o I submitted this article to Associated Content and they did not want to publish it saying they thought it would not draw enough attention. Humph I pulled it off their list and will post it here. Since I am the Administrator and Editor in Chief of this blog I get to make the final decisions. So for all my friends who live on the west coast or those who might come here and want to dig clams and clean them, here are some really good instructions on how to do it!
Razor Clams can be found on the Washington, Oregon, California and Alaskan coastlines. With a bit of old fashioned clam digging know how, this large shellfish can be a delicious dinner.
The Pacific Razor Clam (Siliqua patula) is a large shellfish that can grow up to seven inches long. Razor clams inhabit beaches and sheltered areas along the Pacific coast and can be found up to a half mile off the coast. Although razor clams prefer shallow beach waters they have been dredged in water deeper than 30 feet.
Once a clam digger has obtained a state license and has checked to ensure that a clam season has been declared it is time to go off to the beach. Be sure to verify that the beach has been identified as safe for clam digging and that you observe the set clam digging hours. Check for the tides as clam digging is done at low tide.
It is wise to wear boots or water proof shoes as clam digging can be wet work. Rubber gloves are useful as the edges of the clam shell can be sharp. Bring your own pail because if you run into a shellfish warden he will count your catch.
A long the waters edge, look for a clam show. A clam show is indication that a clam has buried itself in the sand. The clam leaves behind it a channel which looks like a hole in the sand. There are three major kind of "shows" to look for:
dimple: a depression in the sand
doughnut: which has raised sides
keyhole: which is usually in drier sand areas and is shaped like an "hour-glass" or is a hole with very distinct sides.
The holes or dimples as they are called are the size of a coin. The larger the dimple the larger the clam might be. Sometimes you will see water shoot up from the hole forming a geyser. Know the clam might be warned you are there and might be digger deeper quickly so as not to be caught.
To dig razor clams use a spade, a clam tube or a cylindrical can. Beginners can use a small spade or shovel and be successful. More experienced clammers will develop a preference for tools invented to make clamming easier.
Plunge the shovel into the sand about 4 inches away from the hole close to the water. The shovel handle will be facing the beach. Get on one knee and push the shovel straight into the sand and rock it back and forth. Be careful not to break the clam shell. Pull the handle of the shovel back just enough to break the suction in the sand, still keeping the blade as straight as possible. The sand will crack as shown. Either with the shovel or with your hand pull away the sand until you see the clam. Reach in and grasp the shell and pull it to the surface. Drop the clam into a bucket and begin to look for the next victim.
Always adhere to the state limit and do not dig more than your limit. Over fishing an area can let to shortages resulting in clam beds being closed later in the year or in future years. Never dig in an area that has not been identified as safe and open. Clams are susceptible to bacteria, viruses and pollution and can make humans very sick. It is common to see beaches marked closed because of Red Tide. Do not ignore such warning signs or you will pay the price. Always wear your license on the outer side of your clothing.
A successful day will reward you will a pail full of large razor clams that are great baked, fried or in clam chowder. Clams can be frozen or canned for long term storage. Keep them refrigerated and do not eat clams that have open shells before cooking as this indicates the clam has died and possibly begun to spoil.