Clear waters makes for good scalloping

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By Capt. Brylee

Special to the Beacon

The mid-summer Florida weather is upon us and the heat is bearing down on the Gulf. Afternoon thunderstorms fill most afternoons, but the Gulf waters are active for anglers willing to take the chance against the weather. 

Scallops have been reported very thick in all waters from the panhandle to Homosassa. Cedar Key has even produced a lot of scallops this year, southeast of the channel, around Snake Key and Deadman’s Channel as well as the areas around Seahorse and North Key. Visibility is usually an issue in and around Cedar Key, but this year the waters have been clear enough for scallopers to reach their limit in waters with depths as low as two to four feet. With just over a month left in the harvesting season, this is a good time to get out there and scallop. 

Captain Al Hammaker, with Chassawitzka Charters, reported doing very well on scallops just south of Homosassa – and in most cases have been able to reach their limit in a half day. The scallops in this region are in depths of five to eight feet and visibility is great. With scallops doing so well right now Capt. Al said he hasn’t been doing any red or trout fishing but reports up and down the Gulf coast show a lot of action catching both. For more information on scalloping in this area you can visit Capt. Al’s website at chassahowitzkacharters.com.

Reports from Cedar Key indicate they have been landing trout and reds on the flats as well as around the islands in the waters around bridge Number Four. Live shrimp and pin fish have been the best live baits used, but jigs and spoons are also producing strikes.

Captain John Blouse, with Hooked Up Charters out of Cedar Key, said the waters are active both inshore and offshore. Current water temperatures are in the low 80s and the bait fish are thick and easily accessible to catch in cast nets or Sabiki rigs on the flats.

Offshore has been much of the same as last month with gag grouper being caught in as little as 28 feet. While he caught gag in the shallower waters, the best results have been in water depths of 50 to 75 feet Blouse said.

Red snapper season is closed now but the FWC is meeting later in the month to discuss the possibility of re-opening the season in October for Florida anglers. More information can be found by visiting the FWC website.

Please obey all state and local laws and remember to catch and release. Good luck catching.