GET CLAMMY, GET FISHY
with NATIVE SALT CLAM BAIT
A new, locally produced salted clam bait that you are going to want to try!
When was the last time you had a fellow fisherman introduce you to a new product that actually worked? Think about it for a minute — when was the last time someone said “hey, put this on your hook and I bet you will catch a fish” and it actually produced for you? It’s probably been a while, right? Well, I just had that “once in a blue moon” occurrence, and boy was I impressed.
I recently spent some time in Orlando attending ICAST. For those that are not familiar with ICAST, it is an industry-only convention in Orlando showcasing the latest & greatest products you will find in fishing. In addition to the big boys, there are many small independent businesses trying to get recognized for their products and services as well. It’s like a BIG candy store for us anglers! I saw a lot of really cool stuff and spoke with some interesting folks, but I have to tell you, probably one of the most interesting guys I have met lately manufactures an incredible product right here in our backyard. His name is Killian Stumpf and he’s the man behind Native Salt Clam.
Killian’s son scores a pompano in the surf using Native Salt Clams.
Building A Better Claim Bait
There’s no debating whether clams are an effective bait. Pompano, whiting, perch, redfish, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, and snapper, particularly all love finding juicy clams to eat. However, many anglers may argue that it isn’t a very practical bait choice because fresh and frozen clams are expensive, easily perishable, and are so delicate that they are difficult to keep on the hook long enough to catch your target species. What if you were told that there’s a clam bait that’s easy to store and keep, that will stay firm on your hook, and that fish still find to be irresistible? Well, I’m telling you now that there is — and it’s produced by Native Salt Clams.
I recently met Killian Stumpf at his place of business in Sebastian to tour his facility and learn about his baits and the company that produces them. I promised Killian I would not disclose any trade secrets, but I have to tell you, their operation is just as impressive as the final product!
A real game changer with this product is the fact that it does not require any refrigeration. It’s a product that’s easy to use, there is no mess, and it can be shipped through the mail. It really is an incredible bait and, most importantly, it catches fish! Other outstanding products from Native Salt Clam include Salty Tongue, Native Muscle, and Guts Chum. Check them out and you will find that the results speak for themselves!
How They’re Made
Large, frozen blocks of hand-shucked, chowder-sized surf clams, caught and processed in the USA, are delivered to Native Salt Clam’s small bait-making facility on the west bank of the Indian River in Sebastian, Florida. After the clams are thawed, they go through a weeks-long process of brining and hard salting in a proprietary salt blend. Then the clams are hand trimmed to remove guts and waste, leaving only the toughest part of the shucked clam: the foot and siphon. Finally, the finished clam is weighed and packed in a convenient, heavy-duty, resealable zip-loc bag.
Where to Get Them
Native Salt Clam Baits can be purchased in 5oz packages on their website for $9.99 and are also available in a number of local retail locations. If you don’t see them in your neighborhood bait & tackle store, ask them about stocking this awesome fishing product.
Killian Stumpf and Angela Duvall, the partners behind Native Salt Claim Bait, outside their headquarters in Sebastian, FL.
The Man Behind the Clam
Killian grew up with an affection for the water. As a young boy his father would frequently take him to Port Canaveral where they would catch pinfish and feed them to the pelicans. Fully laden scallop trawlers unloading at Captain Ed’s fish house served as an exciting backdrop. That’s where it all started.
As a teenager, Killian landed a job as a deckhand with Barcos Del Mar Seafood Co. on the F.V. Rusty, an aptly named vessel. A few seasons later Killian landed a deckhand spot on the F.V. Michael Anthony, a high liner freezer boat custom built for the Vona Fleet to harvest rock shrimp tails. The Vona Fleet was the first group of fisherman who successfully commercially harvested rock shrimp in the early eighties in partnership with Rodney Thompson of Dixie Crossroads Restaurant in Titusville. Killian enjoyed many seasons working for Capt. Michael Vona along with first mate Joe Crawford. Rock shrimping was the primary game, along with occasional white, brown, and hopper shrimp fishing. He said it was grueling work but he loved it. This is a line of work that would lead him to many other commercial fishing opportunities over the years all throughout the eastern seaboard.
Killian eventually left commercial fishing and settled down in Satellite Beach. While spending many hours fishing on the beach across from Breeze Thru Mini Mart, Killian met several commercial pompano fishermen, one of whom recommended that Killian salt his left over live clams in order to reduce waste, improve clam meat toughness, and maintain fresh bait effectiveness. A great idea as clams were expensive to buy live even twenty-five years ago and he was tired of throwing unused clams back in the ocean or leaving them in the fridge to stink. “I learned to trim them and salt them correctly so they would last, and, in the process, the clam meat becomes much tougher, making it more difficult for fish to steal the bait.”
For years Killian salted his own bait and caught many beautiful fish with it. Several years ago, Killian was hired on at Native Tackle Supply in Sebastian, FL, where he met his current partner, Angela Duvall. She owned Native Tackle and after striking up a friendship, she brought Killian on to help her run the store. Killian introduced his idea of salted clams in the store and they immediately started flying off the shelves. It wasn’t long after that they both realized the potential in this product, and so began the development of Native Salt Clam.
It looks so tasty I want to eat it. Imagine how the fish feel!
Looking Beyond the Bait
In addition to being an avid angler and local entrepreneur of Native Salt Clam, Killian enjoys spending time under the water as well. He is an avid diver and discussed with me firsthand how our waters are being overrun by the invasive Lionfish. Killian explained, “My true passion and personal goal is to develop a diver assist machine to safely harvest lionfish. This will allow for large scale, safe, and profitable commercial harvest, especially in the Caribbean Islands, that will in turn help us reduce the lionfish population drastically.”
I can’t say it enough — Killian is an interesting guy with a great product and big ideas that I believe we will see more of in the near future. The next time you plan on fishing, make sure you try Native Salt Clam and let us know how it works for you!
Check out the video from Native Salt Clams!