|Carring on the family tradition with my youngest boy Chris (2 years old) Cane pole fishing|
Nightcrawler Hunting and Frog Gig-gin - Sunday Reminiscing
I think I was born to be a fisher woman and due to the fact that my three older brothers held no interest in the sport, I became my dads little fishing buddy at the ripe old age of two. Since then, I've enjoyed years of family fishing trips filled with memories and a load of fun fish tales all leading to my deep rooted love of the sport!
I have so many fond memories of fishing with my family but a few stand out in my mind like they happened just yesterday. This tale is spun from fishing expeditions that yearn to be retold.
After years of hands-on field experience, I found that the soil was darker and richer the closer you got to the mountains unlike the clay soil where we lived further East of town. Thus, the soil closer to the downtown area bred bigger and better nightcrawlers.
|photo source eHow.com|
The freshly clipped grass filled our heads with its green scent, the earth gaving off its rich aroma. Giddy with anticipation, we just knew that the black, rich soil would bring forth hundreds of fat, juicy nightcrawlers. Stealthily, we would move among the trees and bushes shining our flashlights just in time to glimpse our prey! Almost without breathing and in a lightening move, we would dive and grab whatever portion of the unassuming worm that lay basking in the moonlight; often times coming up empty handed or with half or a quarter of the creature. Hunting nightcrawlers was endless fun!
One thing to note about nightcrawlers...although they have especially tiny brains they are pretty smart when it comes to not being captured! Smooth and fast, a nightcrawler can be back in his muddy home in nothing flat. You have to be patient and cunning to bring home a bucket full of these wriggly worms.
Interesting fact: Nightcrawlers have the ability to regenerate themselves if torn in half, much like their cousins the common earthworm. Now, wouldn't that be an awesome special talent to posses? The good news, fish are not picky when it comes to eating half or whole worms!
I believe fishing is the sum of its many perfect parts! Nightcrawler hunting is only the beginning of the beautiful cycle. There’s learning how to bait a hook with those gigantic worms. Endless hours of practice casting without hooking oneself, or the trees or your brothers and then finally, mastering the patience to wait long enough for the fish to strike. Of course, our parents taught us that whatever we caught or hunted and killed had to be gutted, cooked and eaten. At that point the sum of the parts became whole, leading to the culmination of fresh pan fried trout by the campfire. You see, all my favorite memories lead me right back to food!!
It doesn't matter if I'm fly fishing a stream, stitting in a boat on a peaceful glacier lake or deep sea fishing; I'm a fisher woman at heart!
One hot summer my family got together with cousins, aunts and uncles to do some much loved fishing for Brown and Cutthroat Trout. Our favorite place to catch these beauties was in the San Juan River in
As we made our way down the fifteen mile river we began planning our evening meal. We made a significant decision that has burned this particular memory into my mind forever. We decided to add frog legs to our dinner of pan fired trout. I've cooked and eaten frogs legs but had never gigged for them until that night. So after a long day of fishing we got ready to go frog gigging. Luckily, my cousin’s son Shane was a master "frog gig-ger".
I was in my early twenties and wearing my famous fishing attire; camo pants, green cotton top, brown leather work boots and a straw hat. Shane was six years old, wearing a giant cowboy hat that dwarfed his tiny body, stomping around in his pointed cowboy boots and tossing rocks into the river, in between being scolded by his father to stop before he scared off all the fish!
Shane was so excited to teach me how "real frog gig-gin" was done. It was dusk when he finally took me by the hand and led me to a brackish pond just a few hundred yards from our deep blue fishing hole. As we approached the pond we could hear a chorus of croaking sounds. The voices of hundreds of frogs gathered together for a night full of insect eating and whatever else frogs do in the wild.
|photo source naturesound.com|
I had already tied a fly to my fishing rod while there was still some sunlight, so I was prepared with the correct bait to catch those yummy frogs. Shane flipped his miniature rod like the seasoned master he was and deftly caught his first green frog. He said, "See, dat's ho it’s done". I followed suit and together we bagged about thirty slippery frogs.
I've never been squeamish about catching and killing fish but by about the twenty fifth frog, I started taking notice of how cute their big brown eyes were and how lovely a shade of green their skin. Something ominous began to nag at the back of my mind.
|those "cute brown eyes"|
photo source northrup.org
I've killed and cleaned many fish in my day but never a frog, so on the ride back to our camp it occurred to me that someone was going to have to kill the frogs before I could cook them and I really didn't want that person to be me!! I've never been queasy but watching the frogs wriggle around on the bed of the truck gave me a bit of a chill.
It was dark by the time we got back to camp so my cousins got the fire going and left the frog killing up to me and this very deft six year old boy….Really?
It was kind of surreal as I watch Shane heft the heavy laden bag of frogs from the truck and carry it to the front bumper where the head lights shown brightly. I saw his tiny arm shoot up and motion me over to where he was kneeling. He looked me square in the eye and said..."dis is ho ya kill dem der frogs"! At that moment, I think I swooned a little.
I stood there mesmerized as he reached into the bag and pulled out a plump green frog. He grabbed the frog by both its back legs, swung his arm behind his back like he was about to throw a fast ball and slammed the head of the frog onto the bumper of the truck!
I got a lot dizzy and found myself looking for a place to sit down. Shane then calmly stated, "now dats ho ya kill dem der frogs!" "Wanna do some?" In a weak voice, I declined his invitation and I thanked him kindly. I told him how nice a job he was doing and to please feel free to continue while I got the rest of dinner started. For what seemed like a millennium he repeated this process until all the frogs lay dead waiting to be skinned and cooked.
Needless to say, I cooked dem der frogs but didn't eat one!
Everglades Frog's Legs