Getting Down & Dirty on the Carolina Coast

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Ever wonder how fishermen catch clams and oysters? Where they live? How to find them?

No? Just me?
Well, alrighty then, as my freshman earth science teacher always used to say. I'm an unapologetic nerd and terminally curious, so of course I had to add clamming and oyster fishing to our "Before we leave North Carolina" bucket list that we've been chipping away at.

I asked a friend of ours, who is a local fisherman, if he would take us out and show us the ropes, and a couple of weeks back, the day before oyster fishing closed for the season, we bundled up and trudged into the then icy water of the Intracoastal Waterway off the shore of Wrightsville Beach. Not knowing what to expect, or how muddy and wet we'd get, I didn't bring a camera to capture our adventure.

Our First Haul: 

So naturally, we simply had to go again a second time and invite friends to join in on the fun, and we couldn't have picked a more beautiful afternoon!

I'd much rather be here, than over there.
 Only the most fashionable clam digging attire for this guy. ;)

You never know what other cool creatures you might find...

Happy Clammers!

We had a great time both trips. Clams are easier to find than I had expected, but be prepared to get down and dirty. We learned that clams prefer some areas over others and exhibit specific signs to watch out for. Once you get the hang of it, you'll fill half of a bucket in no time. 

Along the North Carolina coast, no shellfish license is required. Clams must be 1" thick, and up to 100 can be harvested per person per day. When in season, 1 bushel of oysters can be harvested per person per day, provided they are at least 3" long. Make sure to check with the Division of Marine Fisheries for any changes and a map of open areas. 

There's a very satisfying feeling steaming up oysters you found and clams you dug up with your own two hands. It doesn't get any fresher than this.

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