Hernando County Report By: Capt. Joel Gant

My Theory

Being a charter captain on the water and fishing with clients as much as I do, I’ve come up with a lot of theories of my own. I know you’re thinking “Oh no, not another one of Fishdaddy’s theories.” This theory is only for released fish.  How many times have you fought a fish pulling drag and fighting all the way to and into the boat with what seems like endless energy? Now here is where my theory starts. Once you safely remove the hook, take a few pictures (this is the when I believe the fish really starts getting embarrassed. Ever see a fish smile for a pic? Just sayin’) and release the fish, watch how the fish will usually swim off very, very slowly and sometimes just settle to the bottom sulking. I have read that this is from lactic acid build up in the fish from the fight, but I believe we hurt their feelings. Is it possible that fish do get their feelings hurt? I believe so–pay attention next time and let me know what you think.

Scallop season is July 1st – September 24th from Hernando County north. Scallop season in Pasco County is July 19th – 28th. Regulations are two gallons whole bay scallops in shell or one pint of bay scallop meat per person. Maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1/2-gallon bay scallop meat per vessel. A saltwater license is required (unless on a chartered boat) and always have a diver down flag up only when swimmers are in the water. Scalloping is fun for the whole family, like an Easter egg hunt in the water. If you want more information on scalloping, please give me a call and I can give you more information on them or take you out for a great day you won’t forget.

The one we’ve all been waiting for–Gag grouper opened on June 1st and ends on December 31st in state and federal waters. The bag limit is two per person. Gags can be caught in our waters as shallow as 10 feet. A couple of techniques I use are trolling plugs or bottom dropping–either live or dead baits. Make sure you have stout equipment. Gags fight hard and will try to run for structure. You will need this to keep them from rocking you up.


Red snapper is opened for recreational fishing from June 11th – July12th. For hire charters are open until Aug 1st. The size limit is 16 inches and two per person. We are finding them in the deeper water–60 to 90 feet. In this photo is a nice snapper caught on one of my recent charter trips.

Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family!