Hernando County Report By: Capt. Joel Gant

That’s right fishheads, what you’ve been waiting for, “SCALLOPS”. The season opens from the Hernando/Pasco line north, from July 1st until September 24th. For you Pasco folks, after many years of being closed, you can harvest scallops starting July 20th only.  I know–only nine days–but, hopefully, longer in the future. The regulation on scallops are: two gallons whole bay scallops in shell or, one pint of bay scallop meat per person; a maximum of ten gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or, 1/2-gallon bay scallop meat per vessel. As with any species, always check the regulation on myfwc.com.

People ask me all the time, “Where are the best spots to get scallops?” Off Hernando Beach, I usually head north towards Chassahowitzka and Homosassa. Once you get north, you will see groups of boats and that’s a good starting point. These waters can be anywhere from 4 to 8-feet deep. Most people use just a mask, fins and a mesh net. Take your time and just look until you see one. Before diving down, look around, sometimes you will see a few more. Always have your divers down flag (it’s the law) and be careful when motoring in to a busy area. Scalloping can be a fun time for the whole family.

The gag grouper season has been good. These fish are being caught in 15 to 60-feet of water. It seems like the closer-in areas have been fished pretty heavy. You may need to move a little deeper as the season and warmer waters moves the grouper out farther. So, if the fishing is slow at one spot, move to the next. Baits like live pinfish, fresh cut baits or frozen threadfins will usually get the bite going. Tackle should be stout and strong.  Use at least 60-pound line with a 7/0 circle hook and enough weight to keep the bait on the bottom. Be ready when these bad boys hit–they will make you go to the chiropractor the next day. You’re allowed two per person, and they must be a minimum of 24 inches.

Get out there on the water and make some memories with friends and family! I’m always looking for reports and pictures. You can email me or stop by my website and become a “FISHHEAD”.