All About Bay Scallops
Bay scallops are bivalve mollusks that spend most of their lives hiding in underwater grasses on Florida’s west coast. These bottom dwellers are commonly found in 4-8 feet of water.
Bay scallops can be fished in state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line north to the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. We might be a bit prejudiced on where the best scallops can be found, but we think it’s right here in Steinhatchee. We’re smack-dab in the center of the legal fishing range and have the right water and grass flats to grow some really nice, juicy scallops.
The bag limit is two gallons of whole bay scallops in shell per person per day or one pint of meat per person per day. A saltwater fishing license is required if you harvest bay scallops from a boat or use snorkel gear but not if you wade in and collect without snorkel gear. Be sure to check current FWC regulations as these requirements may change from time-to-time.
Quite often the best way to “fish” for scallops is by snorkeling for them. You’ll need a mask, snorkel, mesh bag, saltwater fishing license and dive flag. Be sure the dive flag is properly mounted to your boat or on a towable float behind you. Come rent a boat or kayak from River Haven Marina. We’ll give you directions to several popular grass areas that are likely to have scallops.
Scallops are very good at blending into their environment so look closely. Catching them isn’t too difficult. Reach down, grab it and place in mesh bag. That’s one! Now go out and fill the rest of your gallon bucket. Be sure to keep in mind fishing limits and maximum allowed per boat.
Four Minute Garlic Bay Scallops – Yum!!!
Scallops are easy and fast to cook. Here is a favorite recipe for Garlic Bay Scallops:
- 1 pound bay scallops
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 garlic clove finely minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- lemon wedges
- salt and pepper
Start by shucking (cleaning) the scallops. Don’t know how? It basically goes like this: Pry them open with scallop knife, yank away the guts and then slice the thumb-sized dollop of edible muscle away from the shell. That’s the part you eat. Wash the scallops and pat dry.
Now for cooking. Put flour and a pinch of salt and pepper in a shallow bowl and roll scallops in the flour. All you need is a light dusting. Turn stove to medium and heat olive oil. Add scallops and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Liquid will start to cook out of scallops. Add in minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite vegetable or rice. Yum!!!