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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: scallop

Plan Ahead For 2018–FWC discusses regional bay scallop seasons on Big Bend

by on Dec.09, 2017, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST

At its December meeting in Gainesville, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) discussed draft changes that would create regionally-specific bay scallop open seasons and would allow a trial scalloping season in state waters off Pasco County in 2018. Stakeholder input gathered over the past year was presented to the Commission along with an overview of the bay scallop fishery, an update on the status of scallops in St. Joseph Bay, and proposed management changes for the fishery.

This draft proposal includes both long- and short-term changes and will be brought back before the Commission at the February meeting for a final public hearing.

Regionally-specific open seasons, if approved, would mean the timing of the summer bay scallop season would vary across the allowable harvest area to provide a better scalloping experience for the public and maximize the benefits to various regions. For some regions, that means having a season that starts later so that scallops are bigger when the season begins and for other areas, that means having a season that starts during early summer to allow for more opportunities for those on summer break.

Allowing a short trial season in Pasco County, which has been closed to harvest since 1994, would likely provide an economic benefit to the county and create opportunities for local residents to scallop in their nearby waters.

If approved in February, long-term regionally-specific open seasons would include:

  • Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark, and St. Marks): July 1 through Sept. 24.
  • The remaining portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County (including Keaton Beach and the Steinhatchee area): the third Saturday in June through Sept. 10.
  • Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 10 through Sept. 10.

If approved in February, the following open seasons will be created by executive order for 2018 only:

  • St. Joseph Bay and Gulf County: Aug. 17 through Sept. 30, 2018.
  • Pasco County: Establish a 10-day open season to run July 20-29, 2018.

The FWC will set a long-term season in St. Joseph Bay once the population in that area has more fully rebuilt.

Share your input on these season changes by visiting MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments or emailing Marine@MyFWC.com. You can also learn more by viewing a workshop presentation at MyFWC.com/Fishing (click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Public Comments/Workshops” and “Workshops.”

For more information or to view the presentations given at the Commission meeting, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings,” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

Proposed 2018 Regional Bay Scallop Seasons

Map of tentative 2018 seasons. Final approval for these draft seasons will be considered at the February Commission meeting.

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2017 bay scallop season in Dixie/Taylor counties set

by on Feb.11, 2017, under Hernando and Pasco Gulf Coast, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Shell Point to Lanark, Ochlockonee Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee, Suwannee, Yankeetown and Waccasassa

The 2017 bay scallop season for Dixie County and parts of Taylor County will be open from June 16 through Sept. 10. This includes all state waters from the Suwannee River through the Fenholloway River. These changes are for 2017 only and are an opportunity to explore regionally-specific bay scallop seasons.

These changes were discussed at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) meeting on Feb. 8, where staff was directed to work with local community leaders on selecting potential 2017 season dates and to adopt changes by executive order.

At the Feb. 8 meeting, staff also updated the Commission on the status of bay scallops in St. Joseph Bay in Gulf County, and set a July 25 through Sept. 10 recreational bay scallop season off Gulf County, including all waters in St. Joseph Bay and those west of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County, through the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.

A prolonged red tide event in late 2015 negatively impacted the scallop population in St. Joseph Bay, which led to modified local scallop regulations for 2016 that included a shortened season and reduced bag limits. FWC researchers conducted a scallop restoration project last year within St. Joseph Bay to help speed the recovery of the scallop population. These efforts have been going well and the scallop population has shown signs of improvement. Staff will conduct similar restoration efforts in 2017.

All other portions of the bay scallop harvest zone will be open from July 1 through Sept. 24. This includes all state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County and from north and west of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.

Bag and vessel limits throughout the entire bay scallop harvest zone will be 2 gallons whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.

At the December 2017 Commission meeting, staff will review public feedback on these changes and make a recommendation for future management. To submit your feedback on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/SaltwaterComments.

For more information on these changes, visit MyFWC.com/Commission and select “Commission Meetings,” then click on the link below “Next Meeting.”

For information on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”

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Steinhatchee/Taylor County Scallop Report, July 23, 2014

by on Jul.23, 2014, under Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Steinhatchee

The first month of Florida’s 2014 recreational scallop season has been a busy one at Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.  Scallop season is always the busiest time of the year for these Gulf ports, with record sales at marinas, busy motels, waits for tables at restaurants, and busy boat ramps.  Rental boats are sometimes available on short notice, but for the most part, they’ve been reserved for months.  The same goes for lodging.

