Gone bull froggin’ with Jimmy Fleming

Published 10:26 am Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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(This article first appeared in the October 2008 issue of Scuppernong Gazette magazine and is reprinted by the author’s permission.)


There is something about a warm night in early spring that draws a fella’s attention to the weedy backs of a canal or pond in the dark of night in spite of mosquitoes and snakes in search of the elusive bullfrog.

As a youngster I followed my granddaddy William a many a night as we walked his secret frog spots in Scotia, Riders Creek, and on the Levels. We would be equipped with an old 2 cell flashlight, rubber boots, a burlap sack, and sometimes an old single shot 22 rifle. We used to catch the frogs that were close enough with our bare hands, or we might be lucky enough to have a gig or a net with us. The frogs that were too far away for catching were shot with the old 22 and then scooped up with the net.

I can remember nights in later spring when the roar of frogs hollering could be heard everywhere. That was my favorite time to go froggin’. You could hear frogs hollering everywhere, and sometimes we would start as soon as it got dark and stay out until after midnight.

As I got older the tools for froggin’ got better. There were Q beam spot lights, waders and hip boots, long gig poles with 5 prong gigs, and folks had better vehicles so they would travel farther away from home to go froggin’.

I have frogged with some mighty fine froggers since my grandpa. Some of buddies that I really enjoyed froggin’ with were Elmo Hassell, Mike Spruill, Ricky VanHorn, and Aubrey Ludford. We spent many a night in search of frogs, and it sometimes served as a date also when we would bring along our lady friends. Nothing like spending a spring night riding around Alligator or Gumneck gigging frogs with the special lady in your life.

The true rewards of froggin’ came once you got home and got them cleaned.  Sometimes we couldn’t wait until the next night for supper, and we would come in the house and break out the frying pan and cook up a mess of legs for a midnight snack. FROGLEGS are good eating!!! If you can get that squeamish person to ever try them they will more than likely got hooked.

As my son was growing up, he and I frogged the canals of Crosslanding where we lived at the time. Sometimes it would be just the two of us, or sometimes we would invite friends, but we had many great hours walking pond and canal banks and bull froggin’.

I don’t go froggin’ near as much as I used to, but I sure am glad to see that my son and his friends are still carrying on the tradition and having a good time bull froggin’ in Tyrrell County.