How to go Scalloping in Cape San Blas

Scalloping in Cape San Blas


Almost everyone loves the sweet and savory taste of scallops. Buying them in a market is fine but catching them can be exciting and fulfilling. It is not a very difficult process. After you catch them clean them and cook them, you will realize why it's worth going through this seemingly simple process to enjoy fresh caught scallops from Cape San Blas.  

First step is to acquire a recreational Florida saltwater fishing license. This is required by state law to all Florida residents between the ages of 16 and 65. Those that are visiting our sunshine state are required to buy a license regardless of age. Everyone who is fishing for scallops must have a license. There are some exceptions; anyone over the age of 65 that is a Florida resident and can prove their age and residency or those FL residents that are under the age of 16. If you are going on a Scalloping Charter Boat with a valid recreational saltwater fishing license, you do not need to carry one of your own. 

Next is to know the limit if how many scallops you can catch in a day. The limit in Florida is 2 gallons in the shell or one pint of meat. This requirement is per person per day, however, be aware that the total any vessel can hold is ten gallons of whole scallops or ½ gallon of scallop meat. Please make sure you are keeping track of your weights, as a violation can come with a fine.

The equipment to fish for scallops is rather simple. You will need a mask, a snorkel and possibly some fins. Scallops are only allowed to be caught by hand or by a dip net. It is suggested a dip net is easier scallops have been known to pinch. While you are fishing for your scallops it is advised you have a mesh bag with a drawstring top to keep the scallops in. This way they won’t swim out or pinch you while you are looking for more. Your vessel will also need a dive flag. This must be displayed when you drop anchor and dive into the water. It helps other vessels know that there is a diver in the water and is a safety regulation. Remember safety first.

The dive flag has regulations as well. The regulations aren’t difficult, but it is important to know them so that you and your crew can be safe and to ensure you are not in violation. Dive flag requirements are as follows:


The flag MUST be displayed on your vessel when you are in the water. It must be 20 inches by 24 inches and a stiffener is required so that the flag remains unfurled. Please make sure you remove the flag when all divers are back on the boat.


The flag must also be displayed on a float or your snorkel and must be 12inches by 12 inches.


All divers must make efforts to stay within 300 feet of any divers-down flag and within 100 feet of the flay within rivers, inlets or navigation channels. 


Any vessels approaching diver down flags within 300 feet of open water or 100 feet in rivers, inlets or navigation channels must slow to an idle speed. Safety first.

It is legal to possess your scallops in any scallop hunting area. However, it is illegal to fish for scallops and then dock your boat in another area that is not in the scallop fishing area. For legal areas to fish in and posses your scallops visit the Scallop Hunter's website

The best depth to look for scallops is in 4-8 feet of water. The best water depth to find scallops is usually 4 – 8 feet. Look for clear water that have sea grass beds. The scallops should be in the sea grass or at the edges of sandy spots. Sometimes the scallops try to swim away from you. Do not be alarmed they don’t swim very fast or very far.

When you return to your vessel your scallops need to immediately be put into a live well or in an ice cooler. If you are using an ice cooler, please be sure to keep the scallops away from the melted ice water runoff. Scallops are quite sensitive to temperature and will die rather quickly if they are not kept at the right temperature. A live well is best for scallops as it allows water to flow through keeping them at the right temperature. Please note any freshwater will also kill a scallop. The best arrangement is to keep them in a live well and then right before you clean them put them on ice.

Cleaning your scallops seems a little overwhelming. It is quite simple, 

Cooking scallops is the easiest part of this adventure. 

Scallops seem like they are difficult to catch, clean and cook. With a little practice and direction, it can be one of the most rewarding things you do while on vacation!