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Scalloping isn’t hard work.  About all you need to be able to do is snorkel in 3 to 6-feet of water and to scoop them up by hand.  This year, you’ll spend a bit more time catching your 2-gallon (in the shell) limit, but the scallops ARE there.  Scallopers leaving from the Sea Hag, River Haven and Good Times marinas seem to be having the best luck to the north, off Clay Creek, Fishermans Rest, Big Grass Island and Piney Point.  And unlike last year, the scallops are close to shore in very clear water.

The best time to scallop is during the lower phase of the tide, and while the sun is overhead.  The sunlight draws the scallops to the top of the grass, making them easy to spot and the low tide makes reaching down for them from a swimming position easier.

For a general look at scalloping, take a look at “Bay Scallops, The Gulf of Mexico’s Tastiest Treat“.

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Scallops “In The Raw”….Try Ceviche This Season!

by on Jun.27, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, Recipes and Food, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee

Scallop Ceviche is easy to make--and very tasty!Scallop Ceviche* is easy to make–and very tasty!

A sophisticated approach to eating freshly shucked scallops is to ‘cook’ them in a marinade and serve them as a salad.  Scallops prepared as a ceviche have been pickled, in a sense, and are delicious.

Scallop Ceviche

2 individual limits of shucked scallops (about 2 pounds or 2 pints), drained

For the marinade:

1-1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

4 small Serrano peppers, seeded and very finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small red onion, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

fresh cilantro leaves,  for garnish

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a zipper-style bag.  You can refrigerate this marinade for a day of so, if necessary.  Two hours before serving, add the scallops and mix.  Drain away the excess juices and assemble the ceviche over salad greens or an avocado half.  Touch everything off with a garnish with cilantro leaves.  Dinner is served.

A meal of fresh bay scallops, no matter how they’re prepared, is perfect way to end the perfect day on the water with the family.

*Eating uncooked seafood has its risks.  Always consult a medical professional regarding your personal situation before eating uncooked seafood.

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Citrus and Taylor County Scalloping Guide Available, Summer 2014

by on Jun.25, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Steinhatchee

The new Citrus County guide features completely updated boat ramp and marina locator that Florida Sea Grant has published for the last several years.


And don’t forget about the companion, the Taylor County scalloping guide and marina locator map.

Both guides feature historically abundant scalloping areas, boat ramp and marina locations, rules and regulations, and recipes!

Readers can order one free copy of each brochure by emailing us at info@flseagrant.org, or calling us at (352) 392-2801, or downloading the whole thing at  https://www.flseagrant.org/fisheries/scalloping/

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Great fishing and scalloping along the Nature Coast—Report from Capt. Kyle Messier, 9/4/13

by on Sep.07, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

As August came and went with a Bang! Nature Coast Anglers were spoiled with great shallow water fishing and scalloping action through out the month. Although the month of August was a little rainier than most the stronger than normal tides helped to keep our gin clear waters clean allowing for ample opportunities to sight fish and find scallops. Over the last few weeks cooler rains have helped trigger a downward spiral in water temperatures driving in tons of schools of bait fish and creating feeding frenzies up and down the Nature Coast.

As we dive into the month of September visitors to the area can expect a wealth of opportunities both in and out of the water. For those folks that are more interested in diving in and checking out what’s going on underwater, September marks the final month of our scallop season. As advertised the areas of Crystal River, Homosassa, and Ozello continue to boast the best Scalloping in the state and should continue to do so for the rest of the season (September 24). Late season scallopers will find the boat traffic to be next to nil during the month of September and with the lack of boat traffic allowing scallops to grow larger this time of year many mesh bags will be filled with some of the biggest bay scallops of the season.

As great as the Scallop Season has been, the fishing has been even better along the Nature Coast. Big fish, tasty fish and a few exotics have made this summer season one to remember. A major highlight of the summer has been the abundance and size of the Giant Black Drum that have been roaming the shallow water flats along the Crystal River areas. Schools of a 100+ fish ranging from 20-60lbs have been the top targets as of late and with their willingness to take a shrimp, crab, or fly this is definitely a fish that has surely heated up our summer season.

Speaking of exotics, over the recent weeks many fishermen/women along the Nature Coast have been spoiled with great catches of Summer Flounder, Cobia, and Snook. The Nature Coast of Florida is not normally known as a major destination for anglers targeting these 3 species during this time of year but with the milder than normal winter and a cooler than normal May effecting migratory habits many fishing oddities are becoming more prevalent. Making these situations even more appealing is the fact that these 3 species can be targeted along many of the same structures. The plethora of oyster bars, spoil islands and rock flats that are scattered across the Nature Coast make great areas to target these species. Jigs, small swimming plugs, live shrimp and pinfish make great search baits for targeting all 3 species. The key when fishing these areas where anything can happen is being ready for anything. A variety of rods rigged differently is the key to maximizing your fishing opportunities this month!!

