Yeah! We were able to squeeze in one more trip to the Gulf coast to scallop before the season ends September 24, 2018. I was trying to find away to make this post a bit different, and I think I got it.
- Bay Scallops although once plentiful, can be found from Port St. Joe along Florida’s northern Gulf coast to Tarpon Springs in isolated, inshore seagrass beds.
- Each year the local population must produce enough offspring to replenish itself or receive offspring from neighboring populations to remain stable.
- Florida bay scallops typically live one year.
Yep, I’m going to periodically insert some info facts about scallops to add a different perspective. Skip over them if that’s not your thing.
We started the day, seeing the sun rise over Central Florida.
After picking up another couple it wasn’t long before we were backing the boat down the ramp at Pete’s Pier.
I have got to stop and talk about ‘Pete’s Pier’. A recent post noted they have new owners and we could see improvements water-side. This is the first time in several months we have parked here and seen the land-side. What a difference!
Okay, so it’s just a parking lot. It’s a great looking parking lot! Obviously some boat owners didn’t understand how far they should pull up their vehicle & trailer – leaving room for others to park.
We met our friends elsewhere because we said a car could get lost in the potholes of this parking lot – it was that bad, truly. But not any longer.
And then there was this guy….
We’ve seen this booth for several years, but never anyone occupying it. Today there was – love it. Its way easier to pay him, instead of going into the store or using the kiosk and besides that, he was a big help, with the ramp and parking the trailer.
- The bay scallop is considered a bivalve, having 2 valves (shells) connected by a hinge.
- The upper shell is usually a dark, mottled color with the bottom shell being typically white-ish.
- In their 1 year lifespan, they can reach 3″ across, with this size occasionally found at the end of harvest season.
Luckily we were close by when we talked about the ‘required’ dive flag and no one could remember seeing one (thanks Adrienne) in the storage compartments on the boat. It was back to Pete’s Pier for another purchase. This also gave me time to scout out our next boat…….yes……maybe?
Well, probably not. That is one giant boat.
Heading out we saw different sides of a rainbow.
Along with this osprey nest.
Emily and Max joined us for their first experience of scalloping.
Since the scallops move around (somewhat) the best way to see where they are at is (1) look for a group of boats OR (2) mark a spot on your GPS from a previous visit. 🙂
Eric was very excited to show off his first scallop of the morning.
Adrienne is getting quite proficient at this. Next step is for her to get used to the fins. There was a few times when she found more scallops than Eric did -sorry hon. Just think what she could do wearing the fins – just saying.
Emily and Max also posed with their first bag of scallops.
It’s not as easy as you would think. I found this photo on-line and these guys can really blend in with their environment. They are sitting on the sandy/grassy bottom, hiding out amongst the seagrass blades.
- Bay scallops feed by opening their shells and filtering algae and other organic material through their gills.
- They have many tiny blue eyes (see above) along the outer rim which helps detect movement and serve as a warning system when threatened.
- When threatened, the scallop can contract & relax their abductor muscle which thrusts out water, propelling them up and away from danger.
Eventually, the snorkeling became less fun and more work so it was time for the next part of the day – fishing. But not before one ‘interesting’ photo. It works, but I’m already thinking about the next time.
We headed to our ‘honey hole’ and my only fish caught was this puffer. 😦 Which by the way did not puff up.
While no action photos were shot, we found this board back on land and Max (along with Eric) posed with the fish he (Max) caught.
Yep, good thing Max was along, otherwise we wouldn’t have any fish.
- The bay scallop has the remarkable ability to develop female and male organs, thus producing eggs and sperm.
- Fall’s water temps signal spawning, with 1 scallop capable of producing millions of eggs at once (only 1 out of 12 million eggs make it to adulthood.)
- These eggs turn into larvae, which attach itself to seagrass ,developing into juvenile scallops called spat. One year later, we hunt them and eat these tasty morsels.
We had such a good time together, we ended our day at our favorite Crystal River restaurant Seafood Seller & Café. We started with our top-ranked appetizer, fried green tomato ‘chips’, accompanied by a variety of sauces.
Grouper was the fish of choice – except for me. The first 2 photos showcase grouper, either grilled or fried. The 3rd photo is my catfish po-boy sandwich.
While this isn’t a terribly long post, it was neat to bring along other Floridians and share a unique seaside past-time only found in select areas of the Gulf.
Closing with a photo suggested by Eric.
Stay tuned – more ‘exciting’ fishing posts are coming, if that’s your interest. 🙂