Old timers will tell you its best to wait till late in the season to hunt for scallops. Late September brings fat and juicy shellfish to the table, bake, broiled or fried. So all you anglers who missed scallop season, you have got a few more days to fill your bellies. The 2013 recreational season for bay scallops will close Wednesday, Sept. 25. The final day of harvesting is Sept. 24.
While scallop season traditionally kicks off in July along Florida’s Gulf Coast, there are advantages to waiting later in the season. First, the animals are bigger, which means more meat for the table. Second, most people think the grass beds have been picked clean. So on a weekday in September, you pretty much have the place to yourself.
It is legal to land up to 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or 1 pint of scallop meat each day during the open season. Recreational scallopers are not allowed to possess more than 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or a half gallon of meat aboard any boat.
The law requires that a vessel display a divers-down flag (red with a white diagonal stripe), whenever divers or snorkelers are in the water. The flag must be at least 20 by 24 inches if displayed on a boat; at least 12 by 12 inches if towed on a float by the diver or snorkeler.
In open waters, vessels must make an effort to stay 300 feet from a divers-down flag. In a river, channel or inlet, the distance is 100 feet. Vessels may operate within those distances, but only at idle speed.