Tag: scallop report
Boy, the first week of scallop season has been nothing short of fabulous! The last 12 trips have been incredible. Depending on number of swimmers, we have been limiting out almost every time. I am averaging out of those 12 trips, 9.2 gallons. And they have all been in water so shallow you could stand up. Of course obviously we had to fight the weekend crowd on the river. Naturally, with opening weekend and the fourth of July holiday it was one steady parade of boats on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. I have a couple of weekend days left open in July currently but If you have your rathers and would like to go on a trip try to schedule on a weekday. Like I have mentioned before scalloping is a fun family adventure. If you have never been you would surely want to go and enjoy this fun experience, If you have been then I am sure you can’t wait to go again. Who wouldn’t enjoy the salt water Easter egg hunt and then sitting down at night eating some of the white gold of the gulf? We can take up to six and the more the merrier. We can also incorporate more boats for larger parties. On big group trips we all anchor off and tie together and it is one big, fun time. The water temperature has been averaging 83-87 degrees depending on sun, rain or cloud cover. What is also fun like one of my client’s mentioned that he stopped looking for scallops and enjoyed looking at all the marine life for about 15 minutes. Boy you could catch A LOT of scallops in 15 minutes. I am also offering for a small fee a “VIP Package”. It entails an extra 1 and a half hours per trip that includes either extra snorkeling time, a swim at the springs, or a ride on the scallop sled or a little bit of all of the above. So give us a holler and come have the time of your life!
Anglers and scallopers hoping to be on the water at Steinhatchee during the 2013 July 4 holiday weekend were met by rain squalls on both Thursday and Friday. However, by Saturday the humidity fell, the skies (and the water) cleared, and limits of bay scallops, sea trout and redfish were seen at the cleaning table at the Sea Hag Marina as early as 11AM.
As is usually the case during the early days of the recreational bay scallop season, snorkelers find that they often have to move around to find concentrations of the tasty bivalves. Several areas within easy reach from the mouth of the river are considered “trustworthy” and those were the sites of huge gatherings of boats flying dive flags.
To the north, the grass flats near the Big Grass Island bird rack were busy. This area is about 9 miles northwest of the Steinhatchee #1 marker. Here, reports for the past weekend were of better catches in the deeper cuts, with the scallops on the small size, with smaller muscles. Water clarity was good, depending on the tidal flow. The weekend’s pre-new moon tides were strong, and did affect water clarity. The upcoming weekend’s neap tides will be slower, making sighting your prey easier.
To the south of Steinhatchee, there were three areas that attracted scallopers this past weekend. Most popular was the area of grassy flats north of the Pepperfish Keys. The run to Pepperfish is about 9 miles from either Steinhatchee or Horseshoe Beach. This past weekend, snorkelers reported “hundreds” of boats in this area. Other options for Steinhatchee scallopers are the areas off Rocky Creek or Hardy Point, just south of the river mouth. At the southern spots, scallops seemed to be larger and more mature, with a higher yield of meat. The waters to the south were more clear and than those to the north.
For a detailed story on scalloping, please see: Bay Scallops–The Gulf of Mexico’s Tastiest Treat.
Scallopers don’t usually get very close to shore, so anglers targeting reds and seatrout have lots of shoreline all to themselves. Capt. Rick Davidson and I fished the weekend, and found the fish hungry and eager to eat topwater lures. Floating grass was an issue in some areas, but the best bite seemed to be in shallow water (1 to 2- feet), right along the grass, at the bottom of the tide, after the grass had washed away from shore.
On Wednesday, June 26, Governor Rick Scott announced that scalloping season would open two days early this year on Saturday, June 29, due to early counts by the FWC indicating a stronger scallop population than last year. This was great news even if a bit late. We did have number of guests arrive a day or two early – and even more decided last minute to come over and kick off the season with us.
Early opening weekend scalloping was a great success for those that found breaks in the weather.
Nearly all of the Plantation on Crystal River guests limited out within the first few hours of searching for the tasty creatures, so it seems that the FWC counts were pretty accurate. Most divers were finding the scallops in four to six feet of water, just south of the Crystal River area around Gomez Rocks – a popular scalloping location year after year. One of our guests mentioned that they would capture as many as five to seven scallops on one dive.
