Recreational scalloping along Florida’s Adventure Coast is finally here! Are you ready? Here are some answers to some FAQ about scalloping in Hernando County.
Is there somewhere I can walk off of the shore and go scalloping? Scallops are mobile animals and can be closer to shore, but the chances of finding more than a handful are low. Bay scallops fair better in salty water. Areas near Bayport and Hernando Beach encounter freshwater input from systems, such as the Weeki Wachee and Chassahowitzka Rivers, making the coastal areas less salty. Additionally, much of Hernando’s coastline is covered in dense saltmarsh grasses and vegetation making access points to walk from challenging to come by.
Can I access the scalloping grounds with a kayak?
Most bay scallops in Hernando waters are at least four to five miles offshore in lush manatee and turtle seagrass beds. Harvesting can only be done by hand or dip net. Kayaking such a distance coupled with exit and reentry of the kayak may be dangerous, especially when summertime storms arise.
How deep is the water where the scallops are located?
Because bay scallops hang out a few miles offshore, waters in these areas range from five to ten feet in depth. It is essential to check the tides before venturing out, as the water depth, clarity of the water, and current can quickly change with shifting tides.
A few other things to consider during the trip to the scalloping grounds:
• Areas between launch points and scalloping grounds can become very shallow. Practice seagrass safe boating by avoiding the areas, trimming the motor, or walking the vessel to deeper water. These behaviors not only help preserve the seagrasses scallops and other marine life rely on, but they also help protect lower units and boat hulls from damage.
• Let someone on land know your plans for the day. They can send help if you need it!
• Afternoon thunderstorms are common in Florida. As a general rule of practice, scallop or fish at the furthest location from the launch point first and make your way back as the day progresses. It makes for a shorter distance to run if a storm arises.
What is the best method for storing scallops on the boat? The critical thing to keep in mind when storing scallops is temperature. Anglers often keep bay scallops in a bucket of water on the vessel’s hot deck. Instead, hang the scallops in a bag alongside the vessel, ensuring it is fully submerged, or store the scallops in a cooler full of lots of ice. If you decide to place the scallops on ice, be sure they are above the meltwater. Place a damp towel between the scallops and ice and drain the meltwater from your cooler throughout your trip.
Once I find the scallops, how do I clean them? We have many resources to help guide you through this process! Check out the video below or our recent step-by-step blog here.