What's the best way to cool off in July and August? Go scalloping. It's like an underwater Easter egg hunt with a bag of tasty scallops to cook at the end of the day. The most popular places are Homosassa and Steinhatchee in 2 feet of water out to 12 feet. I look for a sea grass bed with sand holes in them when I go scalloping. Look for shorter, thinner grass that grows in the sand. That's where you find them. A scallop looks like the Shell gas station logo with a dark top shell, a white bottom and 24 little blue eyes. When you see them in the grass, the darker side is up. It's the opposite when they're in the sand most of the time. The regulations: 2 gallons whole bay scallops in shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or a half-gallon bay scallop meat per vessel as your daily bag limit with no minimum-size limit. The boundary line is the waters from the Pasco-Hernando County line near Aripeka to Beach Canal in Bay County. The season is June 29 to Sept. 24. All you need are a mask, snorkel, fins and a catch bag. If you dive the last part of the outgoing tide and the first part of the incoming tide, you can hit the deeper spots.
Jim Lemke charters out of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater and can be reached at (813) 917-4989 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.