Published: August 28, 2017
Updated: August 28, 2017 at 11:19 PM
HOMOSASSA — When Dave Markett started taking people scalloping, gas cost 36 cents a gallon and Richard Nixon had been president for less than two years.
Forty-seven years later, Markett, 67, still leads trips near Homosassa during scallop season, which runs from the beginning of July to late September. During the rest of the year, he captains fishing and alligator hunting trips.
“It if bites and fights, I go after it,” he said.
In early August, at the height of scallop season, Markett often finds himself a few miles offshore near St. Martins Keys, between the mouths of the Homosassa and Crystal Rivers.
The water is about 5 feet deep in the morning — ideal for catching bay scallops. Markett calls the area “scallop heaven.”
Scalloping involves little equipment and even less instruction. Bring a mask, snorkel, mesh bag to store the scallops and a set of fins, then scan the beds of turtle grass below for the round, corrugated shells.
When you find a scallop, dive down and snatch it quickly, before it can swim away or pinch you with its valves.
“Everybody can do it,” Markett said. “It’s something that you can do when you’re 70 and when you’re 4 or 5 years old.”
Markett prefers to scallop in the morning, when the tide is low or outgoing and Florida’s typical afternoon storms haven’t hit. He also keeps an eye on water clarity — visibility can be poor after a storm — and wind level. Strong winds aren’t a dealbreaker, Markett said, but they can create waves that make snorkeling unpleasant.
Watch the video and read more here: http://www.tampabay.com/sports/outdoors/a-day-on-the-water-scalloping-with-dave-markett-wvideo/2335406