Last minute scallop trip fun for whole family

By Nathan & Ted Miller

Looking for a last minute family trip before the summer ends and kids go back to school? Why not take a day and head to the Big Bend region of Florida to do some scalloping?
There are many coastal communities in this region that offer great scalloping, and all are easily accessible in a few short hours from Jacksonville. One of the more popular spots people go to from our area seems to be Steinhatchee.

Scallop season runs through Sep. 24, so there is still plenty of time to go and enjoy this great outdoor activity.

The daily bag limit per person is two gallons whole bay scallops in shell, or one pint of bay scallop meat. But the total per vessel is a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat.

Evelyn, Hannah, and Quinn Miller

Evelyn, Hannah, and Quinn Miller

Access to a boat is a necessity due to the distance from land to these grassy flats. But taking your own or jumping on with a friend are not the only solutions. There are many fishing captains in Steinhatchee who run charters for scallops. And with their local knowledge, jumping on with them may be your best bet for success.

Captains are on the water every day and will know where to best look for and to find scallops. They should also have all the required safety equipment for the vessel to remain coast guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) complaint while snorkeling.

We reached out to a number of captains who offer scalloping trips in Steinhatchee and we wanted to share them with you.
Some questions you may
want to ask your captain include:
• Length of time and cost for the
• What drinks do they provide, if any?
• Can they offer a scallop report?
• Does their boat provide shade?
• Do they have the required safety
equipment for the vessel?
• Do they offer a service to clean your
Last year that region experienced a lot of rain, and murky water flowed from the rivers into the gulf affecting the water clarity. These cloudy areas would move with the tides and currents and if you happened to be scalloping in one of these areas, you would have thought you were swimming in iced tea. Local captains will have a good understanding where the best clarity will be, drastically improving your chances to be successful.

Pulling a boat over there is not difficult, but there is something to be said for packing a car and jumping on someone else’s boat. The ride over there will be quicker and certainly less expensive in fuel. Plus, you won’t have to put up with the traffic at the boat ramps with the mad rush of launching in the morning, and pulling out in the afternoon. Simply taking a cooler with lunch and cold drinks, sunscreen, a few towels, change of clothes and a camera may be all that you need.

And if you have a great time, a ‘tip’ to your captain will always be greatly appreciated.

With summer winding down, a last-minute family vacation that is sure to be a lot of fun may be just a couple of short hours away.
Have fun, and stay safe.

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