This past weekend I made another trip to Gainesville to visit my friend Nick Fisch, and I was accompanied by my friend Jose. Our plan was to fish St. Augustine docklights Friday night and then go scalloping in Steinhatchee Saturday. We executed it well.
We arrived in Gainesville around 5:30 Friday and immediately hopped in Nick’s Jeep and headed for St. Augustine. We arrived in time for the sunset bite. We quietly polled into a hidden cove teeming with waking and tailing mullet.
In this hidden oasis, I had a trout absolutely blast my topwater plug. I was using a MirrOLure MirrOMullet. The sun went down, things got dark and we started looking for lights. To our dismay, all we found was empty light after empty light.
In spite of this, Nick was able to manage one surprise trout on a MirrOLure MirrODine, unfortunately that was all the action that we had that night. We went back to Gainesville dismayed.
To put it another way, the First Coast humbled us.
The following day we got up as early as we could and made the drive to Steinhatchee for scallops. We arrived on the Nature Coast later than we wanted, and let me tell you, that town was an absolute zoo.
If you had told me that there were 500 boats out there, I would have believed you. It was pandemonium, but it was absolutely awesome! Once becoming comfortable with the mask and breathing situation, I was able to dive and have a great time. We were in roughly four to ten feet of water with deep grass and sandy bottoms.
At first it is challenging, but once you learn what to look for scalloping becomes simple, all you do once you’ve sighted your prey is to dive to the bottom, grab it and put it in your mesh bag tied to your waist.
The live scallop is amazing underwater, their shells are lined with there multiple bright blue eyes, because of this, they can see you coming and then siphon water to scoot away from you. Don’t let them get away! However, despite their camouflage and shiftiness, they’re quite easy to catch.
The per person limit is two gallons. The three of us came away with 150 total scallops, close to a gallon and a half/two gallons.
A classic mid-summer Florida thunderstorm chased us off the water, but that was fine by us since we had a decent drive back to Gainesville.
To this point non of us had eaten in close to 18 hours and so we were all ravenous. We stopped at a local Steinhatchee favorite, Roys. There are courteous staff members and it’s right on the water, and they offer a soft-shell crab burger which is absolutely to die for. See below.
Back in Gainesville, showered and rested, we subsequently commenced shucking our 150 scallops.
We were all exhausted, consequently, we kept things simple – a quick pasta alfredo with fresh scallops was absolutely delicious.
Scalloping is fun, easy and can certainly yield some awesome meals. If you haven’t tried it, then I highly recommend giving it a shot!
Until next time, tight lines.