Are razor clams really worth the money?
Find out! Captain Bruce conducted a bait test.

Commercial crabbers have been using razor clams for years, and they don't want recreational crabbers to know the truth about using razor clams for bait. One of the first things they say is if you're not using live razor clams, you won't catch crabs. This is not true because crabs are scavengers, and everything they eat is dead. I’ll be the first to admit that live razors out-catch frozen/thawed razor clams because live razors are breathing underwater and produce more scent which attracts more crabs than a dead razor or chicken neck. But both live and frozen/thawed clams will catch more crabs than chicken. Many crabbers buy clams by the bushel and freeze them (just like you do chicken necks) and have reported that they caught between 1-2 bushels of crabs all summer long using frozen clams.

So I wanted to do a test to prove which bait is better - razor clams or chicken?  I set out before sunrise on a river in the upper bay to perform my test.

I used 30 of my topless traps, baited them, putting them in a straight line alternating baits in the traps. The first trap I used chicken necks for bait and razor clams in the next one all the way down the line.


The rules were simple

  1. Crabs must be at least 6 inches long to be counted and everything else was thrown back and not counted.
  2. All crabs caught on chicken went into the chicken basket and all the crabs that caught on razors went into the razor clam basket.


I crabbed for the first 3 hours of the morning and at the end of the test run, the results were as follows:

Chicken: I caught 19 crabs on chicken necks all over 6" (using 15 traps).

Razor Clams: I caught 71 crabs using razor clams all over 6" (using 15 traps) and I also noticed that the crabs were larger on average than the ones caught on chicken.

The Bottom Line

Chicken necks catch crabs, but razor clams catch over three times more crabs than chicken. No wonder that my commercial customers tell me that if they don’t have razor clams, they don’t go crabbing!

Remember, this catch total was using 15 traps per bait, so if I would have used all 30 traps for each bait, the total catch for the day would have been:

  • chicken = 38 crabs
  • razor clams = 142 crabs

When you consider all of the time and money associated with crabbing, and you want to catch as many crabs as possible, it’s best to spend a little extra money up front on clam bags and razor clams.