Basswiper

Surf Clams.

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One topic I would like to look into more and get a better understanding of, is the surf clam. I wanted to come here first.

 

I remember seeing something about how far out the clammers have to go now? They used to be in close and are now going further and further offshore for them? Excuse my ignorance as I know zero about this. Can anyone chime in and give some history about the surf clam and/or its relation to the fishing on the surf? If it's true that the surf clam or beds are no longer present, in general, wouldnt that be a huge reason as to why the fish, mainly bait(besides sand eels) dont need to come in close and hang around? Habitat is still number 1 only IMO but I remember after a NE if you put on clam it was one of the times you could get bigger fish on them versus it being considered a numbers bait. Heck, I used to walk the shoreline, look for whole and busted up clams then fish right there and get into them good. I havnt noticed this in a while, although I havnt fished as much in recent years.

 

I saw it mentioned one time(not sure if it was here on SOL) but when these topics come up, I rarely see anyone talk about it. Can someone with more knowledge on the subject fill me(us) in?

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Been fishing surf north of Barnegat bay since mid 80’s. After storms beach used to be littered with whole surf clams and broken up clams. It would draw stripers into wash even in chocolate colored water. Could catch many fish on chartreuse plugs and teasers. 
 

no longer see any clams. Can’t say if clammer pressure or dredging.

 

noaa gives fish and game surfclam funding. Check with fish and game they should be able to provide info. I will Also check in with contact

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Replenishment has killed countless numbers of surf clams in addition to obliterating fragile marine habitats which were crucial to the entire ecosystem of the ocean. But who gives a ****? It's just Dirty Jersey after all.

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2 hours ago, MitchellNJ said:

Replenishment has killed countless numbers of surf clams in addition to obliterating fragile marine habitats which were crucial to the entire ecosystem of the ocean. But who gives a ****? It's just Dirty Jersey after all.

This

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They should make the people who do the beach replenishment plant clams after they are done with the section of beach they fill in. I honestly think this is why there are fewer bigger fish in surf. There is no reliable food source.  

I was reading something the other day saying there are plenty of surf clams passed the 3 mile mark. Seems like there a lot of bass out there the past few years.

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3 hours ago, marcq said:

They should make the people who do the beach replenishment plant clams after they are done with the section of beach they fill in. I honestly think this is why there are fewer bigger fish in surf. There is no reliable food source.  

I was reading something the other day saying there are plenty of surf clams passed the 3 mile mark. Seems like there a lot of bass out there the past few years.

Good idea, but as soon as a clam bed or anything else for that matter would be getting hold.....along comes the barge and 800000000 tons of sand (sludge} again.

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Surf clams used to be so thick after a Noreaster they would be busting up your ankles as the waves sloshed them up and down the beach. I've seen them, literally, a foot thick near the gates in Spring Lake 20 years ago. Clams on top of clams on top of clams. A few days in the hot sun and the beach would stink like a tackle shop dumpster :eek: 

 

There's no doubt in my mind that beach replenishment destroyed the surf clams...filter feeders can't survive being buried under 20 feet of muck and mud. I want to see the environmental impact study that had to be done before they started the whole replenishment nonsense in the 90's...complete and utter nonsense what they've done to the coast locally.

 

TimS

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Interesting development in Cape May they did a study on the frequent neck injuries occurring on the beach. And attributed it to the beach replenishment :idea: causing scarping at the waters edge. So they are looking beyond replenishment to resolve the issue. Realizing the Cold Spring inlet is blocking the natural progression of the sand causing large beaches in Wildwood and deprived beaches in Cape May.  One discussion on the table is to remove center portions of the Cold Spring to allow the sand to flow through. 

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National Fisherman reporting that Mid-Atlantic assessments of surfclam indicates ocean temps factor in clams found much further east and north. Canada controls mich bigger share of market now. 
 

overfishing a problem but our fisheries are moving north and east. This year more Spanish and king mackerel in our waters. Speckled trout more prevalent in s Jersey. Fluke and sea bass fisheries moving north. 

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3 hours ago, TimS said:

Surf clams used to be so thick after a Noreaster they would be busting up your ankles as the waves sloshed them up and down the beach. I've seen them, literally, a foot thick near the gates in Spring Lake 20 years ago. Clams on top of clams on top of clams. A few days in the hot sun and the beach would stink like a tackle shop dumpster :eek: 

 

There's no doubt in my mind that beach replenishment destroyed the surf clams...filter feeders can't survive being buried under 20 feet of muck and mud. I want to see the environmental impact study that had to be done before they started the whole replenishment nonsense in the 90's...complete and utter nonsense what they've done to the coast locally.

 

TimS

+1. When I used to fish with clams back then, if we ran out we would wade out to a sandbar,  and dig down by hand.  Clams as deep as you could reach. Right up to your shoulder. Big lively buggers. As many as you could carry. No more. Damn shame. I think they actually helped hold the sandbar together. Also our sand is made up of ,in part , pulverized shells. Can’t help taking that out of the equation when it comes to loss of real estate on the beach.  

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22 mins ago, Potato Caboose said:

 

National Fisherman reporting that Mid-Atlantic assessments of surfclam indicates ocean temps factor in clams found much further east and north. Canada controls mich bigger share of market now. 

I’d like to see how much has the average temperature in the surf of the Jersey coast gone up in the past 20 years? I’d bet a quarter it’s very close to zero. I can tell you for absolute certain that the commercial surf clam operations started over harvesting a long time ago - the clams 20 years ago they sold were bigger than your open hand - now they look like medium sized cherry stones. That’s not a sign of migrating stocks, it’s a sign of over harvesting. Any time a commercial fishing magazine, website or lobbyist starts pointing fingers it’s to distract folks from their over fishing :) 

 

TimS

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I doubt clams migrate but temperatures may not favor spawning and as clams are removed failed spawning could lead to the population not sustaining itself. I m 60 yrs old water temps used to not reach 70’s until august now it’s 3rd week of June. Explain proliferation of king Mack’s within 5 miles of our coast this year. Talked to someone who caught 25 speckled trout couple weeks ago. 
 

who knows what causes it but earth does go thru warming periods.

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When those Spanish Mack’s showed up this year the water was still in the low 60’s. New Jersey has a retired tarpon record. Back in around the 1920 jersey has a great run of bull redfish. Now you only see them in the southern states cause they were killed off. Fish so up in weird places at weird times. Right now water is low 50’s high 40’s water temperature seems right for November.

 

 A chart said surface water temperature has gone up in one degree in the past 80 years. Over harvesting happened, now even if they were to come in the surf zone and inshore they are buried. There hasn’t been a effort to figure out the real issue and no one wants to shut down a industry to help save it in the future. 

 

I like how every article about replenishment uses words like “nourishment”. I understand that the beaches are the main attraction for New Jersey and that’s where they make a lot of tax dollars. The should do what the oyster guys down south do and bring a barge with clams and dump them where the put new sand. Looks easy enough. Probably wouldn’t cost a fraction of the actual replenishment. It’s a long shot but it might work.

 

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