Go To The Homepage
Features
Articles

CLAM, A FIRST-ROUND SELECTION!

Equally effective both by boat and from the surf, the lowly clam is readily available year-round and produces from north to south cross the entire range of the striped bass.
By Jim Hutchinson, Jr.
Tags: inshore

For sports fans, it’s a pretty big weekend to start the month of May! You’ve got the NBA and NHL playoffs, major league baseball, a big ‘pay-per-view’ Mayweather-Pacquia fight on Saturday night, which happens to be the very same day as the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby.

Of course, for diehard football fans – our regional Patriots, Giants, Jets, Eagles, Ravens and Redskins rooters - this is about as big a week as you’ll find until the season kickoff, with the 2015 NFL draft now underway.

I’m sure in terms of first-round bait selections, bunker would certainly earn a top pick, followed closely by eel and then perhaps herring. But when it comes to year-round forage, the one bait available to fish and fishermen every single day of the year - the sure and steady interior lineman of the bunch if you will – has to be the clam, a striper staple throughout the Striper Coast.

IT’S ONLY NATURAL
Outside of Ipswich and Quahog clams more suitable to the dinner plate, the Atlantic surf clams caught commercially for clam strips and canned chowders are ideal bait for inshore anglers. Kick along the sandy beach anywhere from Cape Cod to Cape Henlopen following a good, hard blow and you’ll see the evidence in the wash. When seas are roiling and stripers are tight to the beach, the common surf clam is about the most prevalent bait there is. It stands to reason then that your favorite ripline outside the beach would probably holds a number of linesides keyed in on that very same food stuff!

Outside of Ipswich and Quahog clams more suitable to the dinner plate, the Atlantic surf clams caught commercially for clam strips and canned chowders are ideal bait for inshore anglers.

Anchoring up ahead of a rip, chumming with clam belly (discarded from the commercial processing of the meat for clam strips and chowders) and shell pieces, and tossing back a freshly-baited hook is about as simple as it gets; realizing that this is probably one of the more natural feeding situations for hungry stripers makes it so much more of a simple solution.

The way we’ve been fishing ahead of oceanside whitewater areas for years is by anchoring up well ahead of the danger zone; on falling water, giving an hour of tide on an anticipated rip closer to your transom is not only safer but also allows time to set a chum line. Some folks go so far as to bring along a 10- or 11-foot surf stick to stay well clear of the more treacherous shoals and rips, casting some distance back into the rip by using a simple three-way rig.

If you can score that clam belly byproduct from a local commercial surf clam guy, there are a couple of methods for ooze deployment. If frozen, we’ll use a mason’s hammer to bang out several triangular holes in the side of the frozen bucket to allow the clam to seep out. If you’re able to get a barrel or bucket of fresh clam bellow, a simple ladling effort at anchor will do the trick.

One method my late friend Capt. Mel Boytos used was a bucket with a hole drilled in the bottom, configured with a simple peticock valve which was used to control flow. A nurse, Capt. Mel actually configured an IV drip clamp on this rather simple contraption, running the outflow end of the tube through one of the scuppers to ensure a steady, unimpeded clam drip into the wash to attract stripers.


page  1 2 >

Explore Product Partners: