When you think of frogs, you may consider them as the noisy wetland dwellers, something that the family dog likes to chase, or even their effectiveness as bass bait, but frog gigging is an exciting way to harvest them that you may not know much about. This is one of the few ways to do some hunting in the summer weather, but as always, you'll want to check the regulations for your area before jumping in. Rules for capturing these amphibians have a lot of variation throughout the U.S., and while there are multiple ways to fill a bucket with croakers, gigging might be the best way to do it. Frog gigging can be done in virtually every state in the union with either a fishing license or a hunting license, but with differing degrees of regulation, bag limits, and seasons. Frog gigging is also a great way to spend a summer night showing kids that wild game meat isn't limited to whitetail deer or mallard ducks. Ask an outdoor-loving kid if they want to go and chase some frogs, and you may just get run over before you get to the door!
What is Frog Gigging?
Since not everyone out there has hunted bullfrogs with something other than their hands, the typical way to do this is by the use of a frog gig, or frog spear. It is a five- to eight-foot pole with four or five spiked, sometimes barbed prongs or tines at the end.
While many folks will use a similar rig to spear fish, frog gigs are typically a bit wider to cover more space. The actual practice evolves into a spot and stalk-style hunt, as frogs are located, snuck up on, and gigged with a quick jab to their body or head. They are a worthy adversary, especially for beginner frog giggers, but the idea is to aim for right behind the head and drive the gig as much as six inches into the frog to up the chances of a deadly strike.
Gigging can take place in small and large ponds, lakes, rivers, creeks, and just about any wetland or swamp ecosystems that has some quiet backwater habitats where frogs love to hang out. The American bullfrog is the most commonly targeted species, but there are a few others that make for a good quarry as well.
Harvests typically result in cooked frog legs, a favorite wild meat for some and a worthy reward for all the hard work gigging frogs requires.
Frog Gigging Tips
Most frog gigging is typically done at night, and you will need a headlamp or a flashlight, not to mention some friends to go along with you. Employing someone to hold a light on the frog, which reveals their glowing eyes and usually stuns them momentarily, is the best way to get a good shot with the gig. Night hunting in this fashion can be dangerous, so take precautions.
Frog gigging can certainly be done from shore or while wading in relatively shallow water edges, but if you are using a boat to chase frogs, then by all means have your PFD with you.
Finding them by the glow of their eyes is one thing, but getting close enough for the gig to do its work is quite another. Some suggest you try and get behind a frog that you are targeting, and others say to shine the light in their face and slowly make your approach until the moment of truth.
Some kind of sack or mesh net is nice to have to hold your catch while you continue frog hunting, and a good cooler to place the frogs in when the evening hunt is over is an ideal way to care for the meat.
Frog gigging is a great way to practice your stealth expertise during the summer months, but those skittish frogs will disappear under the water quicker than you realize. A little determination and a can-do attitude go a long way when you're trying to catch frogs with this method.
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