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I'm thinking of taking my kids razor clamming this weekend at one of the SW Washington beaches. We've gone for manilas a bunch of times and always have a great time, but never razors. Particular beaches that are recommended to hit or avoid? I suspect they will all be packed, but still looks like fun. Who's the resident razor clamming expert on this board? Any advice?
 

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Smells like low tide.
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I always have decent luck here on the Twin Harbors if it isn't raining. I just drive on via the nearest beach access from my house (1st approach you get to in Grayland, when heading S) and head either N or S about 1/4 mile. You should see hundreds of vehicles and many hundreds of diggers. A clam shovel is easier on the back, but takes a little more skill. I've been meaning to get another one since the handle broke on my old one, but I have one of those white PVC tubes that I use. Harder on the lower back, but I try to use my legs to pull it up. The pressure on the surrounding sand produced by one of these tubes causes any other clams within a few feet of theone you are going after to "show." You find one, punch down for it, and a few others make their presence known. Nab 'em quick. Tell any lurkers trying to dig off you to get lost (I have had that happen!)
Rules state that you have to keep every one you dig, regardless of if they are smashed or broken. Half a clam counts as one clam if you can't find the rest of it.
I use scissors to clean 'em. I bread 'em and fry 'em up, about 2 minutes on a side, max. Any longer, they get tougher to chew.
Run 'em thru your meat grinder for making chowder.

Start no sooner than 2 hours before the low. At low tide you are done. I often head out about 1 hour before the low. Quite often, there will be a lot of "shows" up higher on the beach near where others have already dug earlier on the tide. Near low tide you will see a lot of diggers right on the water's edge, some even digging in the water, wearing hippers or waders. Meanwhile the granny in tennis shoes is digging her limit up higher on the beach, staying high and dry.
 

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~El Pescador
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Ocean Shores (Copalis) has been just fine for me. Head straight onto the beach instead of turning into town and I take a right and pull over before the Casino (easy to spot from the beach).
Apply all rules as Wallace said. Funs times for sure
 

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We usually go toward Copalis but you have lots of options. This is the only thing I fish for where crowds are not a problem. In fact I enjoy all the madness since there are plenty of clams to go around and more than enough space. Tip: Attach a flasher to your car visor...you'll have a much easier time finding your car esp if dark. >> About digging I always discourage shovels - lack of sport and generally less experienced diggers use them, resulting in lots of broken shells. Start with a clam shovel and go to barehanding once you have the hang of it. Way more sport and fun with your hands and you can easily get 15 whole ones if you're doing it right. 2 tips on barehanding: Razors run down and slightly toward the horizon (water) so you'll want to angle that direction; Whenever you pull sand out or have to let go for better grip, spread out your hand or bend your wrist on the way up, thus creating a vacuum of suction toward you. You'll have a split second to get back down while the clam is unable to move. When done properly the razor will be right where you left it with more room to grab hold. >> Good luck!
 

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Smells like low tide.
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Hey FF, I think you meant that the tubes (not shovels) are used by less experienced clammers. This is true, but who really cares? I have a tube (that was given to me years ago), and I won't spend any money on a shovel until the tube breaks. I won't dig barehanded any more, as there are lots of bits of broken shells and stuff buried in the sand, and the ONE time I tried, I got a cut on a finger. Won't do that again!
I'm just a wuss, though. I wouldn't noodle for Ling Cod, either, even if my arm was long enough.
 

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Vegetarian Cannibal
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Razor clams are one of the things that WDFW has really gotten right. They manage the crap out of the seasons, whether or not it is due to health issues with the clams, or the shellfish manager is really good, I am not sure. But because they do that (limited seasons, limited beaches, extensive testing prior to digs) generally the clam digging on all of the open beaches is excellent. Only bad-weather can make the digging suck. Heavy wave action will drive the clams deeper and make the shows much harder to see.

I've hand dug, but typically use a shovel. I don't break clams either, dig next to the hole (on the nw side of it) and back hand the back of the shell. Safe and doesn't break clams.
 

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Oops Jim you're right. Shoulda been clam guns. Speaking of that, nothing wrong with using any legal means, and certainly guys with experience can use them effectively. But you see a lot of newer diggers crunching their way to a limit with those. I just figure hands are the best sport and most fun. And about all those shell fragments, I've done that too. Every time I do it I promise myself I'll quit digging that way as it's not worth it. Just like swearing you'll never touch the farmer's daughter again...until the next opportunity.
 

