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Fishing - Massachusetts Massachusetts Fishing Reports and Information from the Plum to the "Race"

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  #1  
Old 12-01-2003, 01:55 PM
ONSHORE ONSHORE is offline
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Well, here we are, December 1st. and opening day for the 2003-2004Dennis Quahog season. Turned out to be nice, about 49 * and a west wind of about 20mph. Not a bad scratchin day, according to my friend Jed. I wouldn't know. The only Quahogs I ever took were from Wingaeshiek Beach on Cape Ann and we just picked them up on the surfline after a nor'easter.

Got my license, clam-guage and a 10 quart metal basket all lined up last night along with Judah Bakers' Quahog rake from the barn in preparation. Then, this morning, a found my neoprene waders (in storage from the move) and tried them on. Phew, they still fit! Low tide is about 12:30 in the Bass River and I got to the Cove Road town landing at 10:30. That would give me a full 4+ hours to scratch up my 10 qt. limit.

Wow! Ten cars plus the shelfish warden's truck in the lot and most everyone knee deep off the entrance to Grand Cove. I suited up and joined the happy throng. After 15 minutes I had taken one Quahog and at least six dozen Quahog-sized rocks. The scratcher to my left suggested I move out of the rock-field and join him. He already had a basket half full to my one lone animal. But that changed quickly and I began to fill my basket too.

Now, as a neophyte clam-scratcher; I learned a couple things fast. Bass river water is a lot colder in December than in July and so is the wind. Fortunately, I was dressed well for it, except for my hands. Next, I realized Judas's clam-rake was only about half the size of anyone else's scratching tool. Obviously, Quahogs were much more plentiful in Judas's day than they are today. The last thing I learned is that a 10-Qt. Pail half full of Quahogs does not float and you can't see it in two feet of water once 20 scratchers begin to work the clam beds. Fortunately, I had read somewhere to attach a bright colored float to it and had done so.

By low tide, I had about 9 quarts. Mostly chowders but enough Cherrystones for an appetizer tonight. The chowders I'll stuff and bake; some for dinner tonight and some to freeze for later. Not bad for a Gloucester boys' first Quahog safari. I'll say one thing; scratching Quahogs is a lot more fun and less work than raking Softshells from any of the Essex County beds.

Met a couple of character's on the flats too. Ned and Neddy were off to my right and Neddy had his Quahog hound Raker with him. The dog looked like a cross between a Chesapeake and a Wolfehound. It swam circles around Neddy and whenever he dropped a clam that missed his basket; the dog dove for it and kept it up till he got it. When my hat blew off, Raker swam out about 20 yards and retrieved it. I thought that was a neat trick until I tried to get him to surrender it. Fortunately, Neddy persuaded him to give it up cause my shellfish license was attached to it.

So ends my first day a'scratchin on the Bass River flats. One can scratch for Quahogs on Monday's or Saturdays, but can only go one-day-per-week and the weekly limit is 10 quarts. Now I can't go again till next week; and I'm already looking forward to it. Next time I'll have rubber gloves, a donut float for my basket but probably won't go to a bigger rake. I kinda like using a 100+ year old tool and it does the job. Clam scratchin doesn't hold a candle to the Cape's Stripers or Bluefish; but it's a good coldweather pastime. Neddy told me he's been getting flounder over to Swan River, so I'll have to give that a try next.

BillH
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2003, 01:55 PM
ONSHORE ONSHORE is offline
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Well, here we are, December 1st. and opening day for the 2003-2004Dennis Quahog season. Turned out to be nice, about 49 * and a west wind of about 20mph. Not a bad scratchin day, according to my friend Jed. I wouldn't know. The only Quahogs I ever took were from Wingaeshiek Beach on Cape Ann and we just picked them up on the surfline after a nor'easter.

