Gulf Coast Fisherman Magazine VOL 40 No 2 SPRING 2016 - Page 28

by John H. Hook The Bay Naturalist C CLAM TIDES lamming is a big deal along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, but getting clam chowder along the Gulf pretty much means opening a can. It’s not that clams aren’t here though. We have quahogs, razors, and all manner of smaller clams right down to the diminutive but very tasty bean clam. So, why aren’t we slogging through the mud with clam rakes and buckets chasing fried clam strips and the best chowder south of the Chesapeake? One of the reasons could be that Gulf Coast fishermen fill their quota of mud time while wading for reds and trout. The idea that you would spend more time out there for a few clams and then have the fun of cleaning and shucking might just be more adventure than we need. There is also the problem of clams being more spread out. Clams in the Northeast are clustered around river mouths where the salinity meets their requirements. Their southern cousins aren’t nearly as picky about how salty the water is and will spread out across both bay and surf wherever there is a muddy enough bottom to suit them. In Texas you can’t use any tools to help you gather your clams, so mano a mano in the mud is enough to make most of us say “No mas” before we even get started. And then there is the tide. Tides along both northern coasts have highs and lows that don’t kid around. The tides range from 8 to 12 feet or more, twice a d ^HHH[ۜ