OREGON COAST BOUNTY

Clamming
Mike Bones Style

Story by Judy Fleagle

CLAMMING TIPS
The clams are there, just waiting to be harvested.
Here are the inspiration, recipes, and tips to get you started.

In Oregon Coast May/June 2005 issue, Dano Dunn’s article, “Clamming, Can You Dig It?” had some how-to tips, included here in a condensed format:

• For softshell (mud) clams, dig from the side. At about 2 feet down, carve away mud in the direction of the clam.

• When hunting gapers, take a 5-gallon bucket with the bottom removed and a foot-long tapered stick the width of a soda straw. When you see the neck peeking out of the sand, poke the stick into the siphon and place the bucket around the clam. Dig away mud until you’ve got the shell.

• When hunting razor clams on the beach, be right in the surf just below the tide line. Look for the “show,” a telltale sign that appears when you tap the sand in a 2-foot arc with the handle of your shovel or feet. Insert shovel about 4 inches on ocean side of the razor, his direction of escape, and slightly pry the handle back toward your body, trapping the clam. Going after razors with a shovel takes practice not to crush them. Using a clam gun also works. (Clam guns work in sand, but not mud.

Razor Clam
Gaper Clam • Bay clams—butter, littleneck, and cockles—are found from 1 to 6 inches below the surface in gravelly sand. Use a rake to get to them. Coos, Netarts, Tillamook, and Yaquina bays have populations of bay clams.

• When shucking clams, wear a glove on the hand holding the clam. Slip the point of the knife about a half inch into the clam near the hinge, sharp edge away from you. The blade should be angled toward the top of the shell so it cuts between the shell and the abductor muscle that holds the clam closed. Work the knife around the shell to the opposite side of the hinge. Cut the muscle and repeat the process on the other side.


• Follow these four steps to turn your clam into edible clam meat. Cut away any dark matter from the stomach. Locate the two siphons; insert the knife into the lower one and cut up through both siphons at once. Strip the outer layer of skin from the neck. Rinse well to remove any sand or grit. Now all you need is your favorite clam recipe.
Mud Clam

 
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