Saturday, April 28, 2012
Growing up, bullfrogs were an integral part of my life. When I was young, I happily caught their tadpoles in the creeks and ponds around my house. When I was a bit older I discovered that when the bass weren’t cooperating, not only would a bullfrog willingly, even greedily stuff a Texas-rigged six-inch plastic worm into its gaping maw every single time, but that if I caught enough of them, a fried frog leg dinner was gustatory heaven.
In fact, bullfrogs may have helped me get married. One of the first dates I went on in college with my future wife was a failed bass fishing trip saved by a pond full of ravenous bullfrogs. I figured any sorority girl who thought catching bullfrogs fun was a girl worth keeping, and I guess she thought I was just enough of a weirdo to be mildly interesting.
But eventually, we moved away from my central Oklahoma hometown, with its abundant rainfall, great fishing and numerous lakes and ponds, to the high, arid plains of far northwest Oklahoma, where water, bass and bullfrogs were in much less abundance. I still fished as much as I could, and still do, but eventually bobwhite quail and bird dogs replaced largemouth bass and bullfrogs in the forefront of my consciousness.
That is, until yesterday, when my youngest son informed me that what he wanted for his birthday was… a bullfrog. I have no idea why, but it beats the hell out of a iPod in my book. And cheaper, too. The only problem was finding one.
Now, bullfrogs aren’t rare around here by any stretch of the imagination, but public water where they can be caught is. The only real option open to me was a small state park pond where I take the kids perch fishing. I didn’t even know if the pond had any bullfrogs in it. I had never seen nor heard one there, but being the good father I am, I got the kids off the school early this morning, rigged up a weightless, six-inch Texas-rigged worm and headed for the park, a somewhat fetid, trash-strewn stretch of water inhabited primarily by potato chip bags, beer cans, discarded fishing line, and stunted perch.
A quick walk around the pond elicited no jumping bullfrogs, and a scan of the slimy vegetation ring revealed no tell-tale bullfrog head poking above the surface. I was about give up and go home when I heard that old familiar “jug-a-rum” sound from the shoreline. Apparently I had walked right by a particularly ballsy bullfrog who had refused to be flushed the first time around.
I quickly spotted the frog, snuck a little closer and made a cast…
I’d like to say that the frog was an educated frog, a wiley old veteran of countless capture attempts who had probably seen it all in his long life, and that it was gonna take a helluva lot more than a six-inch plastic worm dangled in front of his snout to fool him, and that I stood there for a couple hours throwing everything in the tackle box before finally enticing him on the very last cast before giving up.
Uh, no. He did exactly what his simple, predatory amphibian brain told him to do, and what every other bullfrog I’ve ever caught did: he turned, opened his mouth and stuffed that worm into it as quickly as he could.
So now I have fulfilled my youngest son’s birthday wish. Since this frog's a birthday present, and since there obviously aren’t enough of his friends to make me a meal (Besides, the question of “Daddy, where did Hoppy go?” would be a little awkward…) this particular frog will be looked at for a few days and then released back to the cesspool from whence he came, none the worse for wear.
But my question is: how do you gift-wrap a bullfrog?
Posted by Chad Love at 7:35 AM