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Or is it a goby? Whatever, into the bucket it goes with the rest of the live treasure. Ah, happy days. But the thing is, I'm 47, and that's pretty much how I still spend school holidays. Having two children has little to do with it, other than providing an excuse. These days, I'm looking for dinner rather than revelling in nature, yet the basic kit is still the same: hands, net, bucket.

Mussels, cockles and clams are the easiest catch: you just bend down and pick them up. Mussels attach themselves to just about anything they can get hold of along the tideline, from rocks and gravel beds to seaweed and jetties; delicious seafood just waiting to be nabbed.

What to look for when buying razor clams

Cockles and clams are harder work, but not much: they bury themselves when the tide goes out, but when it starts coming back, telltale nipples of sand appear along the shore as they prepare to greet the returning waters. As with all molluscs, discard live ones with broken or open shells, and don't eat those that don't open after cooking. Also, most sea creatures are subject to minimum landing sizes, closed seasons and the rest.

Other molluscs that find their way into our bucket include whelks and winkles, both sea snails that are as easy to collect as clams and mussels. Brown shrimps are also a piece of cake, hanging round in big, dumb gangs against sea walls and in larger rock pools. Pick up plastic clam, shrimp and crab gauges , which are cheap and sold at most sporting goods stores. Tide charts: Most importantly, know the time of the low tide for your clamming beach.

Look online here for tide charts.

Tips for Clam Digging

You have about a four-hour window around this tide. The best steamer clamming tides are between a tide height of 0. There is no need to wait for the lowest tides of the year to gather steamer clams. Boots and clothes: Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, pack rubber boots.

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  • I always pack complete changes of clothes for myself and my daughters, and we use part of the kit perhaps fifty percent of the time. Clam-digging Follow the clammers.


    First, look for people on the beach who are successfully harvesting clams. This is the area of beach where you should start digging. Each type of clam lives along a certain band of the beach and at a certain depth. The WDFW website has a page with information on every species.

    Where & When You'll Find Clams

    Look for the show: Before you start digging, look for a hole or dimple in the sand or mud. Sometimes water or sand squirts out of a hole when you walk nearby it. Then dig until you reach the clams. Steamer clams are just 2 to 4 inches below the surface, while butter clams are a foot deep and horse clams are roughly 1. Measure: Measure each clam with your gauge; each clam needs to be at least 1. To make sure the clams you keep are of legal size test them to see if there is a way they will NOT fall through the hole on the shellfish gauge. Place ones that are too small back in the muck.

    Count your limit; the counting task is a great way to involve your younger children. Involve the kids: Depending on their age, kids can participate by throwing clams in the bag, measuring or counting, or simply playing on the beach, says Speck. Fill each hole: After you are done digging, fill the hole. Pack the clams to take home: On clamming days, you may meet a WDFW staffperson counting limits in the parking lot.

    After you have had your limits counted, fill your bucket with salt water for the drive home.

    clams how to find catch and cook them Manual

    Let them spit: Once the clams have purged, Speck likes to wrap her clams in a wet dishcloth, putting them in a colander with a water-catching container underneath it and placing this in the fridge overnight so they can spit out more water. She prefers to cook the first portion of her harvest the next day. My family always has some of our catch the first day. And you can cook them on the beach; see this video. Preparing clams is easy and the Internet has a plethora of recipes. Shelf life: Speck recommends eating Manila clams within three days of harvest.

    Butter clams and horse clams each need a rubber band around them for fridge storage and the same dishcloth arrangement and they should be cleaned or eaten within 24 hours. Meats can be frozen for later use. Razor clamming Razor clamming is different. The season opens in October every year and stays open until sometime in May, depending on the strength of the populations, marine toxins and the tidal charts. Parent Jim Mattison has a vacation home near Pacific Beach and says razor clam digs are a blast, full of camaraderie.

    Tides and times for razor clamming: During the fall and winter, the low tides are in the evening, so people start as the light fades form the sky and finish in the dark with lanterns lighting the digging.

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    In the spring, the low tides are in the morning, making for easier daylight digging although the dig may start before the sun rises, depending on the low-tide time. Tools: Tools include a specialized digging tool, either a PVC tube or an aluminum tube that brings up a core of sand. Add clams and juice to other ingredients, then add beer until you have a very thick mixture that can be dropped from spoon into hot oil at degrees.

    You may not need all the beer because of the clam juice. Drop by spoonful in oil and cook two minutes per side, test, and if not cooked, drop by smaller spoonfuls. Add spices and wine. Simmer to reduce some liquid, then pour in the clams, parsley, and cheese. Simmer for a few minutes to warm up clams. Add salt and pepper.

    How to cook razor clams

    Pour the whole pan of sauce on your cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle on more cheese as desired. Chop razor clams in processor or by hand. Cook on medium-high power in microwave in container with vented lid for 1 to 2 minutes.