Have you always wanted to learn how to catch scallops in Florida?
Once scalloping season starts, the excitement of catching these tasty delicacies also builds up. Floridanians always look forward to this season where they can bag a huge amount of scallops, cook them all up and enjoy this meal with their friends.
Although Florida’s bay scallops are a tad smaller than the much larger sea scallops, the former are not at all lacking in flavor. In fact, bay scallops are much more tender, sweeter, and overall tastier.
So, if you’re eager to learn how to start scalloping in this part of the country, hang tight and keep reading. I’ll share with you some surprisingly easy steps to begin harvesting those scallops for a massive catch!
Getting Started: How to Catch Scallops in Florida
The very first thing to do if you want to know how to catch scallops in Florida is to survey the area.
It actually requires a bit of research on where to find scallops. This way, you will not end up wasting your time in a place that does not have much of these marine creatures. First of all, you want clear waters since scallops prefer this type of environment.
In most cases, you’ll be able to spot a scallop’s dark side first. It is this side that faces the water’s surface, which makes it a little tricky. However, there are those settling in the bottom of the water flipped over. Thus, you should have no problem spotting these little buggers.
I recommend that you be on the lookout for colored or light shells. Once you see these, chances are scallops are not far behind.
Now, before you go ahead and dive in, here is a very important thing to keep in mind:
You NEED a fishing license to start scalloping. Those who are not exempt from this rule need to present a valid recreational saltwater fishing Florida license. If you have this important document ready, then you should be good to go.
3 Key Tips on How to Catch Scallops in Florida
One thing to note about catching scallops is that you will either need a handheld net or simply your hand to pick them out.
But it is also important to note that you should maintain distance from divers, snorkelers and swimmers who may be just a few feet away from you. This is the case if you are on a boat since you don’t want to be responsible for any accident caused by your vehicle.
With all these things in mind, let us go ahead and begin scalloping. Here are 5 steps on how to catch scallops in Florida just like a pro:
1. Get your gears ready.
The very first thing you need to do is to prepare your gears. Scalloping requires certain gears to ensure your safety in the water.
Among the things you need when catching scallops include:
- Dive flag
- Mesh bag (preferably brightly-colored)
- Wading shoes
- A bucket
- Swim fins
When scalloping in shallow waters, you should be fine with just your wading shoes, a mesh bag, and a comfortable mask. However, for your safety, it is best to have your snorkels and swim fins in your gear bag just in case you encounter strong tidal currents. These are also helpful when catching scallops in deeper water.
2. Find the best spot.
The most challenging part of knowing how to catch scallops in Florida is figuring out the right spot.
Inexperienced folks end up floundering about in the waters for several minutes with the hopes of spotting a few scallops. However, experts already know where and how to look even before they get into the water.
Scallops are generally easy to spot once the light portion of their body faces upwards. Otherwise, it can be tricky with their dark sides up and when hiding in the grass.
This is why here’s a scalloping hack for you – go to a white sandy spot with shorter grass. This is an optimal environment for finding scallops easily whether it’s the dark side or light side up, the lack of obstruction makes it quick to spot your target.
I would search underneath bending grass and get into the water at mid-day. Scalloping on sunny days makes things much easier, too, since the water is generally clearer.
Another thing to keep in mind is that tides are not a big deal when catching scallops. You should be able to catch them no matter what the tide level is. However, it is definitely much quicker and less of an effort to pick them up when the currents are slower.
3. Watch out for some hazards in the water.
Not to spoil the fun in scalloping but I would like to point out the fact that there are some hazards in the water you should pay attention to.
For the most part, there are sea urchins, jellyfish, and stingrays to look out for, particularly during scallop season. Thus, you should be cautious of your surroundings. Be careful not to step on stingrays and sea urchins.
In addition to marine creatures, you should be in the know when it comes to the weather forecast. If you are scalloping in the summer, do keep in mind that thunderstorms are quite frequent. Listen to the radio for weather reports before you head out.
Lastly, be ready to haul your anchor and get to safer waters immediately in case there is thunder approaching.
Overall, scalloping is a fun and enjoyable experience. Check out this video to learn more tips on how to catch scallops in Florida to get you all set for your trip:
Learning how to catch scallops in Florida is easy – and these 3 steps just showed you that anyone should be able to do it. So, get your gears all set, apply these tips, and expect an abundant catch on your next scalloping adventure!