Frogging – Outdoor Skills
Frogging – Outdoor Skills
And, when you are in a permanent camp, and fishing is very poor, try frogging. It is not sport of a high order, though it may be called angling—and it can be made amusing, with hook and line. I have seen educated ladies in the wilderness, fishing for frogs with an eagerness and enthusiasm not surpassed by the most devoted angler with his favorite cast of flies. There are several modes of taking the festive batrachian. He is speared with a frog-spear; caught under the chin with snatch-hooks; taken with hook and line, or picked up from a canoe with the aid of a headlight, or jack-lamp. The two latter modes are best.
To take him with hook and line; a light rod, six to eight feet of line, a snell of single gut with a i-o Sproat or O'Shaughnessy hook, and a bit of bright scarlet flannel for bait; this is the rig. To use it, paddle up behind him silently, and drop the rag just in front of his nose. He is pretty certain to take it on the instant. Knock him on the head before cutting off his legs. It is unpleasant to see him squirm, and hear him cry like a child while you are sawing at his thigh joints.
By far the most effective manner of frogging is bythe headlight on dark nights. To do this most successfully, one man in a light canoe, a good headlight and a light, one-handed paddle, are the requirements. The frog is easily located, either by his croaking, or by his peculiar shape. Paddle up to him silently and throw the light in his eyes; you may then pick him up as you would a potato. I have known a North Woods guide to pick up a five-quart pail of frogs in an hour, on a dark evening. On the table, frogs' legs are usually conceded first place for delicacy and flavor. For an appetizing breakfast in camp, they have no equal, in my judgment. The high price they bring at the best hotels, and their growing scarcity, attest the value placed on them by men who know how and what to eat. And, not many years ago, an old pork-gobbling backwoodsman threw his frying pan into the river because I had cooked frogs' legs in it. While another, equally intelligent, refused to use my frying-pan, because I had cooked eels in it; remarking sententiously, "Eels is snakes, an' I know it." It may be well, just here and now, to say a word on the importance of the headlight. I know of no more pleasant and satisfactory adjunct of a camp than a good light that can be adjusted to the head, used as a jack in floating, carried in the hand, or fastened up inside the shanty. Once fairly tried, it will never be ignored or forgotten. Not that it will show a deer's head seventeen rods distant with sufficient clearness for a shot—or your sights with distinctness enough to make it.
A headlight that will show a deer plainly at six rods, while lighting the sights of a rifle with clearness, is an exceptionally good light. More deer are killed in floating under than over four rods. There are various styles of headlights, jack-lamps, etc., in use; but the best I know anything about are advertised by Ferguson, 65 Fulton street, New York. They are bright, easily adjusted, and will show rifle sights, or a deer, up to 100 feet—which is enough. They are also convenient in camp, and better than a lantern on a dim forest path.
Sears, George Washington. Woodcraft. New York: Forest and Stream Publishing, 1884.
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