What is the best tide for scalloping

Going scalloping and inshore fishing for the next few days. Was wanting to know if there is a better tide for scallops?
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  • drkpttdrkptt Posts: 1,927 Captain
    I can only speak to my experience last weekend near Pepperfish; dead low was the best. The sea grass isn't bent over due to current and surprisingly the vis actually got worse with the incoming tide. And of course the water is shallow. I got off the boat and my first thought was that it was too shallow to be any good (grass was almost touching my belly); immediately started picking up scallops and stayed with it.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,433 Captain
    Slack low is best.
  • Big Bend BrianBig Bend Brian Posts: 1,410 Officer
    At slack tide the scallops often drop down into the grass on the bottom. They are filter feeders and I imagine it’s not beneficial to be exposed (predation) when they can’t effectively filter. From a fitness standpoint it doesn’t make sense to expose yourself to predation (decreased survival) at the same time that it’s energetically costly to filter feed without the tides assistance to move the water so they drop down and wait for the water to start moving.

    At slack tide in thick seagrass this makes it more difficult to find them. In thin grass at slack tide it’s a moot point. I prefer a moving tide and in my opinion I don’t think there is a best tide. I pick my spots to scallop depending on what tide it is (based on water depth). In a moving tide you gotta have enough water between you and the grass to be able to have a wide view of where you’re searching.
  • Doc StressorDoc Stressor Homosassa, FLPosts: 2,433 Captain
    Filter feeding is why they move around on the slack tide. When the tide slows down or stops, the food conveyor shuts off. So they move and many end up on top of the grass or in open areas. The current stays running longer up higher in the water column and in wash channels than at the base of the turtle grass.

    I'm not making a theoretical argument. This is from many years of observing them. During moon phases where the water flow is reduced for long periods of time, you can watch them move. Normally, slack water doesn't last very long in shallow water.

    They move on either slack high or slack low. But it's easier to get at them when the water level is lower.
  • nicknick Crystal RiverPosts: 4,755 Captain
  • SlackerSlacker Posts: 1,535 Captain
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