PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — It's summertime and that means Tampa Bay area divers get a chance to harvest our local bay scallops.
The window is just 10 days long and runs from July 16-25 in Pasco County. So, if you want to get your hands on some scallops, it's time to get prepared.
Snorkelers of all ages and levels of experience can enjoy scalloping in our local seagrass beds. You can either use a small net or just your hands to grab the mollusks.
But it's important to be aware of the latest regulations.
As far as equipment, you'll want a face mask, snorkel, fins, and a small mesh bag to collect your scallops. You'll also need a Divers-Down flag, per Florida law, so other boaters know that you have people in the water.
Divers will have to stay within 300 feet of the Divers-Down flag, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
In Pasco County, divers can only collect two gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or one pint of bay scallop meat per day. Plus, a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell – or half a gallon of bay scallop meat – can be collected per vessel each day.
Some cool scalloping tips from The Rosie Traveler include starting your collecting early in the morning, searching for the saltwater clams in shallow areas, and also looking in tall grass underwater as it serves as a hiding place.
Not used to the scallop hunting scene? No problem! Experts at Florida Sports Coast say going with a local fishing charter guide is a good choice if you are unfamiliar with the waters.
Guides provide saltwater fishing licenses that cover up to five people, and they know exactly where to find the scallops.
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