What’s “Tickling” the Fancy of Florida Fishing This Week?
All hail the tail! Lobster tail that is! The coast of Florida is riddled with hot to trot fishing spots, but it is also home to some lucrative lobstering. This year, spiny lobster season extends from August 6th all the way through March 31st, for standard commercial and recreational use. The last two days of July, however, are reserved for the splendor of sport fishing!
If your plans for Wednesday and Thursday don’t include chasing some spiny lobster tail while breathing in some salty air, perhaps you need to move some things around accordingly. There is nothing miniature about this two-day stint dedicated to mini lobster season.
Locals often refer to this brief but busy time as the “invasion for the Crustacean”. The Florida Keys and southern east coast regions will be jam-packed with as many as 50,000 snorkelers and divers, all hungry for the sweet and succulent taste of fresh-caught lobster.
Those who brave mini season madness must be fully prepared for a crowded claw-capturing experience that borders on extreme. If you head down south to hunt spiny beauties in the Keys, the maximum number of crustacean catches each person can keep is six per day. Luckily, the lobster limit in other east coast areas is twice that!
Even though the overpopulated waters can be overwhelming, mini lobster season is a favorite fishing event of folks near and far. If, however, you’re a newbie to the spiny lobster mini season scene, here’s what you need to know before diving headfirst into the chaos:
- Keep necessary licenses, permits, and identification readily available. (saltwater fishing license – $17 for residents, lobster stamp – $5)
- Be sure that every diver in your crew is strong enough and skilled enough to participate.
- Be courteous to other lobster hunters.
- Learn how to correctly measure each catch. (Minimum carapace length = 3 inches, picture below provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)
- Measure every lobster before removing it from the water.
- Keep lobsters whole and in tact until they reach shore.
- Bring a cooler large enough to store the shellfish properly.
- Respect the environment, its resources, and the natural ocean habitat.
- Lend a helping hand by removing harmful lionfish from the spiny lobster habitat.
- Spearing is strictly prohibited.
- Cease lobster-hunting efforts at sunset.
- Adhere to standard diving procedures and safety regulations.
- Make sure all scuba equipment and snorkeling gear is safe and functional before diving.
Get stoked fishing friends! Spiny lobster mini season officially kicks off this evening when the clock strikes midnight. Until then, check out the recently updated Aquazul Outfitters store, which even includes two shirt designs that are sure to “tickle” the fancy of any lobster-lover.