So Scallop season is on us again.
As an avid avoider of scallops once they are out of the ocean you might wonder why I bother talking about scallops at all. The answer is simple.
While I don’t eat them, many do, and a freezer bag full of scallops has a bargaining power like no other. For example, last time I bought some home they helped my Mum move house (she wont eat them either - fussy aren’t we). Plenty of burly blokes were eager and willing to lift the heavy stuff in exchange for a packet of the frozen delicacy!
So this early into the season the current scallop discussion for the Coromandel is going on as follows.
Opito bay and areas seem to be in good form with the scallops being reported in good condition and fat. At the moment no reports of commercial dredges there.
Home Bay at the Mercs is no longer being touted as the swim around the shadow of the boat at 8 meters and come up with 60 scallops the size of dive plates in 10mins using 40 bar however there are still scallops to be had and according to sources they are in fairly good condition although you may need to work a bit to get a limit. There are rumours that commercial dredges have been in Home Bay.
Coromandel/Firth of Thames
Reports are good from these areas so far saying that scallops are in good condition but are hard to find. The feedback is that they are in areas the dredges can’t get at and they can be a wee bit hard to find like they have been buried by the rubbish weather over winter. So if you’re diving around these areas once you have stirred it up a bit you might want to float and let everything settle again and watch for the tell tale feeding feelers. Once you find them. They’re reportedly fat and juicy and a good size.
Lets face it guys at $10 a dozen we are not going after scallops to save money - we are in it for the hunt. So some things to think about: One scallop is not very heavy but it’s amazing how heavy 20 or more can be and we usually figure this out when we are kicking the hell out of the bottom and getting nowhere. More and more scallop divers are using floats and buoys. Splash Dive has the Rob Allen floats and line available - easy enough to tow behind as you’re collecting and then tie off to your catch bag to be pulled up when you get back to the boat. Alternatively just take a line with you, tie it off to your catch bag on the bottom and then feed the line out as you surface to be pulled up once you get back on the boat.
The Last Word
I have had a couple of conversations recently with divers from the Whangarei area who assure me there are scallops there and plenty but I cannot confirm nor deny so if you have any scallop spot reports (we don’t need to know the exact location just the general area ;0) we would love to hear from you.