Frog Gigging - The Complete Guide | Great Days Outdoors

Frog Gigging – The Complete Guide

Frog gigging, a time-honored and thrilling tradition, offers just that kind of intimate encounter with the wild. In this comprehensive guide, I’ll take you on a journey into the world of frog gigging, sharing my insights and experiences to help you navigate the waters, master the techniques, and savor the unique rewards of this age-old pursuit. Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a curious newcomer, there’s something truly special about the art of frog gigging, and I’m excited to be your guide on this adventure.

The Folly Of Frog Farming

Most states regulate wild frog populations by setting limits and making the commercial harvest of wild frogs illegal. Unfortunately, that means that unless you learn how to catch your own, your choice is between canned, frozen, or finding a restaurant with frogs on the menu. The high demand combined with habitat loss has driven imports of frozen frog legs to over 5 million pounds a year. At a recent event in Florida that bills itself as “The World’s Largest Frog Festival,” most of the fried legs consumed came from imports. 

Several attempts throughout the last century to set up frog-farming operations in the U.S. met with failure. The promise of making money with tadpoles has a perpetual ring to it, but the truth is that frogs are not the easiest amphibians to raise. It is difficult to get them to eat anything but live food, and they can take about three years to grow to market. 

There was an enterprising fellow in the 1930s named Albert Broel, founder of the “American Frog Canning Company” and author of “Frog Raising for Pleasure and Profit.” His business was located just outside New Orleans, and for a while, he became America’s leading frog canner and the leading promoter of frog culture. He advertised and sold breeder bullfrogs with a promise of tremendous profits but struggled as the nearby frog population dwindled due to over-harvesting. 

The U.S. Government subsidized one University researcher for more than 18 years before pulling the plug on that effort. Internationally, Indonesia and China export more frogs than anyone. India was once the leading frog exporter, but that changed soon after President Nixon served frog legs imported from India to Congressmen at a White House dinner. Shortly after eating, a member of Congress wound up in the hospital with salmonella poisoning. An ensuing investigation discovered widespread contamination among 90% of the frogs exported from India. 

frog gigging
Effectively jabbing at a jumping frog without falling face-first in mud requires technique.

I think a good lesson here is that if you want the finest tasting, all-natural frogs, get a good light, a can of mosquito spray, a good gig, and catch them yourself.

What Is Frog Gigging?

Frog gigging is the art of jabbing at a jumping frog without falling face-first in mud. It’s usually done at night in snake and alligator-infested waters bereft of phone signal. It ranks right up there with ‘coon hunting, noodling, and jiggerpole fishing as a weekend pursuit guaranteed to require further explanation at the office watercooler, and it’s a straight-up good time.

How to Frog Gig

Bullfrogs are the primary target for those gigging frogs, but pig frogs can also be hunted. Pig frogs look similar to bullfrogs and are only slightly smaller. However, their habitat is limited to the Coastal regions of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and all of Florida. Almost every creek, pond, lake, river, or swamp has the potential to provide a platter of frog legs to anyone willing to wade or paddle its waters. 

The Bullfrogs’ unmistakable croaking can be heard when the temperature begins to warm in March and continues through the summer. Late afternoon, just before dark, is a great time to evaluate the population of a potential hunting area as you listen for their unmistakable calls. It’s also essential to learn the geography of your hunting waters before darkness settles in.

Once you’ve located good gigging grounds, grab a gig, a strong light, a small boat, a thermacell, and a buddy. Oh, and a bucket or cooler with a lid. That last part is very important!

Frog Gigging Season

In my home state of Alabama, there is currently no closed season on frogs. However, game laws vary widely from state-to-state and readers should verify seasons with the local Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to make sure that they are following local regulations.


While there is no closed season, most frog gigging takes place in spring and summer, when frogs are the most active and the most vocal. You know it’s frog season when you hear the chorus of big bullfrogs booming across your local marsh or riverswamp. 