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Fish Slayer
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I know the crunching feeling!! I dug clams for the first time last year. If I went at too much of an angle or angled the wrong way I wound up with busted shell and a nasty clam...
I would get so damn excited if I saw a hole, I wouldnt pay any attention to anything, I would just gun it... After the third time or so, I would catch myself though...
 

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Resident Swinger
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Have fun out there! It's been a couple years since I've been out digging, and will have to try and make it out this year. I enjoy a shovel and hands in the sand. The only trouble is usually 20 minutes on the beach and then it's done. I kind of like it when it's dark, rainy and windy as hell. Makes it challenging and the hot toddies taste even better afterwards!
 

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Patrick
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After you guys get them razor clams what do you do with them?
Not how you cook them I have plenty of information on that.
Do you put them in water to spit out the sand like you do for butter clams and such? Do you clean them before tranporting home? In other words what do I do with them to get them back from the beach back home keeping them as tasty as possible?
Been meaning to give digging a try and may try this weekend if Amie can find her fishing licence she seems to have missed place after chasing Salmon around the other day.
 

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Resident Swinger
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No need to get them to 'spit out sand'. Give them a little rinse, a quick boiling water bath (a few seconds and the shells come right off). after the boiling bath put them straight into some cold water to cool down. Then with some kitchen scissors you 'butterfly' them. Cut them from the digger up through the neck, then cut the second part of the neck so everything lays out flat like a butterfly. Then cut out the section where the guts are, which will make it look like a hole in the middle of the clam meat. Separate the digger from the guts with a quick snip of the scissors. Then butterfly the digger open with a paring knife and clean out the rest of the digger 'poo'. Once you have all this done rinse them in some nice cold water, and then rinse them again (eating sand sucks).

Fry and enjoy with your favorite beverage!!!
 

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I grew up a surf digger. Always (and I mean ALWAYS) use a shovel. Wasn't until my Dad coming down with cancer the last time that he opted to use a gun because he had a hard time going down for the clams. Normally in the surf, you can get them with necks up, one quick flip of the shovel and they are out in open and easy access.

BTW, NEVER EVER EVER dig your hands TOWARDS the beach. You'll find out why they're called Razor Clams. They're shells face the ocean, and if you dig towards the beach to get them, you'll get sliced up.

And, Copalis Beach was always a staple. I grew up down that way, Grandparents had a trailer on the beach down there. Here's a pic of my Dad circa 1962 digging clams on Copalis Beach.

 

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I should clarify that "I" only use a shovel. It's open to use whatever you like. If you use a gun, like mentioned, angle a bit towards the ocean. Don't go straight down or you'll cut them in two.
 

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Smells like low tide.
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Probably with his mouth.
Classic OMJ!

Hey Jerry, Cool shot of your dad...but where are the crowds? Saw a Zillion diggers on the beach yesterday afternoon.
I didn't so much as graze a single shell, but I only dug half my limit. I usually have great aim and get the correct angle, and crunch only a couple of 'em.
Right after I started digging, a light squall caused a sudden drop in the air pressure (I could feel the temp drop as the wind picked up a bit and the light rain started), and then I had trouble spotting the "shows." The best digging turned out to be right at the water's edge, and you had to pound the beach to get them to "show."
I rode to the beach with a neighbor, and he drove to a spot i usually don't dig at. I think I like my favorite stretch of sand better, but there's no way of knowing if it was more productive there than where we were at.
 

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LOL Jim. Wasn't much pressure then and want to say it didn't get crowded til the late 80s/early 90s.

I make fritters. Seperate digger from body. Way I clean them leaves body and neck in one piece and botterflied open. I use a tenderizer and make the body a tad more pliable. Digger is fine as is. Toss clams into flour then into a beer batter. Fry up in shallow pan and serve. Pretty easy. Beer batter is 1 part beer to 1 part flour. If you can get some Pride of the West its a great multi purpose frying flour. Fry between 325 and 350 degrees.
 

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LOL Jim. Wasn't much pressure then and want to say it didn't get crowded til the late 80s/early 90s.

I make fritters. Seperate digger from body. Way I clean them leaves body and neck in one piece and botterflied open. I use a tenderizer and make the body a tad more pliable. Digger is fine as is. Toss clams into flour then into a beer batter. Fry up in shallow pan and serve. Pretty easy. Beer batter is 1 part beer to 1 part flour. If you can get some Pride of the West its a great multi purpose frying flour. Fry between 325 and 350 degrees.
 
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