The late summer migration of schooling reds has begun. Pockets of schooling reds can be found on the low rising tides around small islands, river and creek mouths, flooded oyster bars and small cul-de-sacs just outside the main current flow. Some better areas are being plagued with floating grass. In these areas, apply your efforts to the lee side where the surface is clear of this natural phenomenon.
Labor Day weekend will see plenty of boating traffic. Your redfish efforts may be best applied after the weekend is over, as the fish do not tolerate noise very well. There are few better ways to spend quality boat time with the family, stay cool and catch dinner than scalloping.
State regulations mandate that you may only harvest scallops north of the Pasco-Hernando border. Your efforts may be best applied off of Homosassa. While a “fleet” will be clearly visible this weekend, finding more quiet surroundings for scalloping is not difficult. Scallops prefer areas around bladed grass and their lightly colored shells and especially their blue eyes can be easily spotted from the surface with a good pair of polarized glasses. The preferred depth is 6 feet, but one might find them shallower with the weekend’s midday low tides and high sun (best conditions). A snorkel, fins, mesh bag and a pair of hands is all the fishing gear you need.
You must clearly display a dive flag while scalloping. Each person required to do so must have a Florida saltwater fishing license. Recreational harvesters are limited to two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or one pint of bay scallop meat, per day during the open season. In addition, recreational scallopers may possess no more than 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or ˝ gallon of bay scallop meat, aboard any vessel at any time. Season closes September 10th. Save the adult beverages for the shucking ritual on land. On the water, you need to always be on your best lookout.
Captain Robert McCue can be reached at (800) 833-0489 or through his website, www.GiantTarpon.com.