Scalloping in the bay waters is one of the most beloved summer traditions in Wakulla County for residents and visitors alike! The vast shallow grass beds near the water create an inviting habitat for sweet, succulent bay scallops, and while you’re out there trying to harvest them you have the added benefit of taking in the incredible scenery of Wakulla County in all its summer glory. This year, the scalloping season lasts from Saturday, June 25 until Saturday, September 24, so you have three whole months to test your skills in our spectacular waters.
What you need to know about scalloping in Wakulla County
Scalloping with friends and family is great fun, but it’s important to remember that you have to follow state regulations at all times, just like when you’re fishing. You have to have an active Florida saltwater fishing license in order to harvest scallops, and it has to be on your person at the time. For more information on obtaining a Florida saltwater fishing license, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Additionally, there are limits to the amount of scallops each person can harvest. Some of the relevant limits on scallop harvesting include:
- 2 gallons of intact scallops per person (in the shell)
- 10 gallons of intact scallops per boat (in the shell)
- 1 pint of scallop meat per person
- 1/2 gallon of scallop meat per boat
By adhering to all the Florida regulations for scalloping, you can help ensure that everyone has a chance to responsibly enjoy this special season.
Tips for safe and fun scalloping
They whole family can share in the scalloping adventure, but there are a few safety guidelines you should pay attention to. If you’re diving from a boat, always put out a dive flag to let others in the area know your location. You’ll also probably want to carry a mask, snorkel, and fins for optimal comfort and performance, and it’s a good idea to always go diving with a buddy. If you need to rent a boat, there are several options available across Wakulla County.
Also, if you’re not from the area you may not know just how intense the Florida sun can be during the summer, so don’t forget to bring ample sun protection and drinking water. It’s easy to get dehydrated quickly out there on the water.
What to do with your catch
Now that you’ve secured your harvest, it’s time to get cooking! You can use a scallop knife to separate the muscle, open the shell, and scoop away the inedible bits (or you can pay a service to clean them for you). The cooking possibilities are nearly limitless, but you can’t go wrong with simply sautéing them gently with butter and parsley or stirring them into a risotto. The goal is to let the sweet scallop meat shine, and to not overcook them since they can become rubbery.
While you’re in town, make sure you make a trip of it and stay at one of the many fish camps, camping spots, hotels, and lodges in the area! You can visit the Accommodations page on our website to learn more.