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What You Need To Know About Florida Lobster Season

What You Need To Know About Florida Lobster Season

Florida Lobster Season

Tomorrow marks the start of the first of Floridas’ two Lobster seasons. The mini lobster season, last for two days each year during the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. The 2018 mini season begins at 12:01 am on Wednesday July 25th and Ends at 12:00 Midnight on Thursday July 26th. After the mini season, don’t miss the regular eight month season which runs from August 6 through March 31st.

Learn more about the applicable rules & regulations on the Florida Fish and Wildlife website.

What Do You Need?

  • Dive Flag – All divers in Florida waters must display a dive flag and stay within 300 feet of open water.
  • Tickle Sticks – Thin stick used to get lobsters out their hiding places without hurting the reef.
  • Lobster Nets – To catch your lobster with ease.
  • Gloves – For handling the Florida spiny lobster while not disturbing the reef.
  • Game Bags – After catching dinner, throw it in the bag for safe keeping.
  • Underwater Fishing Lights – If you plan on fishing at night you’ll need to be able to see the lobster.
  • Lobster Gauge – Used to measure the size of your catch and make sure its legal to keep. Lobsters must be measured under water before being placed in your bag.

Where to Find Florida Lobster

Although you can find the Florida spiny lobster from Pensacola to Key West, the Florida Keys is by far the most popular place to dive for them. The shallow, warm and pristine waters are ideal. If your located further north, don’t worry, you can still find lobsters, but it may require you to dive deeper in your hunt. The heaviest concentrations of lobsters are found in the following three areas:

  1. The Florida Keys – (Islamorada to Marathon) are considered ideal hunting ground for lobster. Notable Sites: The Garden, Fish Bowl, the Aquarium, the Bomb Holes, Rubble piles of the Seven-Mile Bridge, Hermans Hole, and Yellow Rocks, The Sambos and Dry Rocks (Key West)
  2. The Gold Coast – (Reefs of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties) – You can pretty much find lobsters within 50 yards of the sand right from the beach, or join a lobster charter to go further out.
  3. The East Coast (Vero Beach to Jacksonville) – You have to dive deeper the more north you go, but you can always find a shore dive or charter to hit deep offshore sites like Elton Bottom and Clayton’s Holler.

Lobsters can typically be found in reefs, grass beds and sand flats anywhere from three to 130 feet. They hide during the day in holes and under rocks and ledges; then feeding in the open during the night.

How to Catch Florida Lobster

Once you’ve located a lobster (typically found in shallow water under rocks and in holes), use your tickle stick to tap the lobster on its tail from behind moving it forward and out of the hole. You may need to be a bit more aggressive and use the stick to force the lobster out. After you’ve managed to get the lobster out of the hole, place your net behind it and tap it on the head to move it backwards into your net. As soon as the lobster is in the net sweep it around so the lobster is secured.

NOTE: The minimum sized lobster outlined by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission that you can keep must have a carapace or body measuring at least 3 inches. If its too small, throw it back!

Tips

  • Look Closely & Think Like a Lobster
  • Get a License here.
  • Know your bag limits – Varies by County.
  • Check for Eggs – Females carrying eggs must be put back unharmed.
  • Share you catch with friends and family!

Wishing everyone a fun and fruitful lobster season.

Make sure to share photos of you catch with us on social media by tagging us @yourcityenterprise #yourcityenterprise.

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