A bountiful scallop season has many Ocalans and other Florida residents bringing in their catch limits since the season began nearly a month ago. Folks snorkeling the waters of nearby Crystal River and Homosassa are finding plenty of the well camouflaged gulf mollusks. This year’s scallop season runs from June 25th through September 25th has drawn big crowds of boats to these warm, shallow waters. It is truly a fun day for the entire family!
All that’s needed to go scallop fishing is a boat, driver, fins, mask, snorkel, a net bag and of course, a fishing license (unless you’re a child under the age of 16 or a Florida resident over 65 years of age). Once the anchor is set, jump in and start hunting the tall grass at the gulf’s bottom. The elusive scallops’ shell is well hidden within the grass but with a keen eye, fishermen can spot their bright blue “eyes” peering from their perch. With a deep breath, the angler dives down and plucks the soon to be dish from its hiding spot and places it in the net bag. The practice is repeated until the bag can hold no more or the area is bare from previous scallopers. Once on the boat, the scallops are placed in a cooler of ice to stay fresh for shucking later in the day. The boat is moved from location to location until the limit of 2 gallons per person is caught. When that’s achieved, you’re day of fishing is over.
Shucking and cleaning scallops should be done by an experienced member of the group…it’s not an easy process. But the tasty rewards hidden in these shelled beauties are worth the work! Scallops are delicious in many different recipes…but that’s another topic altogether!