Tips For Gigging Frogs

A bullfrog’s eyes appear nearly golden as they reflect the flashlight beam. They will usually be sitting where the water meets land or with just their heads above water. A good light renders them temporarily blind, and a stealthy approach allows placing the gig near enough for an accurate jab. Many serious frog hunters find remote areas that see little hunting pressure and where frogs up to two pounds with legs the size of chickens can occasionally be found. 

frog gigging
A lightweight, highly maneuverable boat is best when frog gigging.

Frogs that weigh at least a pound are the ones sought by serious hunters. With practice, one can judge the weight of a bullfrog by the distance between its glowing eyes. Walking on land to get close enough to gig one takes a stealthy approach. Frogs can feel the vibration from your footsteps and will often spook before closing the distance.

Frog hunters prefer a lightweight, highly maneuverable boat to ease close enough for their gig. For smaller bodies of water, that means a canoe or small flat-bottom is the best option. On a good night, bullfrogs are easily pinpointed by following their bellowing call. However, they are easily spooked, so a quiet approach is essential. Work the bank with a good headlight, looking for a pair of glowing eyes, then glide in for the kill. 

Our family used to camp out regularly on a nearby stream. We fished limb lines for catfish at night and caught bream and bass during the day. We would clean the fish for our evening meal and sometimes head out right at dark to add a few frog legs to the hot grease, but we used our bare hands to catch them. If they were too small, we just released them. This method is still used today in many parts of the country. I would add a note of caution when grabbing a frog with your hands. When shining a light to temporarily blind a frog, I’ve often noticed a cottonmouth or water snake sneaking towards the same frog I was after. If there are frogs, there are snakes nearby.

Frog Gig Points To Consider

Hunters have used various gig designs throughout history to help capture food from the oceans, rivers, lakes, and land. Their design is a variation of the spear tip, but it uses multiple tines. The gig tips have evolved from forged two and three-prong ends to high-tech stainless steel configurations with up to five replaceable tines. They come in various lengths and diameters, so the size of the frogs hunted should determine the type of gig needed. 

The standard frog gig design looks like straitened fishhooks and is attached to a base in a side-by-side or circular pattern. They are fitted onto the end of a wooden, composite, or metal pole and secured with epoxy and or screws. Another type uses pivoting jaws that grab and hold onto the frogs without killing them. 

A successful night of frog gigging.

When choosing a frog gig, the primary points to consider are its length, weight, and durability. The longer the gig the better, provided that you can control it. Lightweight aluminum poles are a great option, but a well-dried bamboo pole is also light and strong.  Durability is important because frogs can often be found at the base of cypress trees or on logs or other hard debris. A cheap gig head will break if it encounters such an object, bringing your night to a premature close if you don’t have a spare. For this reason, I often prefer to use gigs meant for flounder instead of designated frog gigs, which are usually much more fragile.

Frog Gig Pole Length

A pole length of 5-8 feet is usually adequate for gigging frogs on most lakes. However, some streams and rivers have brush and downed trees along the banks that might warrant a longer pole or one that can telescope to accommodate those hard-to-reach spots.

Frog Gigging Equipment

Frog Gigging Light

Everybody has their own preference, but I personally prefer two lights when gigging for frogs. A high-powered “Q-beam” type light makes it easy to spot frogs from a distance. But when you’re closing in on your target, it can be hard to handle the gig and the light. Sometimes your buddy can help with that, but many times his hands are full controlling the boat.

LBE Rechargeable Spotlight

LBE Rechargeable Spotlight


  • Powerful 10800mAh Long Life Battery
  • Mian Light 3 Modes & Side Light 3 Modes
  • USB C Fast Charging & USB Output
  • IPX6 Water Resistant & Virtually Indastructible
  • 4 Color Modes & Excellent After-Sales
  • Popular Use for Home & Work & Outdoor

For the final assault, I like to use a high-powered headlamp such as the ones used by ‘coon hunters. This style of light is powerful enough to keep the frog blinded and still, but lets you maneuver your gig pole with both hands. Just be sure that whatever you do, you don’t cast a shadow on the frog while closing in. Doing so “breaks the spell” and will almost always result in a missed opportunity. 

