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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Digging For Razor Clams...

11:30 am - 51 degrees out - scattered clouds...

Eating locally grown food is great, but when you are able to go directly to the foods source and harvest it yourself, that’s even better!

Our last trip to the Long Beach Peninsula, (which was a couple weeks ago) just happened to coincide with clamming season.  Yea!!!

The kids and I have never been digging for clams before.  There is a stock pile of clam-digging supplies at our beach property, but we’ve never used them.  But this trip, we thought we’d give it a try.

Long Beach locals swear that clam-digging is in their blood.  But, for us newbie’s, it was a very fun (and gross) learning experience.

First, we dug out our clam-digging supplies and made sure there were enough clam guns for everyone.  Then we ran into town to get our clamming licenses at Jack’s Country Store along with a list of the clamming tides.  All clam-diggers 15 years of age or older must have an applicable clamming license to harvest razor clams on any beach.  Children don’t need a license as long as they’re with an adult who has one.

Swung by Jack's Country Store to grab a clamming license.

After not so patiently waiting for the clamming tide to come, I got all the kids (4 total) and supplies loaded into our rig and we headed for the beach – with no clue how to properly clam dig!

We dragged our clam guns and netted bags down to the wet sand, to an area that was still nice and smooth, away from all the other clam-diggers.  We were told to look for air bubbles or dimples in the sand, so we started wandering around looking.  After about a minute or so, we found a “dimple”.  I called the kids over so we could all see what would happen when I plunged the long, cylindrical tube of aluminum into the sand, plugged the tiny air hole on the handle, and pulled it back up out of the sand... and was rewarded with jumping up and down and shouts of excitement since we had just dug up our first clam!

Our first razor clam!
Razor Clam

Things got a little crazy after that first clam was dug up.  Kids were running back and forth shouting “I found a dimple!”, “ACK, it squirted me!”, “GOT ONE!” and so on.  It was quite amusing to watch as they ran around from dimple to dimple, placing their clam guns over the center of the dimple, and do their little squiggle dance as they plunged their gun into the wet sand.  When they pulled up all the sand contained within the gun, dumping the contents to the side, they quickly dug through that pile or dove down into the hole to grab that clam.    

We found dimples!  AKA Razor Clam Show.

Clam-digging cousins.

Our last razor clam of the day.

It only took about a half an hour for all of us to reach our limit of 15 razor clams each.  Being new to this, our razor clams weren’t all perfect, we did manage to cut a few in half when we plunged the clam gun into the sand, but all clam-diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig up, regardless of size or if you accidentally cut them in half.

Everyone had a lot of fun digging for the clams, but the clean-up...well that wasn’t as much fun.  In fact, it was gross, but we got the job done.  If you want to clean your own clams, it’s a good idea to look up how to clean them first so you may clean them safely and correctly (click here for instructions).  Of if you don’t want to clean them yourself, you can drop them off at a local seafood store or cannery to have them professionally cleaned and vacuum-packed.

We really did luck out.  We had an absolutely perfect evening and great success for our first clam-dig. 

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