How to Make an Unstoppable DIY Primitive Frog Gig

You can fashion a primitive gig from materials in your environment.

This could be a key skill to keep you fed, and it’s a fun skill to practice. 

In any survival scenario, there are several priorities you need to achieve.  The four pillars of survival are food, water, fire, and shelter.

The rule of threes states that you can survive three hours without warmth from fire or shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food.

However, food is not just about staying alive.  As your body goes without food, you can become weak, disoriented, nauseous, and unmotivatedHunger can make it difficult or impossible to accomplish other survival tasks.

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  Introduction to Frog Gigging
    DIY Metal Gig
    DIY Four Prong Spear
    Gigging Technique and Tips

Introduction to Frog Gigging


As the body goes without calories, it starts to burn fat reserves.  As these become depleted, it starts to burn muscle and organ tissue.

This can be very painful.  There are easy food options such as foraging for plants and berries.  However, this does not provide the protein and fats needed to stay strong.

Frogs can provide the protein, fats, and oils that you really need.  In most cases, the legs of a frog are the primary meat source.  The best way to hunt frogs in a survival situation is gigging.  This is the process of spearing the frog while it is stationary.

A few years ago, I completed an in-boat survival challenge.  During this challenge I was required to stay in a motorless boat for three days with no food, water, shelter, or common fire sources. This challenge was completed on a three-acre pond.

One of the first things I notice was there was some driftwood floating in the water.  I found a six-foot long pole and shaped it into a spear. There were plenty of bullfrogs sitting around the edge of the pond, and I started hunting.  It took lots of practice, but eventually, I was able to spear a frog.  After the first catch, the additional ones were easier.  It was my only source of food during that three day stretch, but it kept me going.

It should be noted that frogs can contain bacteria and parasites that can make you very sick. Frog legs should always be cooked well before eating.  On my challenge I was able to use mud and rocks to coat the aluminum boat and then built a fire using a ferro rod to cook the frogs.  Do not risk getting sick by eating frog meat raw.  In this article, I will cover two ways to build a frog gig as well as the best way to catch them.

DIY Metal Gig

Frog gigging with homemade frog gigs

The best way to build a frog gig is to use a metal head and a wooden handle.  Keep in mind that this means you would need to build it in advance and bring it with you when you bug out.  The handle should be between five and eight feet long and as light as possible.  The metal head typically consists of a cylindrical base that attaches to the handle.

It also has three prongs that normally have barbs at the end. The barbs prevent the frog from wriggling off of the gig, and the metal prongs are beneficial because they will not break like wooden ones.

Often frogs will still actively try to get loose after they are speared, so the barbs are nice.  All you really need to do to complete this rig is to slide the handle into the metal head and then tighten down with one or more screws.  You are now ready to go gigging.

DIY Four Prong Spear

As long as you have a knife with you, a four-prong spear should always be an option in a survival scenario.  This is the design I used for my survival challenge.  You want to start with a pole five to eight feet long.  It should be thin enough to be light but thick enough that it will not break.

I like to shave off all of the bark to make it more streamlined, but that is a personal preference.  Use your knife to split one end down about six inches.  Then turn your knife perpendicular to the first split and split the end again.  This should give you four separate sections.  Next, find two small sticks and shove them down into the splits as far as you can.  This should separate your four prongs.

Your next step is to sharpen your prongs.  You want a fairly gradual taper coming to a sharp point.  Just make sure it is not so thin that it will break under pressure.  You will want to harden the tips of your spear in a fire to ensure they stay sharp.

By placing the tips over a fire, you will draw moisture out of the wood making it harder.  Just be sure you do not let it actually catch fire.  Getting them a bit black is fine.  One final step you can take is wrapping cordage tightly around the base of your prongs.  This is optional, but it can make your spear stronger.  Your spear is now ready to go.

Gigging Technique and Tips

frog gig

Gigging for frogs can be very difficult, so you will need some practice.  I suggest that you create a target and take several practice thrusts with different attack angles to become more accurate.  Frogs have great reflexes, so you will have to be faster than they are.  First, let’s go over the proper grip.

This will depend on the angle at which you are approaching frogs.  If your angle of attack is somewhere between straight down and out 45 degrees, you want to use a backhanded grip for the best control.  If the angle of attack is somewhere higher than 45 degrees out, you want to use a forehand grip.  You should always have a spear that you can wield one-handed.

For your best odds, you want to have a target that you can pin to the ground.  Frogs swimming in the water are no good as you likely will not have enough force to keep them on your prongs.  Gigging from a boat is nice because you can silently and smoothly approach your prey.

However, balancing in your boat while thrusting your spear can be tough.  As you take aim, you want the end of your spear as close to your target as possible without spooking them.  I can typically get two to three feet away before having to make my move.  When you thrust, drive the spear straight through the frog into the mud below.

Wait for a second to ensure that you have them pinned.  If you have barbs, you can simply remove them from the mud.  If you are using a four-prong spear, you want to grab them before you remove the spear.  Otherwise, they may get loose and hop away.

frog gig hitting water

To get the best odds of success be aware of factors that could spook the frogs.  Muted colors like browns and greens are best to wear versus bright colors.  In addition, frogs are most prevalent right before dark.  This is a great time to go after them.  They like hot weather, so hot summer evenings are ideal.

Another tip is to use light to blind the frogs.  Their eyes are very sensitive, so all they see is glare when you shine a flashlight in their eyes.  If you have access to one, shine a flashlight on the frog with your non-dominant hand and hold the spear in your dominant hand.  This also can allow you to gig all night long if you want.

Frogs can provide an excellent survival food source if you know what you are doing.  However, it is far from an easy process.  Take the time to build a gig in advance and get in some practice.  You want to already be familiar with the process before your life depends upon it.

In the following video, you can see how easy it is to make a gig.

You will want to practice making gigs before you actually need one to survive!

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