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How to catch Razor clams

November 10th, 2012

Low water fishing for Razor clams (or Razor fish) in Jersey

This is a method of low water fishing that really has an excitement and drama like no other. For many the hunt for Razor clams is their overriding memory of low water fishing.

This is one of Jersey’s low water traditions. Years ago many families looking for a way of keeping their children busy would pop down to the beach in search of Razor clams -locally known as Razor fish. Not only were the children kept amused, they also caught their supper.

Today few people head out in search of Razor clams.

Where to find Razor clams or Razor fish

Find an area of sandy shore right down by the low tide line. Usually tides below 1.5m should be okay.

How to catch Razor clams

Armed with a packet of salt (there seems to be no correlation between sea salt or rock salt) start searching for small key hole like shapes in the sand. A clue that you are in a Razor fish area is when you see fountains of water erupting for the sans as you walk across.

Keep you shadow away for the key hole and pour some salt into the hole. They wait. With luck you should catch a Razor clam.

An advantage of involving the children in the task is that they can be ‘employed’ to do the back breaking task of bending down to gather the Razor fish!

Razor clams appear in various recipes so it’s worth gathering a few to try cooking at home.

The small top of the Razor clam that falls off as the the clam comes out of its burrow appears to be a sacrificial offering to any predictor the clam things is attacking it.

In case you do not believe this, here is the video:

How to eat Razor clams

The tastiest part is the foot (when extended for the shell it looks a bit like a ‘willy’). Most people do not eat the black stomach. The Razor clam is cooked when it loses its translucent appearance. Try lightly grilling or barbecued Razor clams with a little lemon juice.

Responsible Razor fishing

If you plan to eat Razor clams only take what you need. If you are just curious to try out this old method of razor fishing please do this in moderation to avoid damaging the stocks.

Razor clams can live for around 20 years and are a very good indicator of a rich a diverse marine environment. If you are looking for one indicator of a vibrant intertidal zone look out for the tell tale fountains of Razor clams.

Around Jersey the minimum size is 10.cm. Only gather when there is a letter “r” in the month.

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