The Tampa Bay Times

Captain’s Corner: Easter in July try Scalloping

Capt Jim Lemke Times Correspondent

What’s the best way to cool off in July and August? Go Scalloping. It’s like going on an underwater Easter egg hunt with a bag of tasty scallops to cook up at the end of the day.

The most popular place’s to scallop is in Homosassa and Steinhatchee in 4 feet of water on out to 12 feet with the average depth being 4 to 7 feet of water that is what most people dive in. What I look for when I go scalloping is a sea grass bed with sand holes in them. You also want to look for the shorter thinner grass that grows in the sand and that is where you will find them.

You probably want to know what a scallop looks like will it looks like the Shell gas station sign with a dark top shell and a white bottom with Scallops are blue-eyed. Encircling each shell are about 20 pairs of small bright blue eyes. When you see them in the grass the darker side is up and the opposite when they are in the sand most of the time.

The regulations are 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 as your Daily Bag Limit with no Minimum Size Limit. The boundary line is the waters from the Pasco-Hernando County line near Aripeka to Beach Canal in Bay County. The season this year is from July 1th – September 24th and a special season this year in Pasco County from July 16-25, 2021 (opens third Friday in July and continues 10 days). This region includes all state waters south of the Hernando – Pasco County line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse in northern Pinellas County, and includes all waters of the Anclote River. Anyone can do this all you need is a mask, snorkel, fins, and a catch bag to put your scallops in. If you look at the tides and dive the last part of the outgoing tide and the first part of the incoming tide and you can hit those deeper spots. If you don’t want to take your boat up there you can hire a Scalloping Captains in the area you plan on going.

Capt Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, Homosassa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at or or

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