Yesterday morning our little flotilla of boats headed north out of the Steinhatchee River in search of scallops. The recent storminess had dumped a lot of fresh-tannin stained river water into the Gulf, so we had to run farther to get to the clear water.
We ran north about 20 minutes until the water changed from tea color to clear green. Unless you happen to be the very first boat on the water, the basic plan is go to where the other boats are and begin your search there. Each boat is flying a dive flag and will have a group of snorkeling scallopers swimming around, so you have to approach slowly and watch for snorkels and bobbing heads as you enter the scallop zone.
Like most things in nature, the scallops seem to cycle through years of abundance and years of scarcity. Scarcity was the word today as we probably only gathered a gallon between our three boats. Each boat is allowed 5 gallons of scallops (in the shell) so you can see our haul was pretty low. Still it was a fun day with great weather. The real treat here is snorkeling in the beautiful Gulf with friends and family. The scallops are just a bonus and an excuse.
The season runs through early September, so there's still time to find the mother lode.
I am going to post some pictures and some tips in case you are considering a scallop expedition.