The Southerner's Handbook

How to Grab a Frog Like a Cajun

Learn to do it the Atchafalaya Basin way

Photo: Cedric Angeles

If you’ve ever hunted bullfrogs, chances are the technique involved spearing them with a long-handled gig. And while to many of us that’s pretty much the apotheosis of Southern country cool, compared with hand grabbing, it’s sissy work. Deep in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin, frog hunters crouch like jaguars on the bow of a crawfish boat while a buddy works a spotlight and a motor tiller to get close, close, and closer. Caught in the bright beam, the bullfrogs remain bug-eyed and motionless, as if watching the grim reaper coming for their squalid souls. Once close enough, said frog hunters grab the frogs one-handed, arm in the swamp to the shoulder, with the other hand gripping the boat gunwale as if they might be dragged across the River Styx.

Watch them at work, and you’ll learn that the only way to approach frog grabbing is with all-in commitment. It’s not a jab. It’s a full-on roundhouse punch move, pinching ol’ Gal-ump with thumbs and fingers at the same time as you drive the slippery amphibian into the mud and muck. Once extracted, the frogs go into a wet burlap sack, so you can hit the hay when the frogging is done and worry about cleaning them later.