for catfish with a trial period of one year which they extended to two years so they could complete a study. The commission did not approve extending for the following reasons.

During the regulation approval process for the 2007-2008 year, the Commission did not approve extending the legal use of bowfishing for catfish. TPWD staff reasoning (taken from the meeting transcripts) for not approving the extensions was: “The staff’s reasoning: first of all, I want to say, we had no indication that this would have been or would be, at this point in time, a resource issue because it’s such as small-scale activity. But we recommended against it for several reasons. First, catfish are the second-most popular game fish in freshwater; we felt like this would have been de-valuing one of our most popular sport fish. The second, this would be a break with a longstanding management approach of selective harvest that we practice both in freshwater and saltwater, because that approach is dependent upon catch and release, which you can’t do with bowfishing. And thirdly, it would set a precedent; catfish would become the only game fish allowed in the state to be taken by bowfishing.”

So Whitebasser is correct it does not lend itself to catch and release. Also if catfish is allowed why not all bass and crappie?
 

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As a bowfishing guide, i'm on the fence about this one myself. I rarely see cats when bowfishing as it is, so opportunities are limited to take them. I would however make table fair out of cats if they were legal to take, I think most folks would. As for making bass and crappie legal, depending on what time of year, opportunities to take those are limited as well. Besides hitting a crappie would be difficult as it is.

Bowfishing for certain gamefish is legal in other states. Louisiana allows bowfishing for Redfish. It is legal to bowfish flounder here in Texas, which not considered a gamefish by TPWD, but is a highly sought after fish. I think that if it is made legal, bowfishing for those gamefish species should have it's own set of limits. Species and size restrictions. Say like 5 catfish per day while using archery equipment.

I'm all for the new Alligator Gar rules. I think it's such a waste to kill those big ones while bowfishing for nothing more than a trophy. I'd rather catch and release form a rod and reel.
 

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Just plain old bowfisherman
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I read the article presented by the OP.
It's funny how he talks about circumventing the system in place.
Fmr Commissioner Holt did the same thing year before last with this
alligator gar BS. There was no proposal from biologist or Freshwater Fisheries, it
wasn't even on their radar, but low and behold in the Feb meeting Holt said he
wanted to see it. And here we go, pretty much outlawed bowfishing for alligator
gar on the Trinity River, they even tried to outlaw ALL nighttime bowfishing across the state.


But back to Catfish. Now they are "de-valuing" this fish again by removing limits on them. Can we bowfish for them now? Why not?
 
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