Florida Keys Lobstering
Florida Keys lobstering means going for Spiny Lobster, which are Florida’s version of the tasty treat well known to seafood lovers all around the country. There are Spiny Lobster living on and all around the coral reef that runs parallel to the Florida Keys. Florida’s lobster don’t have the large claw that lobsters from Maine have, but their tails are still tasty and delicious. There’s a commercial Florida Keys lobstering industry all over the Florida Keys that sets out traps and brings in the bugs, as they are known locally, for restaurants around the state.
Florida Keys Lobstering for Amateurs
Florida Keys Lobstering is also a fun sport for amateurs and tourists. You just need a permit attached to your Florida fishing license. It’s about five dollars. It will enable you to get 6 lobster per day in the Florida Keys, which is a smaller limit than in the rest of Florida where the daily limit is 12. The reason is that at the opening of the amateur Florida Keys lobsteringseason, so many people visit the Keys to catch lobster that the bug population was becoming too quickly decimated, as was their habitat. Fis & Wildlife of Florida put extra protection on for the Keys to mitigate the natural resource depletion that occurs during lobster mini season.
Florida Keys Lobstering Basics
Once you have your lobster permit, you’ll need some basic equipment. Here’s a quick run-down of your gear:
- Tickle Stick
- Catch Bag
- Measuring Tool
- Dive Flag
Many people bring their own boat and go out to the reef or to some ledges amongst the sea grass. You can also rent a boat in the Florida Keys, or charter a boat to take you lobstering. Also, lots of lobstering is done with scuba gear instead of snorkeling. Whatever method you use, make sure you put up your dive flag whenever you’re in the water, especially during the chaos of lobster mini season.
Lobsters live in crevices and under rocks and coral. You need a tickle stick to coax them out and then annoy them until they run into your net. Measure your lobster while in the water because you must not even take an undersize lobster out of the water. If you see bright orange eggs on the underbelly of the lobster, send her back. You cannot take egg-bearing females either. A catch bag is good so you don’t have to swim back to your boat every time you catch a lobster.
With some minimal snorkel and free-dive skills and basic gear, it’s a whole lot of fun to catch lobsters in the Florida Keys. Even beginners can get started in shallower water towards the beginning of the season before other shallow-water lobstering people get to them. Practice your diving skills, learn how the lobsters move and react, and you have a new water sport skill to try whenever you visit the Florida Keys.