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Scalloping





The succulent scallops found in the shallow waters of St. Joe Bay are not only delicious, they are loads of fun to find and catch! That's why in late summer, hundreds of snorkelers and waders make their way across the bay's grass flats looking for the elusive mollusks. St. Joe Bay is one of only a few places in Florida where bay scallops can be harvested, and the fun is celebrated each fall at the Florida Scallop and Music Festival in Port St. Joe.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Scallop harvesting is regulated and enforced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. There are specific rules that must be observed, and those rules, as well as how to find them can change every year.

For the lastest rules regarding the season dates, bag limits, equipment requirements, etc. please visit MyFWC.com and search for "recreational Scalloping". (As of 7/24/2017 this is the link: http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/bay-scallops/)
EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:

  • For some, the only equipment needed is a good pair of wading shoes and a mesh bag.
  • Most scallopers prefer to use a mask, snorkel and swim fins to assist in the search.
  • A boat will get you to more places, but isn't completely necessary.
  • SCUBA divers and swimmers using a mask and snorkel are required to carry a divers-down flag.
  • If the divers-down flag is displayed from the highest part of your boat, divers must make reasonable efforts to stay within 300 feet of their flag.
  • Take plenty of drinking water, and USE SUNSCREEN. The cool water is deceiving...you will burn, and ruin your vacation.
  • I FOUND THEM...NOW WHAT?

  • Only take from the water as many as you plan to clean. If it's your first time, take less.
  • The proper way to shuck a scallop is to place the shellfish on ice. The cold will slightly open most of the shells. Each scallop has a dark shell and a lighter one. Place the lighter side down and run a knife along the top part of the inside of the dark shell. This separates the muscle from the dark shell and loosens the dark-colored innards that you don't want to eat. Done properly, the dark parts slide out, leaving the white muscle, which can then be cut away from the lower shell.
  • Scallops are prepared most any way you'd cook shrimp, including sauteed, blackened or fried. They work well in chowders, and are perfect sauteed with garlic in white wine sauce over pasta. Avoid overcooking...will make the meat tough.
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