Frog and I had been communicating, silently, for some time. I tossed my plastic worm at him, just to see him jump. He blinked but didn’t stir. He was sunning himself in that muddy strip between the water and the grass. I reeled in the lure and tossed it close to Old Green Buddy, and he earned my respect because he didn’t dive for the deep as I expected. He looked it over. I stood motionless. He eyed me, and we waited. What should I do next? Oops! He surprised me: He took a big leap toward that plastic worm.
I jiggled it, and he took a little hop forward. I jiggled again, and he gulped the lure into his mouth. I jerked.
No luck! The brat was savoring this possible breakfast, but his mouth was not really closed.
When I jerked, that plastic worm flew right out of his mouth, and he sat there, still sassing me as if saying, "Yeah, Yeah, you can’t catch me!"
"You with the big hind legs," I said aloud, "I’ll get you in my frying pan yet."
I tossed the lure again and almost whopped him in the head, but he didn’t budge. I pulled to tighten my line and to let the lure rest on the mud right in front of his face. He watched the lure and me for so long that I thought he had outsmarted me.
"Stubborn frog, I’ll show you who else is stubborn."
Suddenly he lunged at the lure and, again, held it in his mouth.
What to do? Wait. Stand still. Don’t talk to him. Oh, for a camera to record that stupid frog with a long worm with two hooks hanging from his mouth. Suddenly Green Buddy took both front feet and stuffed the lure deeper into his mouth; I jerked and had him. I almost double-bent my fly rod as I swung him over my head and onto the pond bank behind me. Stretched out, he was nearly as long as two spans of my hands.
"Old Buddy," I said. "You’ve taught me something great: how to ‘fish’ for frogs."
Then I carefully backed the hook out of his tough lip and placed him back into the water.
As I slowly released my grip on his big, soft, slimy body, I said, "Have a good swim, you sassy frog."
Realizing he was free, he whip-kicked toward the opposite bank, and I soon saw two floating eyes near the water’s edge. It was Old Green Buddy, all right.
"Go on and have a good swim," I said, "and we’ll play this game again, early some morning real soon."
We did. But I never let my fly rod carry that heavy weight again. Casting rods are for lifting sassy bullfrogs!