For the first time in 24 years, Florida has opened bay scallops to harvest in Pasco County. This 10-day trial season began on Friday. Reports from the opening few days in the southern part of the county were very good. The water was clean, and scallops were abundant and exceptionally large. Many boats caught limits of the tasty bivalves on the first two days of the season and most others went home with enough for a family meal. The bag limit is two gallons of whole scallops per person with a maximum of 10 gallons per boat. While some of the best spots have had lots of boats working them over, Pasco has over 200,000 acres of grass flats so there is plenty to explore. We went to one of the primary areas on opening morning and caught our limit in a few hours. The next day we avoided the crowds and hunted for new spots. We caught a respectable batch snorkeling around in more remote areas with little boat traffic. There are quite a few scallops in very shallow water. Our best results were in 4-5 feet of water where most of the divers are, but we also found quite a few in 2-3 feet which is great if you have kids participating in their first Pasco scallop hunt. Law enforcement is checking the catches and keeping things safe for divers so make sure all harvesters have up-to-date fishing licenses and dive flags properly displayed when people are in the water.
Ed Walker charters out of Tarpon Springs. He can be contacted at email@example.com.