Lobster Mini Season

waterskunkwaterskunk Posts: 53 Deckhand
Hello All

I'm new to the idea of lobstering and I'd like to ask for a little advance for this 2013 mini season coming up. I'm a fort Myers local with a pathfinder 17t, (calm water boat) looking for some places to try my luck in the fl keys. I'm very aware that asking for personal spot is off limit and would never ask anyone to give up hard earned lobster spots. And I'm aware of the habitat to look for which hold lobster.
What I'm really asking about is which island in the keys seems to hold the most bugs. And which side (gulf or Atlantic) seems to produce most. I'll be snorkeling with my wife with a max depth of around 25 feet
And is it true that bully nets are off limits during mini season in Monroe?
Any advice would be great guys, and if anyone plans to visit fort Myers for some inshore fishing please feel free to use me for questions.
Thanks again
Waterskunk

Replies

  • TrollaltdeleteTrollaltdelete Posts: 661 Officer
    waterskunk wrote: »
    Hello All

    I'm new to the idea of lobstering and I'd like to ask for a little advance for this 2013 mini season coming up. I'm a fort Myers local with a pathfinder 17t, (calm water boat) looking for some places to try my luck in the fl keys. I'm very aware that asking for personal spot is off limit and would never ask anyone to give up hard earned lobster spots. And I'm aware of the habitat to look for which hold lobster.
    What I'm really asking about is which island in the keys seems to hold the most bugs. And which side (gulf or Atlantic) seems to produce most. I'll be snorkeling with my wife with a max depth of around 25 feet
    And is it true that bully nets are off limits during mini season in Monroe?
    Any advice would be great guys, and if anyone plans to visit fort Myers for some inshore fishing please feel free to use me for questions.
    Thanks again
    Waterskunk

    You can find them all over, you will want to look for rocky area or coral areas. It will not be hard to find the spots, as there will be hundreds of boats parked over them. I would get a top spots map and study the terrain. That should help. I am not so sure that the particular island is so important.
    Take out your boat, make a memory!
  • tailchaser16tailchaser16 Posts: 653 Officer
    First you have to find a place to stay which could be harder than finding lobsters.
    I would go down a day or two before and scout. In your sled, I would go bayside. Make yourself some buoys, old pool noodles, 2 liter Coke Bottles or Small Fabric Softener bottles work well. Some string (15' should be fine) and egg sinkers. With your wife or you on the bow wearing polarized sunglasses, drive around and look for spots/rocks/holes. When you see something interesting throw marker, circle around with next buoy in hand in case you see something else, jump in on marker. Save as waypoint on GPS or move on. Come Wednesday of mini season, you should be sitting on the spot that had the most bugs at sun up.
    If you need anything else, IM me cause I don't frequent this section.
  • waterskunkwaterskunk Posts: 53 Deckhand
    Thanks for the info, yeah it sounds pretty competive down there. Sounds fun!
  • IntheslotIntheslot Posts: 338 Deckhand
    I'm not an expert by any stretch but wouldn't dream of looking for bugs without a tow behind diver planer board. They are about $70 and worth every penny.

    You have the wife drive the boat and you tow behind on the planer board looking for structure with bugs. You'll cover 10 times more ground than just swimming around and will not get nearly as tired.

    Have some milk jugs with 20' cord tied to whatever heavy you have on hand. If you find something drop off and yell. DO NOT take your eyes off it as it will be hard to find after the fact. Have the wife throw off the jug.

    DO NOT keep any shorts or eggers.

    2 hrs before and 2 hours after high tide will give you the best visability.

    Work the cuts produced by the tidal flow through bridges. The closer to the bridges, the more current. I did much better on the gulf side.

    If you are south of Long Key, take a pole spear for the reds (groupers) that hold up in the same holes.

    Good luck.
  • AaronlynardAaronlynard Posts: 24 Greenhorn
    I plan on going down myself this year. My plan was literally tow my boat down and live out of my truck. Are there any camping grounds around the islands that hold lobsters? Which is the northern most island that holds bugs? I was looking at about 25 ft too. I have a 16 ft Carolina Skiff and hope the weather is nice. If things get rough are there any places that a small boat can get out of the wind and into calmer water ( I'm used to the mangroves here in cocoa Beach) any help would be awesome.
  • fishslayer12fishslayer12 Posts: 334 Officer
    Run in the bay til you find white patch in the grass...jump in and check it out...if its what you want, clean it out and throw the ski rope out and make circles all around that area til you find the next hole...ive never used a planer board, and to be honest, wouldn't spend $70 on one...you could make one for probably 20..by the end of the day, if you dont feel like you have mullet lips, you weren't in the water long enough!
    I dive pretty much exclusively bayside, have been all my life... atlantic side is nice, but wind can make it alot rougher, and it will be somewhat deeper.
    And, no, bully nets are not illeagal for mini season. I go to marathon every year as of the last few years, cuz it's the first decent sized key with publix, home depot and kmart that you can spearfish with in the 3 mile rule (got to be south of long key to be under the 3 miles to spear)
    even if the water clarity is not great bayside, when you know what to look for you can see the holes from the boat.
    Bring a polespear too, and shoot red grouper and hogfish, mangroves and lionfish to add to the catch and fun!
    and it is truly not all that competitive, unless you are going to the contents or something like that... then its a parking lot of boats...2 years ago i caught the biggest keys lobster i have ever caught, and at least 40% were softshells, which was very interesting... you wont really find many, if any eggers, at least that is my experience.
    Good luck!
    If the fish aren't bitin', I jump in and shoot them....
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