So whether you’re looking for some action in or out of the water, something BIG or something TASTY the Nature Coast of Florida has what you’re looking for. Please feel free to contact Florida Fishing Adventures when you’re ready to plan your next inshore fishing adventure.

Capt. Kyle Messier
(352) 634-4002
kylemessier@yahoo.com
WWW.FLORIDAFISHINGADVENTURES.COM
WWW.CRYSTALRIVER-FLYFISHING.COM

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Scallop Report, Crystal River, From Capt. Marrio Castello, 8/13/13

by on Aug.13, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

The scalloping in Crystal River and Homosassa this week has been great.  We have been getting our limits within just a few hours even with folks that have never been scalloping before.  The water clarity in 4 to 5 feet has been outstanding and the weather has been cooperating quite nicely.  After a hard day of scalloping you can take a refreshing dip in one of our local springs.

Scalloping provides the perfect opportunity to get the family to enjoy some quality time together and introduce them to the outdoors.  If you have a boat, you should give scalloping a try. You will need some basic gear (mask, snorkel, fins, dive flag) to get you going.  If you do not live around the Crystal River area but want to experience a scalloping adventure, there are places like The Plantation that offer all inclusive packages for a very reasonable price.  Kind of like a mini vacation.  There is no better feeling for me (as a guide) to hear a child say to their parents “This is so much fun.  Can we do it again next year?”


Tall Tales Charters
Captain Marrio Castello
352-454-7719
www.talltaleschartersfl.com

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July 2, 2013 Scallop Report, Capt. Marrio Castello, Crystal River, FL

by on Jul.02, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Ozello to Crystal River

We have been getting limits of scallops on all of the trips this week even with the bad weather.  The water has been higher than normal because of the low pressure ,  west winds, and higher than normal tides.  Water that is usually 3′ to 4′ deep have been 6′ to 7′ deep.  Visibility is not too bad even with all of the rain.  Good news is that the jellyfish seem to be somewhere else.

We have been hitting the same old spots that produce every season between Gomez Rock and St Martins Keys.  There are still a few knuckleheads out there running their boats on plane thru the crowds so be careful if you decide to go out there.


Tall Tales Charters
Captain Marrio Castello
352-454-7719
www.talltaleschartersfl.com

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2013 Bay Scalloping Season to Open Early–June 29!

by on Jun.26, 2013, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Horseshoe Beach, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay, St. Marks, Aucilla and Econfina, Steinhatchee, Suwannee

The FWC has just announced that the season for harvesting bay scallops has been extended and will now open on June 29, rather than July 1.  That means there will be an extra weekend to have a great time and bring home some good eats!

If you’re not a seasoned scalloper, you might want to read “Bay Scallops–The Gulf of Mexico’s Tastiest Treat“.  Just click HERE

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Homosassa Inshore Fishing Weekly Report, August 7, 2012, from Capt. Willliam Toney

by on Aug.07, 2012, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa

Although the number of scallops around the Gomez Rocks area have been hit very hard during the month of July, boat limits are still being taken from this area. The water is nice and shallow during the low tide phase and this makes it easier to find the scallops. I’ve had to move two or three times during my recent scallop trips but most of the time we have gotten our limit within 3 hours. Another area that’s starting to really shine is south of Homosassa Marker 6. The water is deeper there but from the accounts that I’ve heard there is allot of scallops off of Chassahowithzka Point. I recommend planning your trip on the low tide if you plan on heading south of the river.
The inshore rock piles are starting to come alive with mangrove snapper. A few that I’ve snorkeled over this past week had some nice keeper sized mangrove snapper up to about 15”.  Chumming with glass minnow or pieces of shrimp  is a good way to to get them fired up to bite. Free lined shrimp is good bait but you can also catch them on a chartreuse jig head with a plastic shrimp or scented soft plastics like the MirrOlure LiL Johns. The shrimp won’t last as long as an artificial bait and the artificial will also catch some of the other reef fish like sea bass, flounder, spanish mackerel, and gag grouper.
Near shore the trout bite has been good on the north side of the Chassahowitzka channel as long as there is cloud cover or some chop from the wind. If it is calm the trout fishing is very tough. The best bait for me has been the D.O.A. Deadly combo with a electric chicken CAL Shad underneath it. Red fishing has been O.K. I can catch a few but I’ve had to work for them. Some of my better days we’ve caught 8 or 10 reds but most of the time it’s been around six. Live shrimp or cut mullet works the best and make sure to have both because some days they prefer to have one over the other. High incoming tide this weekend will be in the morning.

Capt. William Toney
www.homosassainshorefishing.com

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