Guide to Scalloping in Florida

Guide to Scalloping in Florida

Spending a day out in the water diving for scallops is one of the best things you can do during your time in Florida. There are many great spots up and down the coast, from Crystal River to Hommassee — offering endless opportunities to swim with the fish and have fun with your family and friends.

When Is Scalloping Season in Florida? 

Scalloping isn't a year-round activity and is only permitted during specific times during the year, typically in the warmer months. Florida's coastal counties create opening and closing dates for their bay scalloping season, normally starting around July 1 and running until September 24. Specific season dates in popular scalloping areas near Perry include: 

  • Gulf County Zone: August 16 to September 24
  • Fenholloway to Suwannee River Zone: June 15 to Labor Day
  • Levi, Citrus and Hernando Counties: July 1 to September 24
  • Pasco County: July 1 to August 6
  • Franklin to Northwestern Taylor County: July 1 to September 24

How to Catch Scallops

People enjoy scalloping in Florida waters for several reasons, from reveling in the thrill of the catch to collecting beautiful shells. Many even go hunting for scallops to bring home a tasty and fresh seafood dinner, perfect for summertime. Scallops are usually found at depths of 4 to 8 feet in clear water and within seagrass beds or on the edges of sandy spots. They are known to have different colored sides making them difficult to spot against the sand. 

Once you've found an area you want to explore more, you can strap on your snorkel and wade in the water while you scan the bottom for these prized mollusks. With your bare hands or a dip net, you can swim to the bottom, gently collect any scallops you see and place them into a mesh bag. When you find one, chances are there are plenty more to be found. They may try to swim away from you, but they aren't likely to get too far. 

Scallops are highly sensitive to temperature and will die quickly when they get too warm, so they must be kept cool until you're ready to open them up. While you can preserve your scallops on ice, they must be separate from any melting runoff, as freshwater will also kill them. 

Rules and Regulations of Scalloping

Before you set out on your scalloping adventure near Perry, Florida, it's wise to read up on the rules and regulations associated with this popular pastime. Unless you're on a charter boat, you'll need a license to legally collect scallops if you're over 16 and under 65. These passes are affordable and available in single-day, three-day and seven-day configurations. 

You'll also have to comply with catch limits. They vary depending on where you are, but they usually allow up to two gallons per person and 10 gallons per boat. Counties also set limits for shucked scallops, permitting up to one pint of shucked scallops and ½ gallon for the boat. Your boat must also display a Diver Down Flag with divers in the water, staying within 300 feet of the vessel. 

Enjoy Catching Florida Scallops at Perry KOA Holiday

Are you looking for a place to stay between long days spent on the water? Perry KOA Holiday offers a campground with all the amenities to help you recharge and refuel. We are right off U.S. Route 19, giving you easy access to all the best scalloping spots in the area. Reserve your campsite today! 

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