Nature Coast Fishing Report – July 2022

Let the hunt for the Blue-eyed Scallops begin!  One of the busiest times of the year here on the Nature Coast begins on Friday, July 1st with the start of Scallop Season and ends on Saturday, September 24th.  Florida’s scallop fishery has been open only to recreational harvest since commercial harvest and sale was prohibited in 1994.  The daily bag limit for scallops throughout the allowable harvest zone is 2 gallons of whole scallops (in the shell), or 1 pint of scallop meat (shucked), per person since 1995.  In addition, no more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or ½ gallon of scallop meat may be possessed on any vessel, regardless of the number of harvesters aboard.  Enjoy a scenic ride out the rivers of the Nature Coast to the BEST scalloping grounds in the state!  Snorkel in crystal clear water usually waist or chest deep over pristine grass flats and bag your limit of the tasty mollusks.  Scalloping is part snorkeling experience, part treasure dive and part saltwater fishing experience that can be enjoyed by family member of all ages.  Spend quality time with your family or friends and create memories that will last a lifetime enjoying what’s best described as an “Underwater Easter Egg Hunt”!

After what was probably our best season ever last year we are hoping for another banner crop!  This adventure is about sharing time on the water with your family and/or friends, enjoying the outdoors and if you manage to catch any scallops that’s a tasty bonus!  Scalloping is a magical experience and it’s like swimming in a “giant aquarium” as you never know what you’re going to see!  The peaceful and serene lush grass beds flow back and forth with the current and the sparkle of sunlight creates a whimsical pattern.  The water, the sea life and the waving grass make this experience addicting and something that you’ll want to do time and time again.  It’s so fun and easy!  If you’ve never experienced scallop season on the Gulf, it’s impossible to describe until you see it with your own eyes, it’s a floating city.  At the beginning of the season and every weekend during July you can almost walk from boat to boat.  It’s an unforgettable visual experience!  It’s important to be safe with all the boats and folks in the water.  Boaters must make reasonable efforts to stay at least 300 feet away from divers-down warning devices in open water and at least 100 feet away in rivers, inlets, or navigation channels.  Boaters approaching divers-down warning devices closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets, or navigation channels must slow down to idle speed.  As my Granddaughter Isabella, said years ago, the best part about scalloping is eating what we like to refer to as “Dollops of Goodness”!!  Please be safe and courteous, dive flags and fins up!!