How to Use a Clam Rake

by Virginia Watson
Clam rakes are easiest to use when the tide is out.

Clam rakes are easiest to use when the tide is out.

Clamming can be done in a variety of ways. Some people use trowels, baskets, dredges and rakes to sift through mud and pull up the tasty shellfish. Additionally, a wide variety of clam rake styles are currently on the market. You can find rakes with attached baskets, as well as varying tine and handle lengths. If you are going clamming, make sure that you have permission to search for shellfish before you do so, as some locations require licenses or permits.

Go to a clamming area at low tide. It's easiest to find clams when the tide is out, as you won't be walking or dragging your rake through a lot of water. Additionally, the water can sweep the clams out of your rake, thus making the entire exercise fruitless. Wear waterproof boots or waders to keep yourself warm and dry.

Search for clams. Tap the mud with your rake or trowel until you hear a clanking sound. Alternately, you can drag your rake through the top layer of the mud until you hit something. Some clammers also like thin soled boots so that they can feel clams through the mud with their feet, which is a style called treading. Other clammers use their hands to search for clams.

Dig out the clams. When you find a clam, push the rake into the mud with the tines angled down. Quickly angle the tines underneath the clam and pull the rake back out towards you. Sort out the clams from any rocks you may have caught, and place them in a bucket.

Wash and store your rake. Rinse off any mud that may have collected on your rake, as it will cake and become increasingly difficult to clean. Store your rake in a protected area outdoors, or a shed or garage, as sea scents can linger on the tines and handle.

Items you will need

  • Bucket
  • Waterproof boots or waders
  • Trowel (optional)

Tip

  • You may miss the clams the first few times you try. They can move surprisingly quickly through mud.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Virginia Watson has been writing and editing professionally since 2004. Her work has appeared in magazines including "The Roanoker Magazine," "Blue Ridge Country," "Pinnacle Living" and the award-winning "Virginia State Travel Guide." Watson holds a Master of Arts in philosophy of education from Virginia Polytechnic and State University.

Photo Credits