What's hot: A steaming plate of lobster and scallops is the hot topic during the hottest months of Florida. Scallop season is in full swing and runs through Sept. 25, and spiny lobster season opened Saturday and runs through March 31. Harvesting these tasty seafoods is easy and full of family fun, though both come with strict rules. Your best bet is go to myfwc.com and research the requirements before planning a trip.
Techniques: Snorkel, mask and fins are needed. I also prefer to wear diving gloves and carrying a mesh bag to put scallops and lobsters in while floating, looking for another to add to my bag. When lobstering, I also carry a measuring tool. Catches must be 3 inches or longer (measured in the water, not out). The waters north of the Hernando County line to Bay County are for scalloping, and there are a few protected areas in the Keys where lobstering is not allowed. Again, do your research.
Tips: Look for two long spines sticking out from rock ledges as you float on the surface, then dive down and use a tickle stick to entice the lobster out. We are late in the season for scallops, but they're still plentiful.
Jackie Otto can be reached at Betts Fishing Center at (727) 518-7637 or [email protected]msn.com.