Let us now praise good clam rakes

This is prime clamming season. Water is cold and I can hit the spots that get closed by the Barnstable Department of Natural Resources on May 1 when the bird poop will make the clams a bit of an intestinal crap shoot. Call it the Townie’s Perogative, but he who gets on the water early, gets the clams. I try to pick the inshore flats clean before the tourists raze them in the warmer weather.

Last spring I took stock of my tired, rusty clamming equipment and decided to borrow my step-father’s stainless rake. What a revelation! Nice rake, cut through the mud nicely. So I went in search of a similar one, ran a Google search on Cape Cod Clam Rakes and found R.A. Ribb in Harwich. I called Ribb and they had an 11-tooth, stainless rec rake with a 6` ash handle. Off I went, down Route 6 to exit 11, banged a left and took the second right. At the end of the cul de sac was a quaint old Cape house with a weathered sign that read “Ribb.”

In the shed behind the house was a machine shop filled with huge metal working machinery. Inside the door was my rake. A quick credit card transaction for $87 later, and I was going home with a sweet implement of clam death.

This is a fine tool. I blast the tines with some WD-40 to keep them from rusting off. It made my old clam basket look positively ghetto, so off I went to Sandwich Ship Supply for a new one, a couple nice shucking knives and the annual copy of Eldridge’s Tide Tables.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

20 thoughts on “Let us now praise good clam rakes”

  1. I did not mean that clams are porn .. I was referring more to the passion with which you describe this stuff … that’s why i keep coming back to read more …

  2. I got myself a new domain, David … dataminds.biz was meant for an entirely different purpose, when I was out of work, and searching for my next gig and thinking of becoming a consulting weeny (i.e., money conduit) …. I recently grabbed http://www.cmurray.org/ .. which I am pretty happy with …

    I hope you don’t mind all the noise on your blog … I truly enjoy the reading and interaction.

  3. Hi
    Am trying to get a hold of a couple of efficient clam rakes
    Dad was an avid clamman and I learned from him many years ago
    Last weekend I had all the family over in Bridgehampton Ny and realized that a cousin had taken all the rakes.. He is ever avid so I don’t mind but would like to
    get back to a basic rake… Are your’s heavy??? I regonnize the shape


  4. I prefer the Clam Out Equipment rake (www.clamout.com). Ribb rakes were out of my price range for recreational clamming. I could purchase a rake for half the price from Clam Out and still get a great quality…I have raked with it for 3 yrs and still going strong.

    Ribb rakes look great, but to outfit my whole family…well let’s just say I don’t have that money.

  5. I have a question. I have lately seen some clammers out in the water, knee high, poking over and over with this stick-looking thing with what looks like a hose attached to it, and then seemingly picking clams up right out of the water. What’s going on out there?

  6. laura…..those fellas with the poles and rubber thingey is a clam plunger. The neatest way to go after steamers without breaking the shells.
    But folks, what about the KB White Company? We have been in business for over 23 years supplying recreational shellfishing equipment to the clammers. Check out the web site.

  7. Eastern Metal Works in Wilmington, NC has some of the best clamming gear and flounder gigs I have seen. They will practically guarantee it for life! I say this because I have several rakes and gigs and if I break one they repair or replace it without a hassle. Their number is 910-792-1851 ask for Tommy.

  8. My brother and I had worn out our scratch rakes and were looking for a better product. Here on Long Island’s north shore we have rocks, mud with shells & sand to deal with. If you look at Ribbs rec rakes they have a Turtleback with a shallow basket. The company has just recently designed a smaller version called the baby back. I am trying to get Maggy to call it the Long Island Babay Back. This rake arrived quickly and we put them to use. For starters, one of the best welding jobs I have ever seen. The tines are sharp, long and cut through anything. Our first outing we had more quahogs then we needed. Don;t look anywhere else for a rake!Ribbs rakes are like clam magnets. They take a lot of the work away. I just clean the tines, wipe them down, and the rust will stay away. Get one!!!

  9. I disagree!!Richard must be a paid spokesperson for Ribb Rakes!!Welding not so good in reality.Broken tines in short order for many fishermen. Dont fall for the old hype. Buy anywhere but.

  10. Frank, it’s clear you don’t own a baby back rake! It’s now June 2011, and my poorly welded rake (and my brother’s) are in perfect condition. This rake was a gift from my wife, and I have never enjoyed using a clam rake as much as this great product.

  11. My husband grew up going to South Hampton from the Albany area every summer.Clamming every year.Since we’ve married and had kids we now go to Maryland every year and clamming became a huge, I mean huge part of our vacation. We started renting rakes which was great for a while. I bought my husband a Ribb rake first then each year someone else got one. We now all have a Ribb rake and couldn’t be happier. My grandson (he will be 3) is going for the first time this year and we can’t wait to show him how to toe clam. He already eats them so now he can help get them. The rakes we bought several years ago from Ribb will absolutly be handed down to him. We are sure the rakes will still be alive and kicking when he gets them, in need of a good sharpening but still in great shape.

  12. David,
    I’m a 63 yr old rookie at clamming but I’m eager to learn.
    Just bought a house in Marstons Mills. Will get a permit next season and try to learn the ways of the clammer, like you. Any tips on best places to go in Barnstable? Or getting some clamming education in that area?

  13. My husband purchased a rake for me for Christmas. I clam 5 days a week usually catching between 900 the 1200 a day. I am so excited about my new rake. Can’t wait till Monday to try it out. Wiig post back to let you know what I think.

  14. A good clamming rake can definitely save your back from quite a bit of pain. For the younger kids a clam fork works great since they don’t mind bending over constantly to scoop and collect clams, but if you’re a bit older being able to sift through the sand and collect clams without even bending over is invaluable!

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