Goose Hummock stocks and recommends the R.A Ribb Line Up of recreational clamming rakes.Their expert workmanship and quality materials make this equipment that is built to last and perform.
9 Tooth Recreational Rake
The first recreational basket rake we offered, and still our best seller! Versatile in sand, mud, or rocks, this rake has a generous basket capacity and is used by recreational and commercial shell fishermen not only for quahogs but also for oysters. A good general purpose rake.
Turtleback Basket Scratcher
A basket rake that digs with the ease of a scratcher! Light-weight, efficient, and becoming more and more popular every year, the turtleback is a favorite of recreational and commercial shell fishermen alike. Also makes a great family rake, small enough for kids and adults with limited stamina.
A time tested classic that has been a popular favorite for over 30 years. Works the bottom like a hot knife through butter. Sensitive, long tines that "sing", meaning they carry a slight vibration from the rake head up the handle. With a little practice, the user can feel the difference between a quahog and a rock just by scratching the surface.
The Chatham Scratcher, named after the town that loved it first, is also great for dry digging, and as a short handle rake.
Recreational clam digging on Cape Cod is a fun family activity that offers the added benefit of a tasty meal as a reward for your efforts! The Cape is renowned for its abundance of hard shell (quahogs), soft shell (steamers), oysters and razor clams. Recreational clam digging, in comparison to fishing, requires relatively little gear to be able to successfully harvest a legal limit. Here is what you will need to get started:
1)A permit from the town in which you will be clamming
Permits can be secured at the town hall of the location you wish to clam. Fees and regulations vary by the town. When you pay for your permit, you will be given a copy of the town regulations and likely a map or list of open areas in that town. Follow these regulations carefully...a run in with the shellfish warden over an infraction is likely not the happiest ending to a good days clamming! Most towns maintain and update their websites with all the information you will need regarding permitting and regulations.
2)Boots/ Waders /Hip Boots:
Depending on which body of water you choose to clam, the footwear you require will vary by the prevailing conditions found in the bodies of water open to recreational clamming.
In towns that offer long expanses of very low water (flats) with easy access, rubber boots or aqua-socks will suffice during the summer months. No matter the warmth of the water, some type of protective footwear should be worn to protect against the broken shells that can be prevalent in areas that clams like to live. Knee high rubber boots offer great protection from mucky bottoms.
In some towns, the best spots to clam have deeper water-even at dead low tide.
In these areas, it would be wise and much more comfortable to wear hip boots or even chest waders.
For hard shell clamming, having a pair of waders will greatly increase the time you spend clamming, as you can continue to dig with a basket rake almost to high tide in some locations. There are very few, if any waders / hip boots that will withstand consistent kneeling on clam shells or rough bottom...so use care.
Be wary of cheap imitations! Both the environment and activity can put a tremendous stress on the rake. If you buy a cheap one, it will rust out almost immediately and rake teeth will be prone to breakage. With our decades of experience at the Goose, we choose not to stock cheap rakes due to the high incidence of breakage and warranty. Used as intended, all rakes eventually wear out...The rakes we do stock, however, R.A. Ribbs Rakes, have long track records of durability and reliability.
On the exposed sand flats, digging for soft-shelled clams is usually done with a short handled clam rake or a spading fork with its short handle bent perpendicularly away from the fork's head. A digger typically uses the rake by digging down into the mud, clay, or sand and then pull it up and towards him/herself. This digging action, done in close proximity to the tell tale siphon holes of the clams, opens up the soil to expose the clams. The digger then gently removes the clam by hand .
Recreational clamming for the larger surf and quahog clams (soup clams) is primarily done with a basket style rake.
The head of these rakes have long tines attached to a "basket-like" cage in which the clams are collected as the digger rakes through the sand or mud. There is a tell tale sound/ vibration produced when the rake tines run across the shell of a quahog.
4) Legal Limit Basket and clam gauge
Most towns on the Cape use the 10 quart wire basket as their legal limit and recognize the size limits of the commercially available clam gauge. To meet the legal size limit, a clam must be large enough to not be able to pass through the opening in the gauge.
In most cases, a legal soft shell will not pass through the gauge lengthwise(2 inch), while a legal hard shell will not pass through the gauge width wise(1 inch).
Most towns have strict regulations on how sub legal size clams must be returned to the water...In most towns, when the air temperature goes below freezing, clamming is not allowed...be sure to follow these regulations to help insure the future of this abundant Cape fishery.
Goose Hummock does not sell clamming licenses!!! To secure your license, visit the Town Hall in the town you wish to do your clamming.
Each town has its own shellfishing permits...
Foam Basket Float $14.99
10 quart Clam Basket $34.99
Zing Clam Gauge $6.99
Other Clamming Gear
It may sound strange, but sometimes you just get tired of going to the beach and sunning all day. If this is true for your family and you are looking for something to do, clamming on Cape Cod is a great, fun activity the whole family will enjoy. With very little investment in a license, a rake and a basket and you can be scratching up dinner yourself!
Sandy 4 Clam Fork
This rake is a Cape Cod favorite. Perfect for digging up steamers and razor clams in the deep deep muck. Simple push the long tines into the mud and turn a big pile and start sifting.
Known by many names, depending on their size, the hard shelled quahogs (righjt) can be
refereed to as Little Necks (above)
or Cherry Stones. They are
great opened and eaten raw
or steamed and splashed
with a little white wine,
tomato, basil and garlic for
a great Clams Provençale.
Steamers, or soft shelled clams, are dug with a clam fork
for they tend to bury
themselves deeper then
quahogs. They are more
fragile and the clam fork allows you to turn large clumps of mud to sift thru and find the bounty.