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Razor Fish

Razor Fish article by John Staten

Most of us will have seen razor shells whilst walking the beach, especially after a storm.  Some will be open and empty while others still contain the razorfish! Many years ago when I lived in the N/east of England we often walked the beach between two lovely towns, Marske and Saltburn.  We could often nigh on fill a freezer with the amount of razorfish that had been scoured out and thrown onto the beach after a really good 'blow' about halfway between both towns. Whether that still happens I don't know but it did save us a fortune in the cost of bait.

You can obviously get a good supply off many online suppliers now plus most local tackle shops and fish mongers will stock them.

Again like so many baits, it is very under-rated in my opinion.  Why is it most anglers stick to the old stalwarts lug and ragworm and dismiss out of hand baits like razorfish, clams, mussel, squid and crab?  A lot of anglers fail to realise that razorfish are a natural food source for many species of fish.  Dogfish and any of the species of 'flatties' are quite partial to razorfish as a food.

Razorfish is also a very good 'tipping' bait for cod in the winter, they are fairly tough but I always use a little elasticated cotton just to ensure they stay on the hook OK.

They are extremely strong in their smell, and it's no surprise to see why they make a good bait after a good blow when the sea is very coloured and dirty.

If you do collect your own using the tried and tested method of 'salting' then do remember that razorfish are very sensitive to vibration and as such can detect heavy footprints from as far as 20 to 30 yards away.

The most preferred method of 'salting' is by utilising an old washing up bottle filled with a high concentration of salt mixed with water.  Quietly approach the razor hole, don't want to send them scouring down another couple of feet into the sand, and squirt the mixture directly into the hole.

You should then see, fairly quickly, the razorfish come to the surface, sometimes coming completely out of it's hole.  Now, most folk grab the razor as it exits it's hole and keep a firm but steady grip on it, allowing it to free itself of the it's burrow.  DON'T pull otherwise you run the risk of ending up with an empty shell in your hands.

You can keep razorfish alive in a cold fridge for up to about 2 weeks, and they should stay alive and in first class condition with a minimum of effort on your part. Do remember though, they should be kept moist at all times.  Don't worry to much if you think it is starting to go off, the smellier the better, the same as mussel.
I have been known to take some out of the fridge or freezer and leave them exposed to the elements to get a real nice putrid smell about them!  Cod find them attractive this way the same as some of the 'flatty' species.

If you have access to a garage or some sort of outhouse I would strongly recommend getting yourself a fridge and a freezer if room allows for keeping all your bait in.  You can stock up in the summer when it is probably easier to get your own bait than in the winter months.  Saves arguments about smelly bait contaminating the rest of the food in there - you know what I mean!

If you want to freeze some razorfish - then dead easy - just put half a dozen or so at a time including shell, in to a freezer bag and job done. I do say, including shell, which is the way I prefer to freeze them but a lot of guys I know prefer to take them out of their shells and freeze quite a lot down in one freezer bag, thus saving time when fishing and also room in the freezer. - Your choice.

Happy fishing.

Author's Resource: Sea Fishing Articles by John Staten.
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