Scallop Reports Point To A Pretty Good Season

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Bay Scallop season is rolling along on the Gulf Coast of Florida, and reports from different areas are varied. Overall, this season seems poised to be a pretty good one, based on what we were hearing at presstime in mid-July, and there’s still time to go hunt some tasty bivalves. Most zones remain open through Sept. 24, and remember, scalloping conditions can change dramatically based on the weather, tides and water clarity. The only way to know is to go.

Down on the southern end, in Pasco County—where the season was extended from 10 to 37 days this year—we saw reports that were somewhat mediocre, specifically out of the Anclote River. Scallopers reported decent sized scallops, although not as large as last year’s hauls, which featured some monsters. With lots of mid-sized scallops and throwbacks, it took some hunting to fill a bucket. Pasco has the earliest closure of any of the regions. The season there ends on Aug. 6.

Up the coast at Crystal River, the scene has been chaos, with hundreds of boats jockeying for position over grass that produced some pretty good hunting. One scalloper reported that the season so far has been better than last year, with big scallops in the 8-foot depths. What we’re hearing is the numbers aren’t great, but the quality is excellent, and that it’s taking three or four hours to fill a limit. The Levy, Citrus and Hernando County zone remains open until Sept. 24.

Moving up to Steinhatchee, the reports are very good. When they can get some clear water between rains, scallopers are reporting fast limits of good-sized scallops out of Steinhatchee. Go now if you want to get in on the action in the Fenholloway-Suwannee River zone. Harvest closes on Labor Day, Sept. 4.

The scallops are there, but you have to work for them is what we’re hearing from the Big Bend around St. Marks. The scallops are scattered, but if you put in the time you can collect limits of good ones. They were also pretty shallow, which is nice, with some limits being reported from 4- to 5-foot depths. The Franklin to NW Taylor County zone remains open until Sept. 24.

The season doesn’t open until Aug. 16 in Port St. Joe, so there’s nothing to report yet. But a late season trip to Gulf County can be a good idea because the scallops haven’t yet been picked over.

You don’t know unless you go. Happy hunting!

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