First clamming trip today. Went with Cathy and Sabre to Ninilchik beach access, and in just over an hour of actual clamming time, including nearly getting ourselves stuck in the muck a couple of times (a little spooky!), managed to catch 35 razors. I was not expecting nearly that much success, and we’re pretty tickled about it.
Clamming itself (for razors at least) is actually very straightforward, and the very first time I drove the clam gun, it came up with a clam, perfectly. Then I did it again, and then again… Seemed intuitive enough! At one point I had a streak of probably 10 going; of our 35, we cracked 12, and of those only 3 were really scrambled. I’ve got no idea how that compares with “normal”, but we were pretty happy about it. Sabre became our designated depositor of caught clams into the collection bucket, Cathy and I took turns on the gun, and after a little over an hour we decided it would probably be best to stop and move on with lunchtime.
To record the particulars: we left the haus at just about 10, were on the beach starting to look for “shows” at a little after 11, and were wheels up at about 12:30. Low tide was listed as just about noon and was in the -3 foot range. We used a simple clam gun and a 5-gallon bucket for collection. We worked two separate areas of no more than about 25′ radius, and there were literally dozens if not hundreds of shows that we saw while walking between the two (we were trying to get to a place that didn’t seem so much like quicksand). It was a gorgeous day on Cook Inlet and there were lots of people out (maybe ~100?), most friendly and full of smiles. Sabre of course took notice of all the kids on ATVs; it will not take her long to start wondering why we don’t have one of our own. 🙂
I think I did most of the digs, and learned a lot about how to do it. The gun is pretty cool, really, and marvelously simple. Cathy shared everything she’d learned in her first trip and I absolutely benefited from that.
Cleaning the catch later was also instructive. The 35 clams cleaned out to a rough weight of 2.75 pounds; we spent probably about an hour getting them done, including the diagnostic data collection, learning as we went and comparing notes with each other. I suspect one could find measurable efficiencies with a little experience. We made note of the fact that the daily bag limit is 60 razors per person, so we caught just over half the daily limit for one of us, not counting Sabre (who won’t need a fishing license until she’s 16, but will probably be catching her own clams within a few years). Interesting. We’ll see how far 2.75lb of clams goes. 🙂
Tomorrow, Father’s Day, and the intention is to have some fresh razor clams for dinner.