[dropcap]J[/dropcap]uly is a popular time on the Nature Coast and visitors will gather along our shorelines to try their hands at scalloping. For those of you that have never tried scalloping, picture an underwater Easter Egg hunt diving through the gorgeous waters of Crystal River. The season normally runs from the 1st of July through the middle of September. This year, scallop season opens the 28th of June, because July 1 is a Tuesday.
A mask, snorkel, fins and mesh dive bag will have you strapped and ready to go making this an easy day on the water and fun for the whole family. Scallops can be found in anywhere from 2 to 10 feet of water and most of the diving you’ll be doing is in 6 feet or less. People come from all over the country to experience the thrill of the underwater hunt on the pristine, shallow grass flats; I even had some clients from Sweden last season! Scalloping is great fun for people of all ages from the young to the young at heart. My 6 year old son really got the hang of diving them up last year.
While my clients are diving, I clean the scallops for them. This way they don’t have to sit around and clean them when they get in, or try to find someone to do it for them. If you are hiring a guide to take you, make sure you ask who’s cleaning them! At the end of the day, the best part of the experience is dinner. I have to say, they are one of my favorite foods to eat.
On the fishing side of things, the redfish bite should be good. The topwater bite should stay strong the first hour or so of daylight then I would switch to a gold spoon or bait. There are more snook in the back country and on the spoil banks this year than even the old timers can remember. Snook will be here all summer and although they are closed in July, they are still great fun to catch and release.
Capt Kelly Kofmehl