By Larry Woody, Outdoors Writer

Pat Haywood was fascinated when she watched Lebanon guide Jim Duckworth “frog fishing” with his grandson Logan in a pond near the Duckworths’ home.

Duckworth asked Pat if she’d like to try it sometime.

She hopped on the invitation, and one day last week a hunt was arranged.

Pat bagged her frog.

“I wasn’t sure it would work, but it did,” says Pat, wife of longtime Charlie Daniels Band bass guitar player Charlie Haywood.

Photo courtesy of Jim Duckworth
Pat Haywood went ‘frog fishing’ and brought back this big one.

“I cast out and reeled the worm across the grassy surface like Jim showed me, and suddenly a big frog grabbed it.”

“It hit like a three-pound bass,” Duckworth says. “I’ve caught lots of frogs that way.”

Unlike traditional frog hunting which is done at night – shining frogs’ eyes and gigging, grabbing or shooting them – ‘frog fishing’ is done in the daytime. The frogs lurk in the grass and weeds waiting to pounce on whatever food source happens by.

Duckworth uses a worm for bait. Since it is too light to cast far, he uses an 8-foot BnM float & fly rod he designed himself. The worm is flipped into a froggy-looking spot and slithered across the surface.

Because of the tangle of vegetation, six-pound-test line is used.

Pat grew up in the outdoors in Texas where she once attended a rattlesnake roundup. She eventually moved north where she met her future husband. She and Charlie were wed 45 years ago and moved to Wilson County the following year when he became a charter member of the world-famous Charlie Daniels Band.

Charlie Daniels, a longtime resident of Mt. Juliet, is an ardent outdoorsman, but he and the Hargroves seldom get a chance to share adventures.

“We used to take our son fishing in Charlie’s lake,” Pat says, “but he stays so busy he doesn’t have much free time.”

Pat, a self-described “stay-at-home mom and grandmother,” met Duckworth through his outgoing wife Ramona, and they formed a strong friendship.

“Jim and Ramona are special people,” Pat says. “They are a delight to be around.”

During their recent frog-fishing excursion, catching a frog wasn’t the only excitement of the trip.

“We were walking on a liner that helps hold water in Jim’s pond, and suddenly he felt something squirming under his foot,” Pat says. “We looked down, and there was a big snake.”

The snake slithered away, perhaps to catch a frog of its own.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency classifies catching frogs as hunting, with regulations listed in the Hunting & Trapping Guide. The daily bag limit is 20.

Pat settled for one, but plans to go back for more.

“There’s a giant frog in Jim’s pond we named ‘Jabba,’ after the Star Wars character,” she says. “I’m going to get him.”

And then?

“I love frog legs,” she says, adding with a laugh: “As long as someone else does the gruesome work.”