Chef Eric of the Plantation’s West 82° Bar & Grill stated that over half of his guests on Sunday night brought in scallops for him to cook up. It doesn’t get any fresher or easier that that!
Plantation on Crystal River is also hosting Terry Tomalin, Outdoor Editor for the Tampa Bay Times, host of Everyday Adventures on ABC News and Visit Florida’s Boating & Fishing Insider today (June 1) to kick off the standard first day of scalloping season. Terry and his young crew, his two wonderful children, had a great trip with Captain Don Chancey of Flats Chance Charters finding all the scallops they could gather. Terry is already talking about coming back for more scalloping and fishing action at the Plantation.
For the record we had three guided scalloping trips today taking our guest out; Captain Gary G.T. Cox of Slap Stick Charters had the Kennedy party of 4 people from the Bradenton area, Captain Shawn Walker of Salt River Outfitter Fishing Charters Hausser couple of the Fort Myers area and Captain Mario Castillo of Tall Tales Charters took the Reffner family who are from the Melbourne area. All of our scalloping enthusiasts dealt with the less than perfect weather conditions and managed to collect their limit of scallops today.
The Plantation’s seawall was full of boats this morning, the count was over 70. All of them were gearing up with masks & snorkels, fins, sunscreen, dive flags, scalloping bags and a cooler full of refreshments. The great thing about scalloping is as you eat and drink what you have brought with you in the cooler you just replace it with the scallops you have gathered. The early reports from the guests are all the same, lots of fun and lots and scallops for everyone on July 1, all that’s left to do now is clean them.
Plantation on Crystal River
9301 West Fort Island Trail
Crystal River, Florida 34429
(352) 795-4211 / 800-632-6262
Another load of big scallops yesterday. We found them just southeast of Gomez in 2 feet at low tide. No other boats in the area.
From now on till it gets cold red fishing is the dependable choice. I like starting out a few hours before high tide and giving each outside point 10 minutes or so with a pinfish steak. It is the same old song unless you are new to it.
The other day we saw a bull shark of human size brushing the spartina as it hunted the shoreline. That is a lot of shark in 18 inches of water.
The best way to beat the heat is to jump out of the boat and into the water. Scalloping is were it’s at, especially when the heat index tops 100 degrees. The best areas continue to be north and south of Homosassa channel marker # 6. Look for dark grassy bottom and anchor up. Remember to put up the dive flag before anyone enters the water. A few things that I look for while I’m searching for scallops is the small meadows of short grass that is within the tall turtle grass. These little meadows are usually the hot spots that hold the largest concentrations of scallops. Before I dive down to pick up a scallop, I like to scan the immediate area to see if there are any others close by. Your field of vision is much greater at the surface of the water then right down near the bottom. When I have sighted all the scallops then I’ll make a route to dive down to pick them all up in one breath. Some mistakes I’ve done in the past would be to dive down just for one scallop, only to spot another one on the way up to lose sight of it from kicking with my flipper toward to bottom, stirring up the silt. I’ve found that swimming into the current also helps me spot them because you can see up under the grass easier and when your tire the current will give you a free ride back to the boat. The hardest part of the whole scalloping experience is the cleaning process. If you chose to clean them yourselves it can be a good time because you can work together as a family or as friends. The way I prefer is to drop them off at one of the local folks who offer their services from the docks, then travel up river to the springs to cool off.
Redfishing continues to be O.K. at best, but I know that the schools of reds that come every year are just around the corner. This weekend’s tides look good for scalloping in the morning and around lunch time try for redfish on the incoming high tide. The best areas have been around Mason Creek and Pea Pass. Capt. William Toney www.homosassainshorefishing.com
Took a side trip on the way home from Naples yesterday and visited the folks at Weeki Wachee Marina. Good talk, and learned that they’re having a great year. Scalloping has been excellent at both Bayport (near the end of the channel in deeper water) and Hernando Beach. And judging from the crowded Bayport boat ramp, I’d say it’s better than excellent. Someone told me that there’s just NO parking to be found at that ramp/park after about 10AM! However, the Jenkins Creek ramp on CR597/Hernando Beach Drive is a good bet, although you’re farther from the Gulf. Nice ride, though.