Ponquogue Bridge Matthew Raynor Photography
Ponquogue Bridge Matthew Raynor Photography
Ponquogue Bridge Matthew Raynor Photography

Ponquogue Bridge

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 I took this photo on my bay boat. Rigged up specially for commercial clamming and scalloping. Many of you may wonder what commercial clamming is. Maybe at dinner one night while eating little necks you might think "heh I wonder if somebody caught these with their feet" Well, local commercial clamming looks like this.

My day would go as follows. Pack lunch, water sunscreen, make sure the boat was filled with bags and clam tags then Head over and hook my boat up to my truck. Cruise on down to the ramp by the bridge and dump her in the water. It was difficult at first learning how to do this with a manual but eventually it just becomes an extension of yourself. Head out to the middle of the bay check the depth, configure the
Length of the pole and toss it overboard. The windier the day the better the clamming is. It's a dreadfully boring endeavor. You literally just pull on a clam rake and get beat up by the sun, wind and waves. and believe me the bay is nasty, you'll take a beating in shinnecock harder than on any trawler. Especially in December. The rake is pulled through the mud, the clams love the mud. They also love incoming tide. And they hate east wind. Sometimes you're lucky enough to fill The rake with seaweed or mussels maybe even dead muscle shells. Mussels WOULD be great But they have little crabs in them and you can't sell them. AAnd I just want to make this clear, The art of clamming is difficult, it sounds simple but it is extremely hard to be an efficient clam Raker. I did everything to get better at it, I rebuilt a boat, put a new engine on it. Made a tom sawyer inspired sail For days with little wind. Even rigged up a pot hauler to pull the heavy rake head up. I kept getting tendinitis and couldn't work for two weeks until it healed up. I moved the consul and configured the boat to drift more efficiently. List goes on.

So after a few hours of masochism Hopefully a few bags are filled and you can head back to the ramp. At this point I was probably pretty sunburnt and maybe had mental fit or two, probably kicked a basket. If it was a really tiring day I would probably have some fun stuff happen to me at the ramp. Like tying the boat up wrong or hitting the trailer at the wrong angle and breaking a few rollers. But From there I would just stop at Corjays and drop the clams off. I always loved stopping at Corjays, I knew everyone and after a day of silence it would be nice to speak to some friends then Bring the boat home and go to sleep.

Clamming wAs some thing that I hated, I hated it with my whole heart but was completely obsessed and in love with it. I would even catch myself out there drifting in the bay after a lucrative fishing trip. Thinking to myself why am I out here? I just spent seven days at sea. I don't know maybe I'm a glutton for punishment maybe I just enjoyed being out in the sun. Whatever it was it had me hooked. And when I wasn't clamming I was fixing my old clam rig, a 19ft mako built in 1971. I even put a radio and surroundsound speakers in it, if you're going to bore yourself to death you might as will be able to listen to music.