Fishing out of Hernando Beach has been a labor of love the past few weeks. We are putting some nice fish in the cooler on recent trips, but it has required a little more work this year. Be ready to try a variety of tactics and locations until you locate fish. Fishing in this summer heat can be tough, but thankfully we can cool off in our beautiful Gulf waters and go scalloping starting June 28. I like July because my clients can fish early in the morning, and when it gets hot I cool off by jumping in the water to bag some tasty scallops.
Look for these tasty bivalves in 3 to 6 feet of water. A mask, snorkel, and fins are all that’s needed to capture scallops. Just swim along the grass until you find some and scoop them up. Carry a mesh bag to hold your catch. Scallops should be placed on ice immediately for the trip home unless you plan on cleaning them on the water. Placing them on ice makes them easier to open because the cold causes the muscle holding the shell together to relax. A scallop knife and shop VAC are great cleaning tools. It’s a bit time consuming to clean these guys but it’s worth the effort.
Harvesting scallops is allowed from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal (in Bay County) to the Pasco-Hernando county line (near Aripeka). The bag limit is 2 gallons of whole scallops (in the shell), or 1 pint of scallop meat per person per day. In addition, no more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or 1/2 gallon of scallop meat may be possessed aboard any vessel at any time. You may harvest scallops only by hand or with a landing or dip net.
Scallopers must remain in the legal scalloping area while in possession of scallops on the water, including the point where they return to land.
So beat the heat and enjoy another tasty treat this area of the Nature Coast has to offer. Get your snorkel stuff ready and don’t forget your 24-inch by 24-inch diver down flag. We offer scallop charters out of Hernando Beach and supply all the necessary equipment. I expect great scallop numbers again this year.
Good luck out there and tight lines!
Capt. Keith Tomlinson runs Bulldog Fishin Charters out of Hernando Beach. Contact him at www.bulldogfishin.com or (352)238-3581.