By Cliff Kunde

We’re not talking about mosquitoes here folks; those pesky critters that chase you down and eat your hard earned flesh. We’re referring to those delightful critters that we chase down for our own consumption. I don’t know where the term BUGS came from, I guess they look a little “Buggy” huddled around a coral head or in a hole on the mud flat. Either way, the time is rapidly approaching when the harvest will begin.

The annual mini-season begins July 27th and 28th. The actual regular season is standard from Aug 6th thru Mar 31st. You can get all the information on Lobster Season at “myfwc.com” and the appropriate boating requirements as well.  This is the time to start the process on a successful hunt and dinner. Beginning in July, a little scouting can enhance your adventure ten fold. Like the picture, a standard fishing trip sometimes exposes you to the correct environment where when you can attain your 6-bug limit, the snappers are ready to be dinner too.

It wasn’t long ago that I had a larger than normal Tarpon on, South of Key Biscayne, well, you could still see it anyway. That fish knew the area a lot better than I did. It ran for a while and then would dive to the bottom. It was fairly shallow and clear as a bell. That dang fish worked through ferns and corals so fast that the only thing I could do to save my gear was to keep on top of it in order to continuously clear my line. That’s when I noticed a crowd or cloud of very nice Mangrove snappers scurrying around like ants on a road kill. That braided line hit the coral and decided to go home with the Tarpon. I lost a streamer and about 30 feet of line but gained an isolated snapper hole. The corals were only about 24 inches high, but in five feet of water, that could really put a dent in your day. Not to say anything about the lower unit.

Upon further examination, I noticed something in the coral. Only took a minute to get in the water and look for my fly. It turned out to be an isolated little bit of heaven. Snappers and bugs waiting for food to be flushed out and by them with the change of the tide. That little spot has produced a couple of bugs each time I visit it, I never take more, as I can always return for a few in the future. Something my Dad taught me long ago. I always carry a mask and snorkel with me too and shorts in the summer give me a opportunity to cool off if the 2 o’clock rains don’t show. The picture is from my cell phone, which I was told is safe up to ten feet of water. Even in the shallow water, DON’T believe the tales the store tells you. They’re all trying to sell something.  The pic turned out, but the phone pooped out shortly there after. I never saw that Tarpon again to the best of my knowledge, so if you link up with an 80 to 90 pound brute that has an aqua streamer in its left jaw, it’s mine and I’d like to have it back. Enjoy the dinner too.