Spiny lobster season is upon us. Perhaps you’re just like South Florida Scuba and Offshore Kayak Fishing guides Kellan Goertemiller and Rob Rodriguez and you have no problem limiting out within one hour at the end of the second day of mini-season. If you are, no need to keep reading. But if you’re like the rest of us, whether you're hitting the keys, the coast of Florida, or another tropical climate, read on for some little-known Florida lobstering tips these masters are so graciously offering to help you step up your game.
- Be Patient Before Descending - Many lobster divers want to get straight to the bottom as quickly as possible. That seems to make sense as that is where all of the action is. Not so fast…Slow down. You will miss a lot of visibility by starting off deep. You’re also more likely to spook everything before you know what’s there. Stay higher and move slowly to scan the bottom and scope out a strategy before making a careful descent.
- Find The Optimal Depth And Stick To It - Using a dive computer mark the depth where you see your first few lobsters. Generally, most spiny lobsters will stay within about a five foot range of depth on a reef. This can be marked by a temperature change, but also can occur without a temperature change. So find that magic depth and don’t go much more than two or three feet above or below it as you hunt.
- Be “BubbleLESS” – Of course, you never ever want to hold your breath on a dive, but try timing your exhale so that it doesn’t spook the lobsters on your approach to the hole. Your exhale bubbles can shut down a great opportunity. Try to inhale as you’re moving toward the hole, and then exhale slowly, maybe even moving away from the hole as you exhale.
- Don’t Blow Up A Stocked Hole – It’s easy to get excited when you find a loaded hole. But before you go jabbing for the big daddy and ignite a late 4th of July, try to instead find the lowest hanging fruit to minimize the disturbance. Even if it’s not a legal size, you want to pull the easy ones out of the way so you can get to the bigger lobsters before they’re spooked. Being patient and methodical with the hole will pay off.
- How Best To “Close The Deal” – To get a lobster in position for the grab, first close your snare and slowly move it to lightly touch the back of its tail (don’t raise the tail). The lobster should move forward slightly, which is the moment you should carefully open up the loop and maneuver the snare back. Then you can get the lobster to move itself backwards into the loop by lightly fanning a little water in its face, or by casting a shadow from above it so it feels uncomfortable enough to retreat.
- BONUS SPEARFISHING TIP – If you see a nice size grouper or hogfish in the area, snare a lobster and leave it drifting in the snare. Back away from the area and hang out for awhile so the fish can get comfortable enough to come out and investigate. It might just give you the perfect opportunity for a clean shot.
A big thanks to Kellan and Rob for sharing their secrets and making this article possible. If you want to get firsthand experience with these pros, I highly recommend booking a guided Florida lobster or kayak fishing trip with them through their website SouthFloridaKayakGuide.com. Comment below to let us know about your plans for lobster season.