How To Dive For Pismo Clams.

How To Dive For Pismo Clams.


to dive for pismo clams first you need to
dive. Search the sandy bottom for the tell-tale siphon or hydroid plume
and dig up the shallowly buried clam. here you can see the typical double
siphon of a pismo clam the Pismo clam Tivela stultorum is
known for its large size and delicate flavor. Some exceed six inches in length.
To find them you should search for broad sandy beach exposed to strong surf. They
range from Half Moon Bay California to bahia magdalena baja california and from the
low intertidal zone offshore to 80 feet deep. To locate them you can look for the
double siphon or the tuft of hair that can be seen above the sand. The hair is
another animal hydroid named Clytia bakeri. Pismo clams orient vertically
in the sand with the hinge and exhalant siphon facing the ocean. If disturbed
they can rapidly rebury by jetting water from the anterior end of the shell while
the foot digs in and the weight of the shell helps bring the clam deeper. They feed on plankton and minute detritus a 3-inch clam can filter 16
gallons of water daily. Growth is continuous throughout life with some
slowing in the winter. They grow 0.8 inches per year for the first three
years and it takes four to six years for them to reach four and a half inches, it
takes them 20 years to reach six inches some very large clams could be 43 to 50
years old so if you find a decent clam bed you may want to keep it a secret. From
1916 to 1947 50,000 clams per year were
harvested by commercial diggers and a record year 1918, 350,000
clams were taken most of these from Pismo Beach and Morro Bay. In 1949 when
previously closed beaches open to sport fishermen 50,000 clams were
taken daily for two-and-a-half months. In 1973 21 legal clams were taken at Pismo Beach. Currently on the Central Coast the sea otter is the primary consumer of
these delectable shellfish it’s difficult to find any legal sized
clams. As of 2014 the regulations for harvesting them are limited fishing hours from one half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Spades,
shovels, hoes, rakes, or other hand tools may be used but spears and gaff hooks are illegal. Pismo clams may be taken year-round except in Santa Cruz and
Monterey counties which have a season of September first through April thirtieth
minimum size is four and a half inches south of Monterey county and five inches
north of that line the limit is 10 per day and you’re
required to have a fixed measuring gauge that can measure either four-and-a-half
inches or 5 inches depending on where you are

21 thoughts on “How To Dive For Pismo Clams.

  1. Good info. I just used the last bit of pismos in my freezer last week on chowder. I need to find a good bed up north.

  2. Thanks for sharing.  I see huge shells in Morro Bay so I know they are around and the otters are finding them, 

  3. Great work Andrew. Was looking for just this video about a year ago, surprising how little there is out there on Pismo diving. Especially compared to all the videos on harvesting them in tidal zones. 

  4. Hello Andrew, my name is LaSalle Barnes and I'm in need of some under water video footage for a government contract we're bidding on. We will also need a licensed scuba diver to shoot new footage and it will take place in Seattle, Washington if we win the bid. Please contact me at 818-415-1760 asap. Deadline is tomorrow @ 3pm.

  5. How difficult is it to get them on the beach? or is it possible? minus tide perhaps? im not comfortable in diving yet. also, have you try clam chowder with Gapers?

  6. Andrew, we have been freediving for these for years. This is a very good and thorough video! Thanks for sharing!

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