Bug Season Opens at the End of July!

By: Capt. Chad Carney

This year the last Wednesday and Thursday falls on July 27th and 28th and opens “Sportsman Lobster Season!” Southeast Florida and the Florida Keys are the primary targets until it closes, and regular lobster season opens August 6th thru March 31st. The 2-day bug season has insanely too many divers and boats in Southeast Florida’s narrow coastline. The Keys have about 3 to 4 times more Atlantic Ocean water and lots more on their shallow Gulf Coast. Sadly, every year there are many diving injuries and some deaths, because so many divers are rookies and only dive once a year.

The Southwest Florida Coast divers are spearos, not buggers, but we find a few big ones once in a while! Shooters rarely drag bulky bugging gear; bags, nets, tickle sticks or snares, while swimming long broken ledges, potholes and wrecks. They fill heavy stringers of grouper, snapper and hogs.

Lobstering Tips: A big speargun behind a beast bug, keeps it from backing up. Or take a freeshaft out and tickle them with the butt end. And a mounted UK mini Q40 light is great!

Poly-coat Dyneema or Kevlar gloves needed for 2-handed grabs, especially on big strong bugs. Grab the antennae bases, (“knuckles”). A bug will kick like crazy unless you let them hold something, like a gauge console or a bug bag. Snares work well but can snap on the big boys! I’ve have a bag that folds up and has a velcro snap shut mouth and bottom zipper to dump in coolers. Of course, always go to myfwc.com for all the current regulations.

Good Luck and dive safe.

Capt. Chad