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HUNTING FOR SCALLOPS Our Latest Family Trip to Steinhatchee
In September of 2017, for the first time ever, my family and a few friends and I headed up to Steinhatchee to spend several days scalloping and relaxing on the Gulf Coast. I don’t know if we realized at the time that it would become an annual tradition, but when we asked the kids this year whether they’d rather hunt down some clams or do something else, they were surprisingly adamant — scalloping or bust. So right around the anniversary of Hurricane Irma, we hooked up the boat once again and made the five-hour trek up to Steinhatchee for round two. We all had a blast, and it’s clear that this will have to be a regular thing from here on out. If you’ve never been scalloping, let me break it down for you. First you pile everybody into the boat, along with a few beers, some snacks for the kids, and enough chow to keep everyone happy. Then you don your mask, snorkel, and flippers, grab your drawstring bag, and hop into the water. Bag in hand, you wander around in the shallow water with your eyes peeled for some tasty-looking scallops. They’re usually hidden in the turtle grass flats stretched across the sandy floor, and they can be pretty hard to spot. But when you find a good one, that surge of victory keeps you motivated to track down another. The kids love it. Regular fishing often takes more patience than most young kids can muster; scalloping keeps them constantly swimming around and climbing in and out of the boat, wide-eyed and on the search for dinner. Honestly, a big part of the strategy is just cruising around looking for other boats anchored at a particular area. You can bet that if there’s a cluster of them hovering in one spot, with a fleet of divers with their heads to the sand, you’re in scallop territory. This year, we tried out a spot, and there were no scallops. But by the time we were leaving, we noticed a lot of other boats had followed us. They thought we knew what we were doing — boy were they wrong. We struggled and didn’t track down many scallops the first couple days, but on the third day, we swam a little farther out into the water, about 5 feet deep, and discovered that the scallops had migrated past their ordinary depth. I guess with
all the rain we’d had over the past year or so, the freshwater runoff had pushed the little guys out to sea a bit. Sadly, we didn’t end up with the mess of scallops I’d hoped for, but everyone had an awesome time. We spent the evenings recuperating in our rented condos, watching college football or playing games after soaking in seawater all day. All in all, it was a great trip, especially for the kids — though I don’t look forward to the next time I have to make the nerve-wracking five-hour drive with my boat hanging off the back of the truck.
VanDyk Mortgage | www.TimHartJr.com | 239-437-4278
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