Foraging the sea for food

One of the pulls to moving by the sea for Josh was fishing. As we wait for salmon season to open, we’ve been playing around with the crab trap. Honestly, as great as this Dungeness Crab looks, so far we haven’t had much luck.

We learned that without a boat, crabbing becomes challenging. Without a boat, you are left to try your luck at perhaps one of three docks and if you aren’t willing to hang out with the trap all day, there is a high likelihood that someone will nab your crab, if not your whole trap.

But today when Josh retrieved his trap from the Clinton pier, he found success. After throwing back the females and the rock crab that were too small, two tasty Dungeness crab remained. They became lunch. A very tasty lunch.

This wasn’t our first foraging experience. A few weeks back, we tried our hand at clamming off of Zylstra beach off Penn Cove. It was Father’s Day and was packed with people from the mainland.

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Clamming on Penn Cove.

Unlike crabbing, scavenging across the beach was a little overwhelming. There were choices. Did we want to hang out for 30 minutes and forage for Penn Cove mussels or search for clam breathing holes and dig until we found them. We chose the latter, primarily because these wild mussels looked much more difficult to clean than simply removing the beards off of the store bought variety.

Clamming is serious business and the Fish and Wildlife Rangers don’t mess around. We thought we were prepared with license in hand, a clam bag for each of us (so we can keep accurate count), but we were busted when the ranger noticed we didn’t have a measuring tool. I explained how I was measuring the clam by using my pinky finger, buimg_2847t that apparently isn’t acceptable. We only had one clam that was a fraction too small, so she was kind and let us go with a warning.

We focused on foraging for the large butter clams because they would keep us out of trouble until we had a proper ruler. As we began to prepare dinner, we realized seeking the butter clams may not have been the best plan. They are rather large and meaty, but not as tasty as the smaller cockles or little neck clams.

At the end of the day, our meal wasn’t horrible, but we chalked it up to a tasty learning experience.

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