Trip on a Quahog Raking Boat: Great Salt Pond, R.I., 18 August 1998 The fisherman, 45 years old, harvests quahogs in various bays and ponds in Rhode Island using a bull rake from his 6.7 m fiberglass boat propelled by a 150 hp outboard motor.
In the mid 1860's, George Eldridge, inventor of the bull rake, used this new rake out of a rowboat to gather virgin quahog stocks in the deeper bay waters.
Pulling up a full rake is the most tiresome aspect of harvesting quahogs with a bull rake. By hiring ropers, diggers can rake longer hours and the older men (ages from 50 to 70) can rake a full day.
During the 1900's, the fishermen used short rakes, basket rakes, and bull rakes for harvesting quahogs.
About 10 others dug in waters 1.5-3 m deep using basket rakes and bull rakes. The bonanza also attracted about 30 part-timers who harvested the town limit of 2 bu of littlenecks during low tides and also worked at odd jobs ashore.
The long-handled bull rake originated in Raritan Bay, N.Y.
A modification of the bull rake, it remained in use until the early 1970's.
After short rakes came hand tongs, then basket rakes, bull rakes, mechanical tongs, rocking chair dredges, hydraulic dredges, and finally hydraulic escalator dredges, and others.
The first bull rakes were made by blacksmiths in Keyport, N.J.
Since about 1960, fishermen and blacksmiths have made progressive changes in the design of bull rakes. The latest designs were based on the shape of the basket rake (Fig.
In Raritan Bay (New Jersey), fishermen harvest quahogs only with a modern design of the bull rake
, which they often call a bubble rake, while in Long Island Sound (Connecticut), fishermen harvest quahogs with hydraulic dredges.
Sweep rakes--also known as a go-devils, buck rakes, bull rakes
and push rakes--were commonly used by the 1880s.