My First Mini-Season

What might feel like the Black Friday of the sea to some used to feel like magic to me. My first lobster mini season commenced several years ago after a late shift at Da Big Kahuna in Fort Lauderdale.

lobster mini season

My best friend was notorious for “yessing” any last minute adventure I hit her with. When I texted her at 10 p.m. with, “Meet me at 15th street boat ramp at 11:15 with a bathing suit. Lobsties!” I knew she’d be in. She bought a lobster permit online and I clocked out. We could already see the coast peppered with navigator lights from the top of Beach Place as I ran down the stairs to my car, my apron strings trailing behind.

I didn’t know much about this “lobster mini season” buzz, except that it happened mid-summer at midnight and in our circle of friends, no girls were allowed. I wanted in.

After convincing my buddy I would be an asset, bribing him with Publix subs and reminding him that my playlists were unparalleled, he reluctantly told me when and where. I swapped my greasy uniform for a wetsuit and said yes to the cafecito the boys were passing around. Local hopefuls and empty hotel bags jam packed the dock. It was 11:30 p.m., and the urgency of the night was palpable. This was more serious than I expected.

We fueled up the Palmetto, and it felt like New Years Eve riding out and counting down to midnight. Port Everglades was a wet version of I-95 at 5:30 p.m., but once east of the inlet, boats dispersed to their secret spots. Gareth gave me a crash course on the third lung and the tickle stick while I half listened and half marveled at the pools of light that broke the black of the Atlantic. I’m no stranger to a night swim, but it was my first night dive. I was determined to do my part in limiting out on spinies.

lobster mini season

Giddy with caffeine and adrenaline, I hopped in the water with three buddies. The familiar water I knew by day wasn’t confettied with colorful fish, it was a pitch black treasure chest and it was alluring. We followed my friends’ beams of light and their lead. I marveled at watching the bugs crawl across the sea floor and bury themselves beneath ledges. I tallied up the ones I let get away and knew I would be back next year to make up for it.

We climbed the ladder back onto the boat. I lay in a beanbag chair on the bow, and we bobbed around watching Fort Lauderdale sparkle—half from cars cruising A1A, half from lights of the community with salt in their blood and lobsters in their livewells. Maintaining my credibility as the best mini season DJ in south Florida, I cracked a Miller, tossed one to my best friend, cranked up “Fishing in the Dark” and counted my lucky stars for having Florida on my driver’s license.

I loved knowing that for the next two days, half of south Florida would have heavy eyelids by noon, and the lucky ones would have lobster on their dinner plates. I was happy with an invite for next lobster mini season and memories from one of my all time favorite summer nights.

By Melissa Centofanti

Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.