Old time O'cockers could often be found proguing for a living. They'd progue for fish, clams, oysters, crabs, even turtles. Sometimes they'd use a gig (for flounder), a rake (for clams), or tongs (for oysters). Turtle progues were also used on the island.
Progue is a variation of an obsolete term "prog" (going back at least to 16th century England & Scotland), meaning to search, prowl about, or forage for food or plunder. On Ocracoke it can be used to mean searching for seafood, or more generally for just poking about or jabbing at something (e.g. "Will you quick proguing around in that pile of trash!").
It's getting that time of year again. Already neighbors have been out in Pamlico Sound proguing for clams. Clams don't get any tastier than when you bring them home in the afternoon, and eat them for supper!
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is "Remembering Growing up on Ocracoke" by Lawton Howard. You can read it here.
To read about Philip's new book, Digging up Uncle Evans, History, Ghost Tales, & Stories from Ocracoke Island, please click here.