Mangrove Marina

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Lobster Season in Florida: Everything You Need to Know

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Lobster season in the Florida Keys is gearing up right now. Are you ready? From August 6 to March 31 every year, divers from around the world flock to reap a bountiful harvest from Florida’s richly productive waters. Since the days of spearfishing and home-canning, lobster hunting has been a popular and productive pastime with delicious results. They lurk seemingly everywhere in these waters, from the shallows and around the mangroves to the deeper waters surrounding the wrecks and the reefs. Still, few places offer such rich hunting as the Florida Keys. Mangrove Marina’s full-service marina makes it easy to drop anchor with wet slips rental and go “bug” hunting with friends or family.

Essential Gear

Taking a few minutes to ensure you have everything you need before you start can give you better odds of a successful hunt and plentiful harvest. Along with your wet slips rental at Mangrove Marina, you will also need to have the following:

A saltwater fishing license and lobster stamp
A gauge to ensure the carapace is at least 3 inches long
A waterproof flashlight to light your way through dark cavernous stretches
Kevlar gloves to protect your hands
Tickle sticks encourage the lobsters out of hiding
Loop snares, bags and “lobster inns” to catch lobsters

Many divers prefer SCUBA gear so that they can spend more time on the bottom hunting. Make sure that you understand the potential risks and hold all necessary certifications before using SCUBA gear. Have all your gear serviced and display your dive flag before actually entering the water. Take the flag back down once all divers are back on board.

Where to Go

Recreational lobstering, or “bug hunting,” kicks off in early August. By late summer, you can find spiny lobsters throughout the coral reefs of the keys out into the clear waters of the Atlantic. Conditions are best early in the season in water that is clear, warm, and calm. If you are unsure where to go, there are plenty of charters that will take you to favorite local spots.

Rules and Regulations

  • You must land the lobster in its entirety.
  • You may not harvest or possess an egg-bearing lobster.
  • Florida law prohibits harvesting spiny lobsters using devices that could damage the shell or flesh of the lobster as well as recreational trapping.
  • The daily bag limit is six per person.

You are prohibited from harvesting lobster in the following areas:

  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • No-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
  • Biscayne Bay/Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary
  • The five Coral Reef Protection Areas in Biscayne National Park

Mangrove Marina offers the perfect home-base during the lobster season in the Florida Keys. You can use one of our wet slips or a luxurious, fully equipped houseboat for your stay. Our well-appointed full-service marina has everything you would need for your stay, including barbecues, Tiki huts, laundry facilities, shower rooms, and more. Call us today to make your reservation or visit our site to learn more!

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