Every summer, residents and visitors gather across the shores of Wakulla County to harvest delicious bay scallops and beat the heat on the Gulf of Mexico. Here is what you need to know to get started on planning your own scalloping trip.
2023 Scalloping Season Basics
The 2023 scalloping season for the shores of Wakulla County is open from July 1 to September 24, 2023. This season applies to all recreational harvesting of bay scallops in these waters.
Catching bay scallops is simple and fun, and the whole family can partake as long as everyone practices safety recommendations and adheres to the legal requirements. The best place to look for bay scallops is near the bottom of seagrass beds where the sandy part of the ocean floor butts up against the grassier areas. Some scalloping areas may be reachable on foot, while others require you to take a boat slightly offshore.
Wakulla County Scalloping Legal Requirements
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission maintains strict scalloping practices for the enjoyment of everyone and the preservation of this important natural resource. First, it’s important to note that harvesters between the ages of 16 and 65 are required to have a valid Florida fishing license on them while collecting scallops.
The bag limit is 2 gallons of whole scallops (in the shell), or 1 pint of scallop meat, per person per day. In addition, you may not keep more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or 1/2 gallon of scallop meat aboard any vessel at any time. It’s considered wise to only keep scallops that are 1.5 inches to 2 inches in size, both because they are generally large enough to eat, and it allows the smaller specimens more time to grow.
Preparing Your Fresh Catch
Bay scallops are as delicious as they are versatile, and enjoying a meal of freshly prepared scallops is one of the true pleasures of harvesting them. Simply sautée them in butter and garlic and serve with pasta and a generous garnish of herbs to create a memorable summer dinner. Bay scallops also make great ceviche when cured in citrus juice and refrigerated for 6 to 8 hours, and then added to accompaniments such as chopped tomato, onion, jalapeno, and olives.
Making the Most of Your Scalloping Excursion
Some common items that you may need for scalloping include a swim mask, swim fins, snorkel, and a mesh bag for holding your catch. Keep in mind that you are required by law to display a divers flag when snorkelers are in the water. Visit one of our many marine supply stores to get outfitted for your trip, and discover how many more incredible fishing opportunities await you in the waters of Wakulla County.