30 September 2018

Interesting clam-digging tool

Are these "clam gun" pipes new? It's been decades since I was involved in any clam-digging, but all I remember from that era were conventional shovels and frustrating chases after clams that were deep and disappeared quickly.


  1. I don't know anything about hunting clams and couldn't say if this is new. The concept of it reminds me that techniques change, improve, and become more efficient. This appears to be recreational and likely has little impact on the clam population giving me no real pause. In other areas, most notably fishing, many have argued as a justification for continuing and improving their efficiency that "my family has done this for generations." Hearing that often causes me to wonder if your great-grandfather would recognize what you're doing.

    This is not to say that I believe we should go back to older less effective/efficient methods. It astonishes me to no end how quickly we can land in the realm of "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

  2. Washingtonian here. Tube guns have been around for razor clams at least 50 years or so if I remember correctly. There's actually a healthy debate about whether you can call a tube a "gun" since the term originally applied to special shovels designed for the purpose. True Temper made the top end model for about 50 years up until the 80s, and they're now considered prized relics for their design and sturdiness. Old timers will get on your case about it. But now most people call the tubes guns.

    There was an interesting book on the history of razor clams in the PNW released a couple years ago, 'Razor Clams - Buried Treasure of the Pacific Northwest': http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/BERRAZ.html

    1. Excellent. For me one of the joys of blogging is discovering the amazingly varied knowledge and experiences of the lurking readers of TYWKIWDBI.

    2. We have both tubes and shovels, and I find, depending on conditions, one is usually better that the other. In wet sand on a receding tide shovels are far superior (IF you know how to use them right. Digging from the right angle without smashing your clams to bits), but in dry late-tide sand tubes tend to be better. But in the surf itself I find tubes are better, as you can spot the clam by the V it makes, pull a core with the tube, then dump it into your hand and feel for the clam, rinsing the sand away as the wave recedes.

      And of course when our dog is with us, neither is better as he insists on "helping" us dig.

  3. I used to use a far superior version of these to catch yabbies in Sydney. I cringe a little at the thought since I’ve been an ideological vegetarian for some years now, but the pipes we had were partially pneumatic. There was a hand operated pump at the base, the process of inserting and sucking back out took in total about 1-2 seconds. We would indiscriminately pump the sand and catch yabbies aplenty. This was about 25 years ago (when I was 8 or so)


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