High tide, or high water, is when clams are free from the attention of predators. That includes humans in search of a tasty bivalve dinner. Humans like me.
In “the good old days” on the Washington coast, razor clams were plentiful. The season ran for months, and digging was allowed on any minus tide. Nobody worried about parts per million of demoic acid, you didn’t need a license, and the limit was 32.
These days, you need a license, the limit is 15, and the department of fisheries severely restricts the number of days digging is allowed. On average, the clammer gets only three opportunities per month, with digging allowed only on the “p.m. tides” in the fall and winter. That means, particularly after the return to standard time, clammers will need to carry lanterns.
Last weekend was the first “clam tide” of the season. It’s still daylight savings time, so there was small window of opportunity to dig before dark. I bought a license and looked forward to enjoying a plate of yummy fried clams.
Mother Nature had other ideas; she was obviously in cahoots with the clams. It rained most of the weekend, the sky was dark most of the day, the surf pounded the clams deeper into the sand, and to make a long story short, after an hour on the beach I came home soaked to the skin and empty-handed.
The good news is, I didn’t have to spend the rest of my evening cleaning clams, my clothes dryer works just fine, and the Chinese restaurant was still open. I was as happy as… Well, you know the rest.