during times when money might be tight.
On a gorgeous sunny July day, the kids bailed with my wife for greener pastures while we were at Avon by the Sea, located right across from Belmar at Shark River Inlet. So at the last minute I then recruited grandma and my aunt, both 70 years young to do a little clam raking with me.
After 2 hours of fun-work at this location we boxed 80 tasty shellfish. We then walked over to the ocean side, put up an umbrella and blanket and had lunch. What a beautiful park and it couldn't have went any better and I will pass along some thoughts for everyone who wishes to do their own raking.
It is a not well known even among shoreline fishermen, but a great local resource is right along the shoreline and better yet it requires little money to get started and more importantly, enjoy.
I should point out that after you buy your equipment, a day such as this could cost as little as a few dollars just to drive over to a location such as Avon. For a layout of $6 dollars in total for the 3 of us to park with the beach access being free - which for the New Jersey shore during the summer is a treat. You do need a license and my license was $10 with the 2 senior ladies paying $2 dollars for lifetime licensees. This is a pittance to pay for a day on the water here in New Jersey in self-harvesting the freshest shellfish for yourself and family to eat.
Now to the equipment you need, and it is extremely simple to find and pick up at a well-stocked tackle shop with buying one, two or three high quality rakes. This is the only equipment you need in purchasing in "half basket rakes" to get started.
This is normally a onetime purchase and I chose one of the most respected names in clam raking equipment, K.B. WHITE of MARBLEHEAD, MA. - https://kbwhiteco.com/ - As you can see from their website, this is not only high quality and what should be in many years to be expected in long lasting clamming equipment.
I also will suggest, and to make it much easier to hold nature’s bounty as you rake during the day is to spend a bare few dollars to make-up this plastic floating carrying basket. You will see some people who use a blowup donut-float in which they then place a holding basket in the center, but my choice works just as well.
Anyone can go to Wal-Mart and easily find these accessories and put them to together in a bare few minutes. Don't forget to pick up a small packet of the longer plastic zip-ties to secure the foam to the lip of the laundry basket, and then add the cord which you tie around your waste. At the end you attach to your body, and for those who want to get a little fancy is to add a loop with a stainless or high quality plastic quick release clip. This setup is a pleasure to use as you rake with this collection basket, and you're all set to go about your clam raking.
A little tip here that some take for granted or sometimes forget when you go out for a day of clamming is to also bring along and keep in the car a quality cooler with ice. Remember that you are raking up shellfish, and that you must keep them chilled once you remove them out of the water. This normally is your only other day-trip clamming expense in picking up a few sleeves of ice to store in the cooler for when you finish up raking for the day.
After you make your collection of clams in the water, bring them over to your ice cooler and set them in between the ice. If you are going to have some clams at the beach, you should bring along a quality skimmer opening knife to sample what you have raked up. For those who are looking to jazz-up their clams on the half shell, bring along some fresh lemons and a really good cocktail sauce and literally "have it."
How can you beat this for shoreline summer fun where you can take home the freshest and most delicious clams, and it will cost only a few dollars for each trip to the beach?