Digging Clams: Make a Living Alongshore

Phil Schwind shares his valuable fishing widsom to readers interested in learning how to dig clams in this excerpt from "Make A Living Alongshore."

| July/August 1978

Phil Schwind is a Cape Codder who's been supplying both his family and local markets with freshly caught seafood for some 40 years, and he has now distilled all that valuable fishing-for-profit experience into a slim, yet near-exhaustive volume which can help you to get started in this outdoor enterprise too! 

Making a Living Alongshore concentrates mainly on fish and shellfish found along the Atlantic coast, but Schwind's observations will help would-be market fishermen up and down the Pacific shore as well. And though the following excerpt focuses on clams, Schwind's interesting book also gives detailed information on surf fishing, flounder dragging, eel potting, quahogging, scalloping, and catching blue mussels. 

"Whatever happened to the alongshore fisherman?" Schwind asks sadly, "the little fellow who provided his neighborhood with fish and shellfish that were fresh, fresh, FRESH . . . right out of the water with their tails still wagging or their shells clamped shut? The fish and shellfish remain there for the taking, but the fine art of making a living along the shore has gone the way of blacksmithing and candlemaking." 

If you're lucky enough to live along a coast where the waters are still relatively unpolluted, Schwind's book may be just the tool you need to get started in a self-employment venture where freedom, sunrises, and salty breezes are as much a part of the payoff as the actual income you put in your wallet. 

Excerpted by permission from Making a Living Alongshore by Phil Schwind, copyright © 1976 by International Marine Publishing Company.  Available on 

The often lonely way of the alongshore fisherman is not for everyone. But for the right person, there is still a living to be made almost everywhere in the salt marshes and estuaries. It is a trade without glamour — ­a trade that takes a great deal of ingenuity — but it is a way of living; one without parallel in freedom and personal satisfaction.

3/17/2007 6:46:14 PM

have never dug clams but have been seeing a lot of 4-5 inch quahog shells laying on the bottom while i've been wade fishing. can not find anybody in florida to tell me how to dig for them or what to look for. can you be of any help with this info? thank you for your time larry schroer

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