I hope you have been enjoying the unseasonably warm and sunny days and using them to your advantage like we have. Ocean conditions have been good, fishing hot, crabbing also good, and clamming excellent as always.
As far as the ocean goes the ling bite is still amazing but the rockfish isn’t quite at the same level. Now don’t get me wrong it’s still awesome overall but compared to last year it feels slow but there is an exception; bay fishing has never been hotter and I have literally caught hundreds of rockfish in the past week or so. Yes, I said hundreds and you can stop rolling your eyes in disbelief. From the jetties or out of a boat we have been catching so many rockfish that I now carry a little hand clicky thing that keeps track of the numbers and we consider 50 to 60 fish days really slow. Next week we will talk about tactics and areas and get into more detail but today I want to talk about clams because while there is no “season” per se this is the time of year that we see increasing interest in this outdoor activity.
Basin Tackle puts on free clinics all year long and teach hundreds of people how to collect, cook, and clean these marvels of the mud. We get so much interest that we now have clam-class dates for the whole season posted in advance and a sign up area on our new web-page! In addition to this I will be teaching claminars (clam seminars) at the upcoming Roseburg and Medford Sportsmen’s shows! And yes you can teach clamming in a classroom but we recommend following up with us on the mud flats.
My favorite of all the clams is the largest bay clam in Oregon, the Gaper clam. Also known as an Empire or Horsneck these clams grow to 6 inches in length and with a daily limit of twelve that translates to a lot of good eating. Gapers prefer a sandy or muddy habitat which makes for easy digging. The problem is that they live deep, real deep; often 8 to 18 inches but I assure you that they are worth the effort. Even though these critters are some of the nastiest looking animals on the coast once they are cleaned and cooked their delicious white meat lend themselves well to chowder, gumbo, clam strips, fritters, and whatever else you can dream up.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Gaper clam is not the clam itself, but rather the tiny little tenants it houses inside. Most Gaper clams, and every one that I’ve dug up, has a pair of tiny little Pea Crabs residing within. The female Pea Crab is the larger of the pair and remains inside the Gaper sheltered by the clam itself. The male Pea Crab comes and goes at will, presumably to watch football at the local Pea Crab sports bar and hand out with friends.
There are almost as many ways to dig a Gaper as there are clam diggers. Some of the techniques include clam shovels, garden spades, garden trowels, five gallon buckets with the bottoms cut out, and many more, but the most common is just grabbing a shovel and “getting at it”. The official Basin Tackle method is using a clam-pump and we are converting the clamming public slowly but surely away from shovels. We find it relatively quick and easy and it leaves a minimal “footprint” in their habitat. If you are interested come and see us at the sports shows or sign up for a class.
Rob Gensorek is the owner of Basin Tackle www.basintackle.com in the Charleston Marina and can be reached by phone at 541-888-FISH, by Facebook at Basin Tackle Charleston, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Robs fishing reports can be heard daily at 6:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. on KRSB Best Country 103 out of Roseburg and his Basin Tackle Outdoor Show can be heard Wednesdays at 3 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 a.m. at kwro.com. In addition to all this he sometimes actually gets out and catches a fish or two.