The Florida scalloping season begins July 1 and ends Sept. 24. The scallops are not allowed to be harvested commercial, recreational only. FWC has the right to open the season earlier or extend the season later. Always consult the saltwater regulations for the current year. Scalloping requires a Florida saltwater license with no special stamps of any kind. The FWC allows 2 gallons (with shells) or 1 pint cleaned per person or 10 gallons per boat or 1/2 gallons cleaned. You can clean the scallops in the water and are NOT required to bring them ashore intact. We recommend you shell them out to sea so that you can ensure you have your limit based on the pint/gallon requirements. Sometimes measuring via shells leaves you short of your limit once cleaned.
When done collecting scallops, report your harvest to researchers so that they can measure how healthy the population was and where they were migrating too. Click link directly below. Bookmark this link in your smart-phone too.
Click Here –> On-line Survey of Your Scalloping Daily Catch
Popular Hot Spots
- Crystal River
- Get to ramp early, ramp chaos can be expected
- Carry BOATUS or SEATOW package, engines can overheat in grass
- Bring extra fuel on board
- Diver mask & snorkel
- Swim fins (optional)
- Water shoes ankle high prevents grass cuts
- Don’t dive bare foot, urchins and wild life can sting
- Mesh bag to carry your scallops as you dive
- Saltwater license (age 16-65)
- Dive flag for boat (20×24) to be displayed on PVC Pole (needs to be seen)
- Radio (optional), handheld recommended
- Flares, flare gun, whistle
- Gallon bucket to measure
- Rig a clear bottom bucket to scout for scallops
- Scoop net with long handle
- Spoon to clean (click link)–> How Capt Lee cleans a bay scallop
- Underwater video camera or Go Pro/camera
- Season is July 1st – Sept 25th, FWC can alter these dates yearly
- Scallop between Pasco/Hernando County – Mexico Beach canal
- Easiest angling sport to do, like Easter egg hunting
- Idle in 3-4 foot water, grass clogs intake & overheats boat
- Stay 300 feet (100 yards) from another boat with dive flag
- Divers wander, go slow and look for swimmers out of their area
- Scallops live outside these boundaries, leave them alone
- Spawning scallops need specific salinity & water clarity
- Scallops like grassy edges of sandy pot holes
- Look for their shells & many blue eyes (light/dark side of shell)
- Sun brings them to the top of the grass
- Tanic or dirty waters are not worth diving for them
- No size limits just bag limits
- When cleaning we keep the muscle only (opens/closes shell)
- Don’t try to run to Hudson North of Pasco County, FWC knows this trick
- Sunny conditions are the best to see
- Higher the sun, the more you can see
- Outgoing tide chase is best
- Careful of afternoon storms, if threatening return back to port
- Let the marina know you are going out, if you staying with them
- Look for moss and short grassy areas
- You don’t need to join flotilla to find scallops
- Dive in 3-8 foot
- Look for drop offs, scallops roll into trenches
- Don’t let the scallop clamp down and pinch your fingers
- Put scallops on ice ASAP, they die with shells open, easier to clean
- Keep set amount scallops hanging over side of boat in water, measure, then ice.
- Scallops are bivalve mollusks, live about 1 year, female lays 1,000,000 eggs
- Scallops prefer manatee grass over turtle grass or shoal grass
- Scallops can’t swim fast nor control their propulsion direction well
- Scallops get bigger as the season goes on
- Scallops have a brown and white shell with some rust stains at times.
- If scalloping in wading depths, don’t walk on bottom, muddies water
- Scallops hatch in March. May is their big growth month
- Scallops feed on plankton & grow large over summer
- Scallops begin spawning around September 10th, 99% die afterwards
- Shells disintegrate and fertilize sea grass with lime prepping for next generation of scallops
Engine Stalling Out:
You probably have long turtle grass wrapped around your prop. Put your engine in reverse to “throw” the grass off the prop and put boat back into gear. You should be able to get back on plane. Your engine will stall often as the tide goes out and the water level drops.
- Broil 3-4 minutes
- Sautee scallops
Ingredients: (serves 3)
- 1 pound bay scallops
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly ground pepper
How to cook Easy Sauteed Bay Scallops:
- In skillet melt butter and add garlic.
- Cook until garlic is golden brown.
- Add scallops and parsley.
- Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Sprinkle with pepper and serve.
“How To Dive” Scalloping Video
Watch A Scallop Under Water:
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