Identifying Clam Shows

“You can’t dig a clam you can’t see”… Gene Axt
Razor Clam Shows
Razor Clam Holes
The Razor Clam is found by the depression it leaves in the sand when its neck is withdrawn. On a perfect day, in a perfect surf, with a perfect tide, razor clam shows are easy to find. On rare occasion you can even see their necks sticking out of the surf, this is called “necking.” I’ve seen a large group of clams perfectly necking once in my life. On a typical day, spotting razor clam shows is harder, and this is what separates those that consistently limit, and those whom don’t.

Razor Clam Shows… Art, Science, Sport, which is it?

 Understanding the art, science, and sport dimensions of clamming, along with a little patience, can help increase your catch considerably.

: Some just look for razor clam shows in the sand, others in the surf, and some both. Some pound with sticks, others jump and stomp on the beach. Whatever your approach, you can study the science of identifying clam shows, reviewing the photos here, and then your ready to hit the beach.

The variations in clam shows are as many as the stars in the sky. Shows in soft sand seem to be larger in diameter and can protrude up, or down more in the sand. Clam shows in hard sand are smaller, and protrude up, or down less, if at all. The clam itself; its movement, the weather, the sand, the surf, and other variables — determine what the clam show will actually look like. Some are very, very hard to see, some (in the surf) open and close in seconds, others you can see a mile away. But consistently catching your limit will be based on your ability to spot the former, not the latter.

I’ll use golf as an analogy, but it could be fishing or hunting, the principle in any sport you love is the same. I’m a terrible golfer, but I still love going.
Razor Clam Dimple
Clam Squirting
Why, many would ask? Each golf game I play, I may have one perfect shot and all I can think about for months is that one perfect shot. Most people are terrible golfers, but are addicted to those rare-shot moments that make them memorable; and that feeling is euphoric. I love that! To this day I can remember learning how to razor clam in the surf and seeing my very first show. After months of pounding in the ocean; there it was, just for a few seconds – a show — and it was absolutely beautiful. I was pounding the sand about ten-inches under the water, and this perfect hole opened, about the size of a quarter and then it closed. That was many years ago, and I can still see that clam show today in my mind, as clear as it was then and I still get that same euphoric feeling, just thinking about it.

Is Razor Clamming a sport? You better believe it is! For me it’s just as much fun getting a few as it is catching my limit. It’s the pursuit of that perfect hole, those perfectly necking clams and catching that beautiful Oregon razor clam delicacy, which makes it all a rewarding experience.

Always check to make sure Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) in cooperation with ODFW have collected and tested razor and bay clams for toxins and that the area your clamming is open and safe. accepts no responsibility to the safety of clamming or consumption of bay clams or razor clams. To be safe contact Oregon Department Fish and Wildlife for information on regulations and testing for toxins.