Frog gigging is an old tradition that still holds sway in several states. Mostly, it’s a southern thing, but states like Indiana still hold fast to the tradition of frog gigging. Not to mention that frog legs and the hundreds of recipes that go into cooking them are pretty good.
Grilled or deep fried, it’s common enough to find frog legs in seafood restaurants across the country. In some ways, it’s considered a legacy and, in others, a rare taste akin to raw oysters or fried rattlesnake.
The methodology is descended from France, even though France banned the practice of frog gigging over 40 years ago. Here in the states, however, it still holds strong, especially with those who love to go gigging for a variety of seafood.
What is Frog Gigging
Frog gigging is the act of hunting down frogs and spearing them with either a homemade spear or a purchased one. A gig is a spear that has one or more points on it. With frogs, the more points a spear has the better since it increases the chances of successfully gigging the frog.
What you can do in terms of frog gigging depends on the state you’re in. As with most hunting, states have rules and regulations established to ensure that particular frogs are not overhunted, dwindling, and threatening their population.
The long spear points at the end of the gig are barbed, which keeps the frog from easily sliding off the end when it’s speared. Most frog hunters either make their own, with a combination of frog barbs and items from around the house.
You’ll also need some specific gear if you want to go on a successful hunt. Though it’s called “frog gigging,” it’s still every bit of a hunt that includes strategy and teamwork.
- A good frog gig
- A bag to keep your frogs in
- The brightest portable light you can put your hands on
- A boat
- Waders instead of a boat
- A top-sitting kayak
If you don’t have a boat, that’s okay. You can still go frog gigging with a good set of waders. Frogs often stick close to the high ground in swamps and ponds, so you’re not likely to get too deep in the water.
How to Frog Gig
Frog gigging is a not like flounder gigging. When you’re going after flounder, all you need are some bright lights that shine straight down and you spear every flounder outline you come across. Since flounders like to bury themselves really shallow in the substrate, they’re easy to spot and gig.
Frogs aren’t like flounder. They’ll see you coming and get out of sight in a hurry. The best way to hunt them is to go at night and use your bright lights to blind them. A frog that can’t see is a frog that can’t react.
It’s not hard to track them because they can’t help but croak. Work in tandem with a partner and remains spread out with at least 20’ between you. When you or your partner spots the frog, put the light right on its face. While the frog is sitting there wondering why it can’t see, the partner without the light comes up and gigs it.
It’s best to sneak up behind the frog. They lack that keen and instinctive 360° awareness that other amphibians, reptiles, and mammals seem to have. When you are ready to spear the frog, you need to stick it right below the head.
The idea is to get a quick kill. You don’t want the frog to suffer for no particular reason, and a wiggling frog will only make a mess on the end of the spear, potentially coming off and dropping into the water.
Frog gigging is a nighttime hunt and requires a few extra tools, a little bit of strategy, and some decent teamwork to be truly effective. Always pay attention to local, county, and state laws concerning frog hunting, as some places regulate it more heavily than others.
For instance, the state of Indiana allows frog hunters a bag limit of 25. Some states don’t allow frog gigging at all. Blinding the frog is your number one weapon. If the frog can’t see anything in a haze of bright light, your partner will be able to sneak up on it.
More importantly, a blinded frog will give a frog hunter the time to make a killing strike. It’s not something you want to rush if you can help. Most of all, have fun and enjoy those fried frog legs.
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