How to Stalk and Catch the Elusive Wild Scallop: Questions and Answers



With Florida’s season underway again, this is a good time to put on my “Scallop Commander” hat, recall my 40 years of scalloping experience and answer all my readers’ questions about hunting and finding scallops in the wild.

Let’s get started.


Did you actually have any reader questions about scallops? No, not really.

Did you instead invent a series of silly questions that no sane person would ask? Yep. Pretty much.

Is scallop hunting dangerous? Yes. In fact, scallops are America’s fourth-deadliest bivalve, behind only oysters, clams and mussels.

Are there any other American bivalves? Not that I know of.

Has anyone ever been injured by a scallop? Yes. A friend of mine suffered a nasty head wound from a scallop attack.

Did the scallop really attack? Actually, no. Another friend threw it, but the incident was still listed in the official record of mollusk-related injuries.

Gaze into the steely blue eyes of death. Sweet, succulent death, sauteed in butter.

Is there really such a record? No. Not really.

Where’s the best place to go scalloping?  The best place is any reputable seafood store. A very distant second option is to snorkel in the grass beds from the canal at Mexico Beach in Bay County to the southern border of Hernando County.

Is Hernando really a county in Florida? Apparently so.

Can you scallop in other areas of Florida? Sure. Unless you’re one of those wussies who has a problem with being arrested, thrown in jail and fined. In that case, you should probably stick to the area above.

What is the minimum amount of equipment necessary to take scallops? One working hand and arm and a dive flag. Masks, snorkels, fins and a bag are nice-to-have accessories. And a boat also opens up a lot more options for scalloping locations.

Not exactly what I meant.

Are scallops hard to catch? Yes, scallops are the only bivalves that can actually swim. Here’s a video of one jetting away to freedom at breakneck speed.

What is the daily bag limit on scallops?  Two gallons of scallops in the shell per person. One pint of cleaned scallops per person. There is also a boat limit of 10 gallons of scallops in the shell.

Is that a “mess” of scallops? No. The official term is a s**tload.

How long does it take to gather that many scallops? It varies, but normally about same amount of time it takes to get a third-degree sunburn on your back.

How long does it take to clean 10 gallons of scallops? Depending on the number of people involved, anywhere between 12 and 24 beers.

How many scallops in the shell does it take to get a pint of scallop meat? A s**tload.

How many calories are in each scallop? Trick question. Science has proven that simply thinking about scallops burns more calories than you gain by eating them. Thus, scallops can technically be considered a weight-loss treatment.

What “science” has proven that? Shut up.

Bay scallops are very small. How do I get the half-dollar-sized scallops like they serve in restaurants? Go to a restaurant.

How do the restaurants get them? Using stingrays and a cookie cutter that’s about the size of a half-dollar.

Pictured above: A dozen “sea scallops” before processing.

Did you do any actual research before writing this post? Yes.

Did that “research” involve more than one Google search for scallops? No. Not really.

Is there another source of information about scalloping that is based on actual laws and facts and that won’t get me arrested? Yes.

Do you really have a “Scallop Commander” hat? No. Not really. (But I do have a birthday soon.)


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