Got my license, clam-guage and a 10 quart metal basket all lined up last night along with Judah Bakers' Quahog rake from the barn in preparation. Then, this morning, a found my neoprene waders (in storage from the move) and tried them on. Phew, they still fit! Low tide is about 12:30 in the Bass River and I got to the Cove Road town landing at 10:30. That would give me a full 4+ hours to scratch up my 10 qt. limit.

Wow! Ten cars plus the shelfish warden's truck in the lot and most everyone knee deep off the entrance to Grand Cove. I suited up and joined the happy throng. After 15 minutes I had taken one Quahog and at least six dozen Quahog-sized rocks. The scratcher to my left suggested I move out of the rock-field and join him. He already had a basket half full to my one lone animal. But that changed quickly and I began to fill my basket too.

Now, as a neophyte clam-scratcher; I learned a couple things fast. Bass river water is a lot colder in December than in July and so is the wind. Fortunately, I was dressed well for it, except for my hands. Next, I realized Judas's clam-rake was only about half the size of anyone else's scratching tool. Obviously, Quahogs were much more plentiful in Judas's day than they are today. The last thing I learned is that a 10-Qt. Pail half full of Quahogs does not float and you can't see it in two feet of water once 20 scratchers begin to work the clam beds. Fortunately, I had read somewhere to attach a bright colored float to it and had done so.

By low tide, I had about 9 quarts. Mostly chowders but enough Cherrystones for an appetizer tonight. The chowders I'll stuff and bake; some for dinner tonight and some to freeze for later. Not bad for a Gloucester boys' first Quahog safari. I'll say one thing; scratching Quahogs is a lot more fun and less work than raking Softshells from any of the Essex County beds.

Met a couple of character's on the flats too. Ned and Neddy were off to my right and Neddy had his Quahog hound Raker with him. The dog looked like a cross between a Chesapeake and a Wolfehound. It swam circles around Neddy and whenever he dropped a clam that missed his basket; the dog dove for it and kept it up till he got it. When my hat blew off, Raker swam out about 20 yards and retrieved it. I thought that was a neat trick until I tried to get him to surrender it. Fortunately, Neddy persuaded him to give it up cause my shellfish license was attached to it.

So ends my first day a'scratchin on the Bass River flats. One can scratch for Quahogs on Monday's or Saturdays, but can only go one-day-per-week and the weekly limit is 10 quarts. Now I can't go again till next week; and I'm already looking forward to it. Next time I'll have rubber gloves, a donut float for my basket but probably won't go to a bigger rake. I kinda like using a 100+ year old tool and it does the job. Clam scratchin doesn't hold a candle to the Cape's Stripers or Bluefish; but it's a good coldweather pastime. Neddy told me he's been getting flounder over to Swan River, so I'll have to give that a try next.

BillH
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2003, 06:15 PM
scoobe scoobe is offline
 
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Ah Bill, you had to throw in another tease about flounder eh?

Lookin for my big'un!
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Old 12-02-2003, 11:17 AM
ONSHORE ONSHORE is offline
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When N'Star crapped out last night; I had just put 18 Stuffed Quahogs in the oven and added the 'hogs to my chowdah.

At nine o'clock my stuffed clams were done and at 10 PM, the chowdah was done and I had polished off 6 of the stuffed ones. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

BillH
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2003, 07:45 AM
ONSHORE ONSHORE is offline
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Here's results of a good days' raking........
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  #6  
Old 12-30-2003, 10:32 PM
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if only I could grab one of those off that table..nothing better than a freshly raked clam and a nice cold beer
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  #7  
Old 01-26-2004, 08:52 AM
Striperman2 Striperman2 is offline
 
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Thats for sure. Quahogin does pass the time in the winter. Thank god there allways around.
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  #8  
Old 01-27-2004, 09:19 PM
Backbeach Jake Backbeach Jake is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ONSHORE:
Here's results of a good days' raking........<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
You sure set a pretty nice looking table there......drooooool

don't forget, it's supposed to be a day on the beach
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