Razorshell Q and A

Razor Shells

Image by karenwithak via Flickr

Is the razorshell a fish? It is sometimes called a razorfish, or spout fish, but is in fact a mollusc living in a shell open at each end.

I’ve never even seen one on the shore: are they equally rare as far as fish are concerned?

Where breakers pound a sandy shore, the waves gouge at the sand and turn up all kinds of animals that we do not normally see. Fish such as bass, flatties and rays, following breakers in, feed on this debris and are well acquainted with razorshells.

Can I keep the meat for long without pickling it?

No, like all sea creatures once dead razorshells begin to ‘go off quickly, and soon cease to attract fish. Best catch them just before going fishing, remove them from the shell and keep them damp until needed. They can be hooked whole or cut up into smaller bait pieces.

Why can I never catch razors? I find the breathing holes but my digging turns up nothing at all.

Any vibration, such as approaching footsteps, sends razorshells down very quickly into deep sand. You must approach very carefully indeed, sprinkle a little salt into the hole, make a quick, careful stab down with your fork—and if you have been quick enough, there’s your bait.

Why should I bother with such an unusual bait?

If you are catching fish without it—don’t bother! But all kinds of bait suffer from days when they attract nothing: that’s when this unusual offering may prove a winner.

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