In Pursuit of Jumpin' Jack Splash

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Published on: Jun. 18, 2012

skill and patience needed to get within arm’s length of my quarry. Just getting your hands on a frog is no guarantee of success. They are surprisingly adept at squirming free. Encircling their waist tightly with thumb and forefinger provides the surest grip. Jersey gloves make it easier to get a grip on frogs’ slippery bodies.

Grabbing frogs is great fun, but when food on the table is my top priority, I take advantage of frogs’ voracious appetite and their apparent conviction that they can swallow anything less than twice their size. No frog can resist a fishing lure splashed around in front of it. You need a surprisingly stout fishing rod to catch big frogs. An 8-foot catfish rod spooled with 20-pound line is perfect.

In warm weather, I prefer to wear old sneakers or lace-up boots that are on their last legs while frogging. Hip waders keep mud and water out, but you will be soaked with perspiration within minutes anyway.

A bag is a handy way to keep live frogs, but it makes counting them tricky. If you use one of the lethal hunting methods, it makes sense to keep frogs on a fish stringer. Either way, remember that the Wildlife Code requires you to keep your frogs separate from those taken by partners.

Insect repellant is a must for summer frogging. Long sleeves and a head net also help keep mosquitoes at bay.

Other than that, all you need is a sense of adventure and maybe a kid to jumpstart the rejuvenation process.

My Most Memorable Amphibian

Over the years, I have gotten on a first-name basis with a few frogs. One was an enormous bullfrog on the North Fork River. I hunted him throughout one summer and well into autumn.

King Jeremiah, as I called him, held court each night in the middle of a floating castle of coontail 6 feet across. The water around his lair reached my armpits. My arms are considerably less than 3 feet long, so I had to ease into his mossy moat one or two feet to get within grabbing distance. Only once did I manage this feat without disturbing the coontail enough to warn the monarch of my approach.

On that last try in mid-October, I got hold of one of his legs, but he used the other foot to pry himself free and once again slipped beneath

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