Everyone in Steinhatchee has been waiting for July 1st. Fisherman have been waiting to know when to forget about drifting over quiet crystal clear water with little company. But most have been waiting expectantly to see what kind of scallop season we will have this year. In spite of some incorrect state surveys from a few weeks ago, it appears this will be one of the best years in some time. While I missed the madness on the first, I did manage to get to the coast on Friday afternoon, the 3rd, to be quickly reminded of what scallop season is like. Friday was tough, with strong west winds, rain coming onshore, and massive crowds. When I first arrived, this was what I saw as Capt. Tommy Thompson, in the foreground, was just coming off the water from a picture-taking trip. Shortly after, a call went out over the radio that a storm was headed toward the river….so lots of people came in.
Things got a bit crowded while people waited out the weather, since there weren’t enough places to dock. This group of boats were rafted up to the channel marker. Most however, sat quietly waiting (and having some liquid refreshment) for a chance to get back out.
But when they did, they found much improved weather and lots and lots of scallops. Multiple reports found people getting four-person limits in an hour without moving their boats. Scallops were plentiful at Big Grass Island in 3 to 4 feet of water, and similarly south of the river near Hardy Point and Rocky Creek.
It will be a banner year for scalloping at Steinhatchee, so plan on taking a family trip to the gulf. Remember you need to have a diver down flag and fishing license to harvest scallops, and finding accomodations at this late date may be challenge…but you can count on having lots of fun in the clear waters around Steinhatchee. For more information, check out the Sea Hag website or Capt. Tommy Thompson’s Saltwater Angler Guide link, both included among my links.