Fish & Feathers: Sometimes it's hot, sometimes it's not

<I>RON MALAST photo</I><BR>A final burst of sunlight before dark signalled the approaching conclusion of Saturday's clam dig.

The afternoon of Friday, Nov. 23, was one of the finest clam digs in remembrance.

With a low tide scheduled at 5:30 p.m., diggers were pulling in 15-clam limits at 2:30 in the afternoon. The ocean was doing what it is supposed to do on an outgoing tide - staying out - the wind was calm, the sun was out enough to take the chill out of the air and clamming was "hot."

We went out with a group of seven people and were back at the house with hefty clams in 45 minutes.

In contrast to Friday, Saturday was a different story. There was a 75 percent cloud cover, a stiff westerly wind and not many clams to be found. It seems that every time we have a brisk westerly wind that keeps blowing, the ocean backs up the beach and keeps people scurrying to higher ground, you can bet it's going to be a rough day. The chill in the air did not help matters and persuaded many people to head for the barn, with just a few clams.

But that's the way it goes, sometimes it's hot and sometimes it's not.

Our next clam digs will take place over Christmas weekend and let's hope Santa will bring us some nice weather.

Commercial crab season opens SaturdayCongratulations to the commercial crabbers in our surrounding area who have settled for a decent price and a Dec. 1 opening. This also presents an added risk for local private crabbers in small boats. It is important to be constantly on the watch for commercial pots and lines while you are running or in a drift while you are pulling your personal pots. Also be aware that there is a "hefty" fine for pulling commercial pots and it is extremely dangerous.

Cabela's Store now openA new 185,000 square foot retail showroom has just opened near the junction of I-5 and Marvin Road in Lacey, not far from Olympia. The showroom is entertaining and educational attraction. It features a décor of museum-quality animal displays, huge aquariums and trophy animals in natural habitats. It truly is something to see for any outdoors person.

Nautical termsTo Miss the Boat - This expression came from the liberty boats that carried the sailors returning from shore leave out to their ships. Hence to miss the boat was to miss the only opportunity to get back to the ship.

Windfall - Some English landowners were prevented from either falling or selling timber as this was reserved for building ships for the British Navy. However this did not apply to trees that were blown down. Hence a windfall became a financial blessing.

Ron Malast is an Ilwaco charter boat captain. Call 665-3573 for information.

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