Spiny lobster season in Florida runs from Early August to March each year. It’s a fun time where scuba and freedivers can get in the water with minimal equipment and catch a delicious meal. South Florida offer more opportunity for people without scuba gear as there are thousands of places to go in shallow water. However, it doesn’t matter where you go, you need to be aware of the rules and safety tips that come with lobstering. You cannot keep females that are carrying eggs, and all lobsters must have a head that is longer than 3 inches.
You also can not put a lobster in a boat or catch bag until you’ve measured it so make sure that you have a measuring gauge with you in the water. Along with this, here is some other freediving lobstering gear you should take with:
- Tickle stick and gauge: A tickle stick is a long, thin stick (usually about 3-4 feet long) that is designed to get into small holes or hard to reach places. You push the pole past the lobster and then wiggle it behind them to push them out. You then place your net behind them. Ideally, because spiny lobsters swim backwards, they will swim back into the net. Then you will twist it to keep the secure until you are able to grab them for measurement. Most tickle sticks have a small hole on the end where you hold it to allow for a measuring gauge to be attached.
Important note: Never stick your hand into an area you cannot see. There can be sea urchins,crabs, eels or something else that will defend itself or mistake fingers as small bits of food.
- Net and catch bag: The net is an important piece of equipment but if you are freediving from the beach you will also want to have a lobster hotel Velcro closure mesh bag with you. This is going to be your best friend if you find a great spot because it allows you to securely store the lobster while you go after more.
- Dive flag: The dive flag is the most important piece of equipment to have with you when you are freediving. The simplest way to display your flag is on you boat, but if you are beach diving a float is your next best bet. You can attach the float and dive flag to your catch bag as well to make it easier to keep an eye on your catch bag.
- Gloves: Again, you do not want to stick your hand into any areas that you cannot see. However, you also want to be careful handling a lobster without gloves. Your skin is very soft and vulnerable because it has been soaking in water and the shell of a lobster is hard and covered with sharp spikes, after all they are called Florida Spiny Lobster.
- Speargun & knife: A knife is a good idea to have with you in the water just in case you have a problem getting tangled with rope or any other entanglement. As far as having a speargun, this is based on preference and experience. Many freedivers like to take a speargun with them when they lobster because there’s a good chance they will encounter fish like hogfish, snapper, grouper or something else. However, before you take a speargun into the water, you need to be aware of the safety rules that come with it as well as regulations for spearing certain species of fish.
Freediving for lobster is a fun, exciting and thrilling experience that’s enjoyed by people of all ages. Make sure you have the right gear and understand the rules and safety Cps for going out on the water and you can hopefully have a great dinner that you caught yourself.