Clamming in Long Beach

by Adam Sawyer | Photo © Long Beach Peninsula Visitor’s Bureau

Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula isn’t a secret. The famously long stretch of sand and its surrounding area is a choice destination for a multitude of recreational activities. But at certain times of the year an undisputed king is crowned. When the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife gives the green light, eager throngs make for the tides. It’s time to go razor clamming.

Razor clamming is an experience all its own. And the catching is as satisfying as the consumption. It requires gear that can be readily purchased or rented from an outfitter—waterproof boots, a bucket and a shovel or clam gun. Clam guns are tubes made of plastic or metal with a handle and a small air vent on the closed end. Head out at low tide, locate a “show” or depression in the sand, sink your gun into the sand over the “show” and pull up a tube full of beach. If the fates are in your favor, a clam will be hiding somewhere in your cylindrical sand sample. With luck you’ll reach your limit. When the dig is over, the scene will be a potholed beachscape, but all will be made right again with the encroaching tide.

Next, it’s time to clean and prepare the day’s catch, something seasoned clammers thoroughly enjoy passing on to new blood. All of this is followed by the inevitable, friendly debate over how dinner will be served.

One aspect of clamming that makes it so popular (besides the delectable taste and versatility of the razor clam) is that anyone capable of getting to the beach can participate. Looking down the sand you’ll see families, couples and friends stretching across generations, all there with a common purpose: the coveted catch.

Recipe
Razor Clam Fritters
Courtesy of Randy Dennis, organizer of the
Long Beach Razor Clam Festival.
Serves 4 as a light entree, or 6-8 as a starter.

Ingredients
2 cups ground clams
6 slices cooked bacon, cooled and crumbled
1 tsp. seafood seasoning (such as Pike Place Fish Northwest Seafood Seasoning)
1 tsp. celery salt
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
2 beaten eggs
4 Tbsp. flour
2 cups Panko crumbs
Canola oil for pan frying

Directions
Mix all ingredients together. If the mixture drops loosely from the spoon, add more crumbs. Bring pan to medium heat, coat with canola oil. Place spoonfuls of mixture into the pan and flatten with a spatula. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Do not overcook. Serve with lemon and tartar sauce.

The Details:
>> This year, the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival takes place April 19-20: longbeachrazorclamfestival.com
>> Learn how to clean and prepare your catch at the Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife website: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/clean_prepare.html
>> For more information about visiting Long Beach Peninsula, go to funbeach.com