Cooking Channel's Hook, Line & Dinner Goes Fishing in Miami and The Everglades

Ben Sargent and Jesse Kinnon go frog gigging
Hook, Line & Dinner, a new Cooking Channel show, takes Ben Sargent fishing and cooking his catch with fishermen around the country. The show, which premieres tomorrow, made a stop in South Florida.

"Florida is amazing in that within a two-hour drive you can get to two of what feel like the most opposite ends of the planet and they're within 100 miles of each other," he said. "We're doing spiny lobster right in Miami and it's so strange because you're taking this old school fishing boat through this metropolis. And then you go to the Everglades and it is so backcountry and such a different lifestyle."

Sargent is a New England restaurant owner best known for his underground operation selling lobster rolls out of his Brooklyn apartment. The Miami episode starts at Garcia's, where after a cafecito the Garcia brothers take Sargent to catch spiny lobster. Sargent then takes his motorcycle to Coopertown (population eight) and tries his hand -- somewhat unsuccessfully -- at frog gigging with the town's mayor and owner of Coopertown Restaurant. The final stop is in Everglades City, where Lee Noble, owner of Leebo's Rock Bottom Bar in Everglades City, takes Sargent out to catch stone crab, a crustacean he concludes is much better eaten without sauce. Keep it simple, he says.

Hook, Line & Dinner premieres on the Cooking Channel tomorrow, June 7, at 10:30 p.m. with a trip to the Bayou Country for crawfish and catfish. The Miami episode airs next Tuesday, June 14.

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Grove Native...
Grove Native...

I tried my hand at frog gigging about 25 years ago with a gentleman that had a house way out in the middle of nowhere(30 minute airboat ride from Tamiami Trail). After his girlfriend fixed dinner, we sat down to a few chess games until about midnight, when we got into his airboat and took a 20 minute ride to a canal/levy. There was no moon that night, only the single car headlight that this guy wore on his hardhat while steering the airboat.(he had one arm, the other was cut off in an airboat accident) As we slowly cruised the canal, I crouched in the bow of the airboat with an 8 foot, 3 pronged gig waiting for his headlight to catch the glow of the frog's eyes which happens when the beam of light hits them.(the frogs hang suspended in the water with just the very top of their head showing) You have to be extremely fast in your spearing tecnique because the light only freezes the frogs for a few seconds. As soon as I gigged each one, I would swing the gig back into the boat and his girlfriend's daughter would pull the frog off and put them in a gunny/burlap sack. We stayed out for about 90 minutes and then went back to his house. When we counted the frogs I gigged(45), he told me that was damn good for my first time, especially considering I had had about 7 or 8 shots of Anejo tequila before we left to go hunting...

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