PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (WMBB) — Scallop Season has officially begun in Gulf County, as dozens of people headed to St. Joe Bay on Sunday for opening day.
For many in the Panhandle and beyond, travelling to the bay to catch the shellfish is a yearly tradition.
“It’s fun, the kids enjoy it, get to get in the water,” said Holmes County resident, Zach Sewell.
He and many others could be found at Presnell’s Bayside Marina in Port St. Joe shelling the scallops they caught on Sunday morning. Shalimar resident David Gould said he and his wife had good luck on the water with kayaks.
“It was pretty quick, I don’t think we were in the water an hour and a half, two hours and we were limited out,” Gould said.
Others said they didn’t see as many scallops as they had in previous years, but that the ones they did find seemed to be bigger than previous years.
“Me personally, I don’t think there were as many scallops this year as there was last year,” Sewell said. “But we found them and got our limit, pretty quick.”
“Last year it was very, very plentiful and this year you have to work a little harder for them,” said Brad Chandler, a Dothan resident who also makes a yearly trip for scallop season.
This year, like with everything else, is different due to COVID-19, but in a good way. Scallopers said the activity provided an escape.
“We absolutely love it,” Chandler said. “Just staying outside, this is the reason why we’re out here, just to be outside and to stay away from the coronavirus.”
“I haven’t really thought about COVID the whole time I’ve been here, so it was a nice change,” he said.
For Sewell’s daughter, McKinley, a day on the water was a day well spent.
“It’s really fun to get out and have fun, riding around on the boat and getting scallops and eating them,” she said.
The Gulf County scallop season runs through September 24th, closing on September 25th.
For more information on scalloping guidelines, click here.