Big Spacer imageCatching Oysters in Beaufort

As one looks out over the Beaufort bay, they see a beautiful body of water. Seven hours later, they see a completely different sight. As the water withdraws, it gives up huge sections of mud mounds, and on these mounds, lay a treasure for thy mouth. Oysters... As far as you can see. Millions of them. And the beauty is, collecting oysters for food is probably the least expensive of all types of fishing. And if you have never eaten a fresh oyster, well... you haven't eaten an oyster!

Equipment Required

Special gear required - a pair of heavy canvas gloves, heavy old boots, (military style work really well for this), a bucket and a good bug spray (the sand fleas are really bad in the mud areas). That's it.

What To Do

Actually you don't "catch" oysters. You pick them, right out of the mud. You just wade through the mud to the oyster mounds, pull the clumps apart and put them in the bucket. It is a lot of work walking in this mud, that is why it is called gumbo mud. It is thick and does not release your feet without somewhat of a fight. I guess this is natures way of making it not to easy pickings. So if you have health problems, let someone else do it for you.

Special Concerns and Warnings

There are cautions for this activity. First, watch the tide as the area will be reclaimed by water. Make sure you don't get stuck in the mud with the tide coming back in. Second, oysters are very sharp, like a razor blade. The cuts inflicted can be very deep and become very painful later that night. Third, always check that the area is not restricted, as oysters become contaminated in areas.
Never collect oysters after a heavy rain, wait a few days. Last, you will need bug spray as the sand fleas will seem to eat you alive!