By: Tim Lewis
These ten tips will improve your odds this lobster season
There are many sports that can be pursued while diving; photography, spearfishing, exploration, observation and collecting tropicals are just a few. Lobstering must be included near the top of the list as the staggering popularity of the “sportsman season” testifies. Sighting a ledge from under which many pairs of antennae protrude or glimpsing a nearly hidden giant in the shadowy depths of a recess always imparts a quickening of the pulse and a special surge of excitement. Underwater sounds also accompany the sport. The creatures creak out rusty protests when hands clamp firmly on their carapaces and often slap their tails repeatedly when placed in the bag.
Florida lobsters or spiny crawfish, whichever name you prefer, abound in the waters around our state. Commercial lobstermen catch them in traps or “pots,” but the Florida sportsman secures them by hand with no aid from spears or hooks. Snares can be utilized. These consist of a loop that can be tightened at the end of a handle. The loop is positioned behind the lobster and worked over the tail and then tightened either by hand or some devices have a spring. Nets are also allowed. The mouth of the net is placed at one end of a ledge or opening in the reef and the lobster gently herded into it with a tickle stick. The traditional and probably most common method is to use the tickle stick to block the rearward retreat of the lobster and to grab it with a gloved hand. Capturing one this way is an accomplishment as special and enjoyable in itself as the broiled tail will later be!
In any group of lobster divers there seems to be one who regularly succeeds in capturing more and bigger crawfish than the others. I asked a couple such divers for some helpful suggestions for other sportsmen, from beginners to accomplished lobsterers and compiled the following ten tips from the ideas they related. Maybe not that surprisingly, although interviewed separately, their suggestions were very similar.
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