Horse Conch

Horse Conch

The wind has been blowing hard out of the south, southeast, then southwest for a number of days. I have been waiting for the gulf to calm down. Today it finally did. The shells were laying in the swash channels. You had to be patient and really look after the 3rd set of waves were finished rolling in. Then you had a brief amount of time to look quickly or scan quickly for shells. I noticed this horse conch in about 2 foot of water just beyond the swash channel. At first I thought it was a fighting conch. When I got closer I couldn’t believe it was a horse conch. I have found very few this size and condition. I have found many smaller and a few much bigger. This was a exciting find. The horse conch is the Florida state shell. The world record Horse conch was found off Sanibel Island and is in the Sanibel shell museum.  I believe it was 26 inches long. Once while exploring the islands in the everglades I found the outsides of a broken horse conch that was huge. I knew it  had to be bigger than the one I saw in the Sanibel shell museum. Once the skeleton of the shell was safely in my garage, I broke out the tape measure…… 16 inches, not even close. That’s all my horse conch stories for now. I need to remeasure that shell.


Brian Holaway

I have been a Shelling Guide to Cayo Costa State Park since 1995. Many people know me as the Shelling Guide and Captain with Captiva Cruises over the past 20 years. In 2016 I began solely offering private small boat charters to the islands of Pine Island Sound including Cayo Costa State Park, Cabbage Key, Useppa Island, Pine Island and North Captiva. I am a certified Florida Master Naturalist, licensed USCG Captain, avocational photographer, seashell enthusiast and passionate about the history, people and culture of Southwest Florida, especially Cayo Costa. I volunteer as a member of Friends of Cayo Costa State Park and have great respect for the heritage of Cayo Costa. My goal is to provide guests with an overall experience and appreciation for the waters, islands, shells, plants, marine life, wildlife, history and people of this unique area of Southwest Florida.

  • Little Black Scrap Cat
    Posted at 23:26h, 02 May

    Great horse conch. You've got me counting again…. 159 days!! Can't wait!

  • Kim@Snug Harbor
    Posted at 23:26h, 02 May

    What is a swash channel? I've never heard that term. My daughter was saying today that she is really looking forward to hearing your nuggets of information on our cruise. She said she always learns something new from you.

  • Capt. Brian Holaway
    Posted at 23:35h, 02 May

    The swash channel is just behind where the shore meets the sea. The little dip by the shore is what I call the swash channel. I will show you when you get down here. The swash channel can be very productive for good shells if you take your time.

  • Capt. Brian Holaway
    Posted at 23:38h, 02 May

    Glad you liked the horse conch. It was a cool find. You never know what the sea will throw your way.

  • Lee
    Posted at 19:29h, 14 May

    That is a gorgeous Horse Conch. Has to be my favorite shell. Also love all your back porch collection.

  • Kelly
    Posted at 22:34h, 08 June

    Very pretty horse conch. I have seen the one at the museum, fantastic! On iloveshelling blog there is a pic of me holding a 15 inch conch that I found at Honeymoon Island. People sometimes don't believe me when I say I found it. Definately my fav shell.