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Bygones of Monroe:

Frogging

Monroe Democrat, Sept. 17, 1891, p1 c3

With the coming of the oyster season also comes the frog season, and in the locality the latter is looked upon as one of more sport than duck shooting. After the mild frosts froging begins, and is kept up until the cold weather compels rana to seek his winter quarters. The once detested French delicacy has become a great favorite, and one not acquainted with its popularity would be quite surprised at the number of frogs captured for the purpose of the table. This is the height of the season, so to speak, and the frogs caught from now until sharp frosts come are large and fine flavored. The marshes about Monroe are fairly alive with the agile croakers and the story that, "there is a hundred bushels to the acre, with water snakes enough to fence them in," is not far out of the way, if the snakes are left out. Parties come from Detroit, Toledo and even greater distances for the pleasure of catching and eating them, while at home, a half dozen or more parties of young men can be found in the marshes nearly every night. There are various ways of capturing them. Boys wishing to improve their marksmanship wade along the borders of the marsh, and with a flobert shoot the unsuspecting froggies as they sit winking and blinking beneath the shade of a lotus leaf waiting for a fly or a fat bug to come their way and furnish them a dinner. They do not always, as many suppose, sit upon a log, or leaf, or a tuft of grass, but float upon the surface of the water with perfect ease and the buoyancy of cork. Another way, and one which furnishes considerable good sport, is by casting for them. A good bass fisherman with rod and minnow or gaudy fly, can find plenty of sport by casting among the grasses along the edges of the marsh - they sometimes will jump from two to three feet for a piece of red flannel. The most approved plan of capturing the frog, however, is with bull's-eye and spear, and seems easy enough to the uninitiated, but quite to the reverse in actual practice. A punter's boat, a light three-tined spear with handle four or five feet long - when a spear is not convenient a light hard wood stick will do. Usually the frogs do not betray their presence, but sometimes early at twilight the old gentleman of the family with deep bass voice will pitch the evening anthem. The response is made by some old patriarch in another part of the frog land, and then the chorus is taken up by all the old Mesdames, the Miss and master frogs, until the marsh fairly reverberates with their bewildering but not inharmonious croakings; but their lay is not a long one, and soon quiet reigns. The light is flashed here and there, and soon the white throat of the frog is discovered. The bright light so charms him that he seems lost to all danger, his large eyes open wide with wondering astonishment at its brilliancy, and he rarely recovers himself until empaled upon the spear. They are sometimes stunned by a blow from a club, and oftentimes caught with the hand. From a dozen to a hundred constitutes a night's sport. A full grown frog will weigh from ¾ of a pound to 1 ¼, and measure from tip of nose to tip of toes, from 12 to 15 inches. Formerly only the legs were eaten, but of late years, especially, in some of the clubs and eating houses of the East, the whole frog, except the head, is prepared for the table. The most popular way to prepare them is to crumb and fry in hot butter.

Monroe Democrat, Sept. 17, 1891, p1 c3


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