by Wayne Nichols
It’s that time of year again. Everyone is descending on the Florida Keys. That can only mean one thing, Lobster Season is Back! This is a yearly trip for most folks and the Florida Keys depends on the money from divers and tourists alike. I did some construction work last year down there and there’s still plenty of businesses trying to get back to normal after the devastating hit they took from the last hurricane. On a brighter note, if you’re any kind of diver at all, limiting out on the tasty crustaceans is a breeze and there’s plenty of them. Naturally if you’re not a regular in the Keys, it’s best to hire a guide. While it’s easy to look on a map or ask for locations to dive, you need to remember everyone else is doing the same thing and has access to all the same places, so the odds of catching a limit is not in your favor.
Trial and error, and more trial and error are your best friends when diving. It’s best to go scouting a few days before season opens and GPS some locations. Wake up early, get on the water early, be sitting at a spot by daylight. Opening day and the next few that follow are a madhouse at most common areas. Etiquette goes out the window and manners generally are left at the hotel. Everyone suddenly owns the water and “their spot”. I won’t get into details, but we’ve seen about every rude behavior there is while diving. It’s just part of the game, if you decide to play. I’ve found it’s better to get off the beaten path, find some areas not many go. Bag limits and regulations vary from Miami to the Keys, when and where you can dive, so be sure to check what you can and can’t do for your area. You’ll never be able to justify the cost of diving, food, fuel, lodging etc. vs just going and buying lobster fresh from the market, so don’t try lol! It’s a fun sport and vacation, but can be pricey. Along with diving for lobster comes spearfishing; again several regulations and bag limits have changed, so know where you’re at and what they are. Make sure you have all necessary safety gear, you’re going to get checked and multiple times, usually. This is a great sport to do with family and friends and provides some great memories and meals. We’re heading back out! Y’all stay safe out there and as always, take a kid hunting or fishing when you get a chance.