GearOZ Coon Hunting Headlamp

GearOZ Headlamp


  • Beam range of approximately 500 to 800 yards
  • Power up your headlamp for over 15 hours of uninterrupted illumination
  • Designed to withstand rough weather conditions and potential collisions
  • Waterproof
  • 6 different lighting modes

Frog Gigs

As mentioned, you want a frog gig that is strong, lightweight, and long. 8ft is the minimum length that I prefer, but I’ve used as long as 12ft. You can always choke up on a long shaft, but it’s frustrating to need one longer than what you have. This model is on the short side of acceptable, but is very lightweight and easy to change heads on. 

Danielson Quick Release Frog Spear


  • Telescoping handle can extend up to 90″
  • Strong octagon anodized aluminum handle
  • Spear tip has a quick release collar
  • Spear tip constructed of tempered steel and finished in black enamel
  • Spear features razor sharp tips and sure holding barbs

This model comes in 4-8′ and 6-12′ lengths if you would like to try your hand at a slightly longer frog gigging spear.

Frabill Deluxe Telescoping Frog Gig


  • Light, responsive handle
  • Five-tine sharp spearhead system
  • Extends and collapses for easy transport and storage
  • Choose from two telescoping lengths (4-8′, or 6-12′)

Frog Gig Spear Heads

I have a preference for larger gig spear heads when gigging frogs. A five-tined gig head like this one gives you a better chance of sticking a frog and will hold up for years to come. 

B & M Frog Gig

B & M Frog Gig


  • Hand-forged
  • Spring-steel gigs
  • Needle-sharp points and barbs
  • Acetylene-welded seams

Eagle Claw Frog Spear

Eagle Claw Frog Spear


  • Tempered steel
  • Lazer 2X treble kahle

Frog Cleaning And Cooking

Frogs are easy to clean. Cut the legs off above the pelvis with shears or a sharp knife. Grab the skin with pliers and peel it towards the feet. It usually comes off in one piece. Then cut the feet off at the ankle and you can remove the legs from the pelvis at the hip joints. 

How To Cook Frog Legs

The traditional deep-south method of cooking frog legs is to deep fry them. While the squeamish may croak at the thought of fried frog legs, their delicately-flavored meat has a wonderful texture and deserves its reputation as a delicacy.

To prepare pan-fried frog legs, start by ensuring they are cleaned and patted dry with paper towels. Season the frog legs with salt and pepper to your liking, and consider adding other seasonings such as paprika or garlic powder for extra flavor. Set up a dredging station by placing all-purpose flour in one shallow dish and whisking together eggs and milk in another dish to create an egg wash. Dip each frog leg into the flour, ensuring even coating, then dip it into the egg wash.

frog legs
Frog legs in flour coating prepared for pan-frying.

Next, heat cooking oil (I prefer peanut oil) in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. You’ll want about 1/4 inch of oil to cover the pan’s bottom. Ensure the oil is hot but not smoking before adding the frog legs. Avoid overcrowding the pan; you may need to cook them in batches. Fry the frog legs for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they turn golden brown and the meat is no longer pink inside. The internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).

Using tongs, carefully remove the fried frog legs from the pan and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. To serve, offer lemon wedges on the side for a zesty touch. Enjoy your pan-fried frog legs as an appetizer or main course, as they boast a delicate, mild flavor reminiscent of chicken or seafood and pair well with various dipping sauces and side dishes.

Frog Legs Recipe

If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic than a classic deep-fry, check out our friend Hank Shaw’s recipe for Chinese Stir Fried Frog legs.

Whether you deep-fry, barbecue or grill ’em, they are a tasty southern tradition that will impress even finicky taste buds. If someone ridicules your offering, just remind them, they are served at the finest, most-expensive 5-star restaurants in Paris. 

Final Thoughts On Frog Gigging

In the world of outdoor pursuits, frog gigging stands out as a unique and rewarding experience. It’s a blend of skill, patience, and a deep connection to the natural world. As you embark on your own frog gigging adventures, remember to respect the environment, adhere to local regulations, and cherish the moments spent under the stars. Whether you’re seeking a delicious meal or simply yearning for a memorable outdoor escapade, frog gigging offers a chance to immerse yourself in the wonders of the night. So, go out there, gig responsibly, and relish in the timeless tradition of frogging.

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