MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Lobster mini-season got off to a slow start at the stroke of midnight.
Divers who hit the water at 12:01 a.m. in search of the elusive bugs found them just that – elusive. Unlike years past when they were plentiful, divers returning to Crandon Park Marina at Key Biscayne said either there weren’t that many out there or they were hiding to spots that they didn’t find.
Most divers and lobster hunters didn’t reach their daily limit and some even came back empty handed.
“It was terrible out there,” said Kenny Baldwin. “There’s nothing on the bottom. We went a solid hour and didn’t see one lobster.”
But not everyone had bad luck.
“I think it was amazing. We went at 12:01 a.m. and by 12:50 a.m. we were out with 48 lobsters,” said Yamir Lopez.
“This year’s conditions are great, we caught a lot of lobster. Last year we caught six and that was a lot,” said Mike Gutierrez.
Gutierrez and his crew caught their limit so did Mike Carter and friends who came back with a boatload – 72 lobsters in just two hours among six people.
Trevor Thompson said he hit the jackpot.
“This one here is a pretty big, it is around three pounds, this one here is an average lobster, good legal size, about a pound so to get one of these is a trophy for sure,” said Thompson.
If you are planning on going lobster hunting yourself, there are some rules you must remember.
According to state law, during the two-day sport lobster season, divers and snorkelers can take up to six lobsters per person daily in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, 12 per person per day for the rest of Florida.
The lobsters must have a carapace length greater than 3 inches to be legally taken during the open season. Divers must possess a measuring device, and lobsters must be in the water while they are measured.
Taking egg-bearing females is prohibited.
The spiny lobsters must remain in whole condition until they are brought to shore. Any device that might puncture, penetrate or crush the shell of the lobster may not be used.
Click Here for the rules of this year’s mini-season.
Night diving for spiny lobsters during the two-day sport season is not allowed in Monroe County. Additionally, there is no lobster hunting in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the two-day season.
Lobster harvest is also prohibited at all times in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Spiny Lobster Sanctuary, certain areas in Pennekamp Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
You must have a recreational saltwater fishing license and a spiny lobster permit unless you are exempt from recreational license requirements.