Scalloping Season

Everything You Need to Know About
Scalloping Season in Cape San Blas Florida

2021 scalloping season map

When is scalloping season St Joseph Bay in Cape San Blas?

Each area of this Florida has a different time that is allowed for scallop harvesting.

Cape San Blas is in the far left light green section called St. Joseph Bay and Gulf CountyAug. 16-Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.

Daily Bag Limit:

  • Gulf-NW Taylor County and Levy-Pasco County:
    • Per person: 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat
    • Per vessel: Maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat (1/2 gallon = 4 pints)

What do I need to have to go Scalloping?

Here are a few key items you will need to get before you go scalloping.

  • Mask, Snorkle and Fins- You have to see them, to catch them.
  • Dive Flag - Safety first, let others know you are swimming in the water.
  • Mesh Bag - Where else are you going to put your scallops?
  • Florida Fishing License - It's the law.
  • Sun Screen - Protect your skin.
  • Boat - Makes it easier to get to the 4-8 feet of water where scallops are typically found.
  • Ice - Scallops are sensitive. Put them on ice once out of water.
  • Knife or spoon -  You need a utensil to clean scallops..
  • Food and Drinks - Keep yourself hydrated and energized.

Good news! Scallop Cove sells all these items above! If you don't want to buy gear, Scallop Cove Too in St Joesph State Park rents out equipment and pontoon boats.

How to find scallops:

The best water depth to find scallops is usually 4 – 8 feet. Look for clear water with sea-grass beds. You will find scallops in the sea-grass or at the edges of the sandy spots. They are usually easiest to see in the areas where the sand bottom meets the edge of the sea-grasses. Scallops may try to swim away when they see you but they do not swim very fast or very far.
One piece of useful equipment is a mesh bag to store your scallops while you are underwater gathering as scallops can sometimes pinch.

When you are done scalloping immediately place the scallops in a live well or if you do not have a live well, on ice in a cooler keeping the scallops separated from the melting ice water runoff. Scallops are quite sensitive.

Grab your snorkel, mask, and fins and head out scalloping!!!

You may find it easier to get to the where scallops live by boat. If you want to rent one of our pontoon boats, call or go online to reserve yours today.

How to clean a scallop:

Here is one way:
As soon as you take the scallops out of the water, put them on ice until you clean them. Take one and hold the scallop in the palm of a hand and using a oyster knife (which Scallop Cove sells), insert it into the shell and cut the muscle away from one half of the muscle. Then scrape and throw out the guts away from around the muscle, and then put the muscle into a container with ice. Do that process to each until you don't have any more.  Cook it however you'd like and enjoy!

Do you need a fishing license to scallop?

YES!  Come into Scallop Cove Bait and Tackle shop today for yours!

Recreational harvesters need a Florida saltwater fishing license to harvest bay scallops unless they are 1. exempt from needing a license or 2. have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and are wading from shore to collect scallops (i.e. feet do not leave bottom to swim, snorkel, or SCUBA and harvesters do not use a vessel to reach or return from the harvest location).

How to snorkle:

Never snorkeled before and want to go scalloping? Here are a few tips:

  1. Get a mask, snorkel and, Fins that fit. We at Scallop Cove can help with buying or renting all the equipment you need.
  2. Put out a dive flag before getting in the water. Safety first! This lets other around you know there are people in the water.
  3. Don't go alone. Bring someone with you to enjoy the experience.
  4. Breathe normal. Practice in shallow water or while holding onto something floating. Keep the top of the snorkel afloat and if water comes in, you can easily blow the water out.
  5. Do not bite the tube. Your jaw and mouth will get tired very fast.
  6. Float more than swim. Don't swim too hard or you will breathe hard which makes snorkeling harder. Just glide along at your own pace. Also if you move too fast, you will miss the scallops!
  7. Relax. You should be having fun, so relax and enjoy the water!

How many scallops can you take during season?

Daily Bag limit is 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person
Maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel

How to clean shells:

Here are some tips to brighten them and remove any smell:

Smell: Hand rinsed in warm water and leave in 3 parts water, 1 part bleach for 24 hours to totally clean and remove any smell. Thoroughly scrub the shells after soaking.

Brighten: After they are clean and dry for at least 24 hours, rub each dry shell with baby oil or mineral oil.

Will you miss scalloping season?

There is still plenty to do! You can still fish, rent a pontoon or a kayak to go explore!