by Frank Richardson
Giggin' up frog legs
‘Tastes Like Chicken!’
In my early teens I spent many spring and summer nights gigging frogs in ponds throughout Central Florida with my dad. When Dad was younger, he used an airboat to get to the frogs, but the airboat had been sold by the time I was old enough to join him.
We used an aluminum jon boat and a bamboo push pole – with a gig attached to the smaller end – to navigate the smaller ponds. Our favorite ponds were located in Croom WMA, but many wet-weather ponds and lakes with proper cover hold healthy populations of frogs.
I have some very fond memories of pushing around those little ponds gigging frogs.
Recently, some 20 years later, several friends and I were discussing frog gigging and decided to give it a try. None of us had an airboat, and most of the ponds or lakes we wanted to hit were too thick for a push pole, so we decided to use their duck boats with a Mud Buddy motor on the back. I went along a few times, and we always had a great time while managing to come home with some frogs each time.
Last summer, my son, Frank, asked me if he could go along on the next frog-giggin’ trip. He was 13 at the time, and while he had a lot of fun, he had a little trouble connecting the gig to the frog. At that awkward age, I was just pleased that he did not fall out of the boat! We all had a blast and came home with a mess of frogs.
This spring we received an invite from our friend Todd Laughlin to join him on a frog-gigging trip. One Friday evening we met Todd at a local body of water (I was threatened with death if I disclosed the spot!) and launched his duck boat.
Todd was driving and shining one light, while Frank was in the middle with another light, and I stood on the bow of the boat – ready for action. The mud motor on the back of the duck boat moved us through even fairly thick cover with ease. Todd and Frank soon located some frogs with their lights, and the action was on!
By the time I was ready for a break – or approximately the time Frank was about ready to push me out of the boat so he could have his turn – we had close to 30 frogs. What a difference a year makes when you are in your early teens! Frank took position at the bow with the gig, while I took the second light. Frog after frog met its fate as Frank gigged away.
I believe he actually out-gigged me, as he rarely missed a frog. Once, as Frank was taking one frog off of the gig and trying to get it in the ice chest, he saw another frog that Todd and I could not see. With one frog in his left hand, he took the gig in his right hand and gigged a second frog one-handed!
Todd and I agreed it was more fun to just ride around while letting Frank do the gigging. Watching Frank on the front of the boat gigging frogs brought back memories of nights I spent with my dad doing the same thing. I hope Frank has the same fond memories.
By 1 a.m. we decided we should call it a night and headed back to shore. The final count for the evening was 68 frogs (which means we had 136 tasty frog legs!) Cleaning frogs is pretty easy. All you have to do is grab the frog, make a small cut above the legs and pull the skin off with a pair of pliers. Once that is done, cut the legs away from the body, cut the feet off and separate the legs. I usually freeze them in water, with 40 legs per bag.
Cooking the frog legs is just about as easy as cleaning them. It seems that a lot of people will say any white meat that they can’t quite describe “tastes like chicken,” but that’s not the case with frogs (or just about any other critter I’ve heard the “tastes like chicken” comment about).
I can’t really compare frog legs to any other meat I’ve had, but I can tell you it is tasty and a total blast to go gig the frogs! Here’s the (very simple) way we have always cooked them:
Frog Leg Recipe
Season legs with salt and pepper.
Place legs in bag and shake with flour. Fry legs in vegetable oil until light brown. Drain on paper towel and enjoy!