#36 Frogging

‘Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails’. Boys around the world are fascinated by bugs, reptiles, and just about anything else slimy and green. They chase their screaming sisters around with lizards and frogs. Well, Cajun tee garçons are no different, except that they never quite outgrow their love of one green creature in particular – the bullfrog. Where most people see slimy, creepy critters, Cajuns see opportunity…for their bellies. You see, bullfrogs are the perfect prey: easy to catch, dumb as a rock, and simply delicious.

Once the sun goes down, and the air is filled with the sound of croaking frogs, it’s time to start getting ready because, unlike other outdoor activities, frogging is a night sport. Effective frogging requires two or three people: one to drive the boat, one to handle the spotlight, and one to catch the frogs. With a head mounted spotlight, you can get by with two people. Catching a frog is pretty straightforward. One person scans the banks of the swamp or bayou with a spotlight, looking for illuminated frog eyes. While the frog is momentarily stunned by the beam light, the boat driver heads straight into the bank near the frog, and the catcher, positioned at the front of the boat, grabs the frog and deposits his catch into a frog box or sack.

While I’m a hand-frogging purist, many other Cajuns like to gig frogs. A gig is a long stick with a pointy barbed end used to stab the frog. It’s a lot less messy, since you don’t have to reach over the boat and get your hands dirty. It also lowers the risk of getting snake bitten, since you’re not blindly sticking your hand into the weeds. A lot of guys who frog from airboats like to gig. I prefer catching frogs with my hands for a couple of reasons. First, I can deposit the unharmed frogs into a box and clean them in the morning, resulting in fresher meat, and more sleep for dis Coonass boy. It also gives the frogs time on death row to reflect upon the lives they’ve lived (just kidding, did I mention how stupid dem frogs were). With gigging, it’s best to clean your catch right away, before the frogs die and the meat goes bad. Secondly, it’s just more fun and rewarding to catch a big bullfrog with your bare hands.

After waking up from a long night of frogging, it’s execution time. Some people like to whack the frog in the head with a hammer. I just grab the frog by its legs, and swing its head into a clothesline post. Before you PETA people get your panties in a bunch, realize that a frog is just barely above a lobster on the intelligence scale, and a whack on the head is one of the most humane methods for killing them.

Once your meat is cleaned, it’s time for cooking. There are two ways I like my frogs prepared: fried frog legs, or frog sauce piquant, a spicy tomato based Cajun dish. If you non Cajuns can get past the idea of eating a frog, I promise you’ll love the taste. And no, it doesn’t taste a bit like chicken.

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25 thoughts on “#36 Frogging

    • My papa frogged from an airboat and sold the legs for his income. My granny would cut the heads off the frogs in the morning. The things still croaked and crawled for days til papa fed them to the gator at the culvert. I miss those days. We lived in the Everglades.

  1. Ha, never been but I know some folks in Patterson who are froggin’ fiends. They are fully equipped with frog-light (safety helmet with Q-beam attached and wired to a car battery), frog-pole or gig, and frog-box (with spring loaded door).

    Great blog, btw.

  2. Didn’t Ali Landry (the “pride” of cajun country) say once that she enjoyed frogging?

    I also saw her on Leno once where she said that she was on the Cecilia High School swim team. I bet those swim meets were fun when you’re swimming in the Bayou!

  3. Yeah, I went to the same school as Ali, and the only think we had that resembled a swimming pool was an oxidation pond!

  4. I thought Jake Delhomme was the pride of Cajun country. Anyway, frogging is awesome fun for girls. The men would never take girls along on hunting trips, but for whatever reason it was OK to let us go out on a boat and gig frogs. I had a high school boyfriend who told me that gigging a frog is the sexiest thing a girl can do in front of a guy. Of course he was from Eunice, so draw your own conclusions…

  5. I always thought my dad looked like an old fashioned doctor with his frogging gear.

    Is there any other use for those big rectangular batteries they use for that headlamp?

  6. I think the headlamp makes people look like coal miners. We always used a hand held qbeam powered by a car battery, which is why we usually frogged with 3 people.

  7. I grew up on 6 acres with three large ponds. In the summer, many a cute cajun boy camped out and “gigged” frogs on our spread.

    Many a time, they provided us with some lovely frog legs that my mother subsequently fried up. (Tastes like chicken.)

    BTW, every self-respecting cajun knows that the “pride” of Acadiana was Ron Guidry.

  8. I did not know that you were supposed to gig/grab frogs until I was aroung 13 years or so old. We always rode in the back of pickups and while someone held the light on the frog the other shot him between the eyes with a .22 caliber rifle. Recently, I found the best of the best. Just drive the 4-wheeler off into a crawfish lake with a headlamp on and drive up to the frogs and pick them up. It seems that the sound of the motor and the light in their eyes just blinds them to the impending capture. I have had them fried, broiled and in a sauce picaunte in the recent past. Fantastic!

  9. My father and I used a long pole with a small net at the end. The net was connected to a hinge and springs, which provided sufficient movement and resistance to keep the metal rim of the net firmly flush against the ground so there weren’t any escapes. This kept the frogs alive (no immediate cleaning), and more importantly hands away from snakes, ’cause we certainly did not have health insurance. I was kind of freaked out the first time we pan fried some legs and they tried to jump out of the skillet.

    Also, getting the frog to kick an unsuspecting fellow frogger in the back of the head is always a favorite, even if it occassionally results in the loss of food.

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  13. Super memory dredger-upper! When I was a kid in Lake Charles, LA the entire family would go frogging. Our gigs were not sharp, they simply “grabbed” the frogs unharmed. Every one of us had waders on, a headlamp with the big square battery, a burlap sack tied to our waist, and a gig on a long bamboo pole. We would sweep through the marsh in a line and leave when the sacks were too heavy to carry. Big fun. Kids these days don’t know what fun is. Next morning was dying time for the critters, then a massive delicious lunch. The largest frog of all was always tethered on a string to be our pet for the next few days. It always mysteriously disappeared around lunch time. lol

  14. I love legs sautéed in a garlic rouille with chunks of bacon, with a slab of bacon on the side!! Who Dat!? I’m home sick…

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