Looking for a late summer adventure the entire family can enjoy along our beautiful Florida Gulf Coast? Try scalloping!
Some of the best scalloping in the world can be found in St. Joe’sBay. Visitors come from all over the world to try their hand at this relatively easy to master sport. Scalloping is seasonal; the season runs from July 1st – September 10th. During this time, the tasty morsels are plentiful.
What is a scallop you ask? According to Wikipedia, a scallop is an edible bivalve mollusk with a ribbed fan-shaped shell. Scallops swim by rapidly opening and closing the shell valves. Scallops have fan-shaped shells, often with ridges which are frequently what comes to most peoples’ minds when they think “seashell.” Many say that scallops have a “sweet,” instead of a “fishy” flavor, and when prepared properly are tender and moist.
Here are some basic rules and guidelines for scalloping:
- The best method for scalloping is to use a snorkel mask and fins, but you can still find lots of great scallops by simply wading near areas with plentiful sea-grass. Scallops do swim, so be prepared to chase them down once you spot them. They are not terribly fast.
- A Florida saltwater fishing license is required to harvest bay scallops for those ages 16-65.
- Recreational scallopers on foot are limited to two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or one pint of bay scallop meat, per day.
- Aboard a boat or other vessel, scallopers may have no more than 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or a half-gallon of bay scallop meat, at any time AND the daily bag limit per person still applies. (e.g If there are two people on a boat there can be no more than four gallons, however, if there are five or more person there can be no more than ten gallons.)
- Bay scallops are only to be harvested or with a landing or dip net and may not be harvested for commercial purposes.
- Whether snorkeling from a boat or wading for scallops, a dive flag is required.
You can find out loads of information here.
The equipment needed to scallop successfully is fairly minimal. You will need a mesh-type of bag for collecting scallops, an ice chest for storing freshly caught scallops, a scallop knife and neoprene or other water shoes that will stay on your feet. Licenses and supplies are available at local outfitters up and down the bay.
To make scallops easier to open, place them on ice just prior just to cleaning, which encourages the muscle that holds the shells together to relax. A knife, or even a teaspoon, is usually all that is needed to open the shells. Cut the white muscle free while discarding the shells and unwanted soft parts.
Here are eight easy to prepare scallop recipes to help you enjoy your fresh harvest.
Don’t miss out on scallop season. Visit us today and find the perfect Florida Coastal vacation rental to serve as home base for your scallop adventure!