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Outdoor Life: Frog gigging — a tasty tradition

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Posted: July 8, 2014 6:23 p.m.
Updated: July 8, 2014 6:22 p.m.
Outdoor Life: Frog gigging — a tasty tradition

Alvin Richardson

Frog gigging is a dying art. Like grabbling or noodling (reaching under river banks for turtles and catfish) frog gigging is an outdoor activity that seems to be fading from view.
    That’s a shame, because it is easy to gear up for an outing and it's something the kids will love. Your trip can result in table fare that is both tasty and easy to prepare. Although some people loathe the thought of eating amphibian hind quarters, just close your eyes and take a bite — you will think that chicken is on the menu.
    It is a delicacy you need to experience and an outdoor activity that is unique. Frog legs are not exactly a mainstream menu item, but you would be surprised how many fine-dining and casual restaurants serve them up in different ways.
    I recently took my nephews on an excursion and they bagged a couple of dozen. The scoreboard showed that the youngest got three frogs and these were the first of his young life, while his older brother added about eight more and the old maestro himself did the yeomen’s share of the work with around 13 to his credit.  Most of them ranged in size from 10 to 14 inches (including the legs) and since I can now claim some semblance of expertise here are some tips.
    ➤ Dark nights are the best because the frogs are easier to blind. I like the four-pronged gigs with smaller heads because it seems to be easier to penetrate the frog’s skin with them. Look for ponds and swamps that don’t have a lot of bass in them because the bass love them.
    ➤ Boats are easier to use for this activity but wading has its advantages as well, especially if the water is extremely shallow. A pair of waders and a burlap bag tied to your belt is the best way to go in a shallow, swampy area.
    ➤ A bright light with a concentrated beam is the most important piece of equipment you need besides the gig. Just cruise quietly down the bank and use your light until you spot a pair of eyes on the shore. Get in close with the light on the frog and get your gig to within a foot or so before you quickly stab him and haul him in.
    ➤ It is a simple matter to clean the frogs. Just cut the hind legs off at the body and then pull the skin off with a pair of pliers or catfish skinners.  Once that is done the meat is ready for your favorite method of cooking.
    They taste similar to white meat chicken but will be more tender.
    There needs to be a couple of words of warning.
    Snakes are a part of the experience upon occasion (enough said).
    Also if you are gigging south of Macon make sure that pair of eyes is not an alligator. A frog gig will only serve to rile him up and you don’t want that to be part of the festivities.
    Here’s one final method to try. An old timer told me about a way to make snakes your friend while frog gigging. He said that he once saw a water moccasin swimming along with a bullfrog in his mouth. The old gent wanted that frog and so he poured corn liquor in the snake’s mouth and the snake spit the frog out. He knew he had really hit on a good method when the snake showed back up at the boat a few minutes later with another frog in an obvious effort to get a further taste of sour mash in exchange for another frog.
    Don’t know if that works or not but it makes sense to me. 
    Ya’ll have fun trying it out.   

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at

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