Though we have to travel east of Okaloosa County to go scalloping, it is a great opportunity to experience.
Bay scallops are bottom-dwellers that live in 4 to 8 feet of water in seagrass beds near the shore along Florida's Gulf coast.
Scalloping season runs June 28 through Sept. 24 for recreational harvesting. Harvesting areas are in state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the Pasco-Hernando county line.
Bay scallops have electric blue eyes and propel themselves backward by opening and closing their shells quickly.
Some of the required equipment to go on your scalloping adventure is first a salt-water fishing license for Florida residents between 16 and 65, and all non-residents over 16.
You'll also need a swim mask, snorkel, small mesh bag, divers-down flag (required by law), and a boat/kayak.
The best scalloping occurs in the 4- to 10-foot-deep area, where your shallow-draft boat can be anchored. You can scallop from shore but your scalloping adventure will be more productive by boat.
Look for scallops near the seagrasses' borderline areas, but collect them in the mesh bag since they can pinch. Once on the boat, you should immediately place scallops in a cooler.
Harvesting bag limits are 2 gallons for whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person. Maximum of 10 gallons of whole scallops in shell or a half gallon of bay scallop meat per vessel and harvesting is permitted by hand; landing or dip net use only.
See the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website for more information on harvesting regulations for scallops and other fisheries.
Brooke Saari is an agent at the University of Florida's Extension office in Crestview.