How to catch Razor clams

Low water fishing for Razor clams (or Razorfish) in Jersey

Razor fish

The best way to find Razorfish is to join us on our seabed walks to Icho Tower. We often walk through Razorfish beds on this walk.

Icho Tower walks are listed via the Book now button:

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This is a method of low water fishing that really has excitement and drama like no other. For many, the hunt for Razor clams is their overriding memory of low water fishing and is one of Jersey’s low water traditions.

Years ago many families looking for a way of keeping their children busy would pop down to the beach in search of Razor clams -locally known as Razorfish. Not only were the children kept amused, but they also caught their supper.

Today, very few people head out in search of Razorfish.

Where to find Razor clams or Razorfish

Find an area of sandy shore right down by the low tide line. Usually, tides below 1.5m should be okay. We often find them near Icho Tower and also at the south side of the main channel leading out from La Rocque harbour.

The Icho and Two Towers walks are the best walks to find Razorfish on. Dates of our seabed explorations are listed here.

Best Walk to join to see Razorfish

The best walk to join to see Razorfish is on the Icho Tower walks. We walk through at least one Razorfish bed. Remember to bring a packet of salt. Visit our dates page.

How to catch Razor clams

Armed with a packet of salt (there seems to be no correlation between sea salt or rock salt) and start searching for some small keyhole like shapes in the sand. A clue that you are in a Razorfish area is when you see fountains of water erupting for the sans as you walk across.

Keep your shadow away for the keyhole and pour some salt into the hole. They wait. With luck, you should catch a Razor clam.

An advantage of involving the children in the task is that they can be ’employed’ to do the back-breaking task of bending down to gather the Razorfish!

Razor clams appear in various recipes so it’s worth gathering a few to try cooking at home.

The small top of the Razor clam that falls off as the clam comes out of its burrow appears to be a sacrificial offering to any predictor the clam things is attacking it.

In case you do not believe this, here is the video:

How to eat Razor clams

The tastiest part is the foot (when extended for the shell it looks a bit like a ‘willy’). Most people do not eat the black stomach. The Razor clam is cooked when it loses its translucent appearance. Try lightly grilling or barbecued Razor clams with a little lemon juice.

Responsible Razor fishing

If you plan to eat Razor clams only take what you need. If you are just curious to try out this old method of razor fishing please do this in moderation to avoid damaging the stocks.

Razor clams can live for around 20 years and are a very good indicator of a rich a diverse marine environment. If you are looking for one indicator of a vibrant intertidal zone look out for the telltale fountains of Razor clams.

Around Jersey the minimum size is 10.cm. Only gather when there is a letter “r” in the month.

Razorfish, Razor Clams, Baitfish or Spoots?

The name you use seems to depend on where you come from. In Jersey, we call them Razorfish. North Americans refer to them as Razor clams while people from the Northeast of England know them as baitfish because they were sued as fish bait. Some Scottish people know them as Spoots which is probably because of the way the water spurts up to a metre high (try saying spurt with a Scottish accent and you’ll know why they say Spoots!

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