Day trip: Scalloping is a fun family outing that can be done with a short drive north of Tampa Bay. Snorkeling over grass beds in 3 to 6 feet of water while picking up the tasty shellfish by hand makes the perfect summertime activity for children and adults.
Where to go: Scallops must be harvested and landed north of the Pasco-Hernando county line. The vast grass flats from Bayport to Crystal River offer prime scallop habitat. The waters surrounding the mouth of the Homosassa River are some of the most popular areas as they offer a variety of access points. If you've never been and are not sure where to get started, look for the fleet of boats anchored flying dive flags and join in around the perimeter. There are no secret spots.
What you need: All that's needed for a successful day of scalloping is a valid Florida saltwater fishing license, basic snorkel gear including mask, snorkel and fins, a mesh catch bag, a dive flag and the ability to hold your breath underwater. Be sure to check regulations regarding per-person limits and boat limits.
Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 510-1009.