Fishing Tips

Lobster Fishing Tips

When hunting for lobster, one of the most important things that you should remember us that they are incredibly fast. Besides speed, the spiny lobster has spines, which is another strong defense mechanism. If you would like to fish for lobster in Florida Keys, it is important to ensure that you are properly outfitted.

The following is a list of the essentials for lobster hunting

  1. Tickle stick
  2. Mesh net
  3. Lobster gloves for protecting your hands from sharp spines
  4. A proper measuring gauge
  5. Saltwater fishing license and lobster stamp
  6. Underwater lighting for looking in crevices and holes as well as blinding lobster temporarily so that they do not flee
  7. If you are snorkeling or diving for lobster in Florida Keys, you need the proper snorkeling and/or diving gear as well as a diver down flag

Here are some of the items mentioned above you will need in your lobster quest. You are free to search for other items you might require using the search bar below each section.

When fishing for lobster, you will often find them traveling in large numbers and in a single file. Movement usually happens at night and during the commercial/regular lobster season, night harvesting for lobster is allowed and very productive. If all this seems to much you can just order lobster and enjoy it without the hassle of catching it.

Florida lobster can be spotted on the mode during the day occasionally. However, it is when they are usually holed up under rocks, in caves, and in the nooks and crannies of the coral reefs. If you are snorkeling or diving for lobster in the Florida Keys, check for antennae poking out from the potential hiding spots. Finding a spiny lobster increases your chances of finding more hiding within and increases the chances of finding one or more within the legal bag limit.

One of the more frustrating features of lobster fishing is that last year’s hot spot is not necessarily this year’s hot spot. The spiny lobster is constantly searching for food, which means that they are always traveling. Lobster hunters should also be constantly on the move, searching for suitable lobster habitat along with tell-tale antennae poking out.

Once you encounter a ‘lobster den’, you shouldn’t eagerly reach in using your hands since more dangerous creatures may be lurking inside. A cautionary rule of thumb is that once you notice an antennae pointing outward while the other one points backward, it is highly likely that something less friendly lurks inside.

If you find a lobster hiding in a crevice, bling it temporarily by shining a light at it and then reach behind it carefully using your tickle stick and tap it lightly on its tail.

At this juncture, the lobster is likely to start moving forward and you will have to be quick and grab it fast using the gloved hand in a back to frontal motion for protecting the hand from its spines.

Once you capture the lobster, ensure that you measure its length from above its eyes between the horns to the middle rear edge of its carapace. If a spiny lobster measures more than 3 inches according to the gauge, you are free to put it in your bag, starting with the tail, intact, and without forgetting to secure the bag.

If the lobster manages to escape from you after it has left its hiding place and you are either unwilling or unable to grab it using your hand, use the tickle stick. Touching on its forehead lightly automatically propels it backwards into your awaiting net.

Kayak Fishing Checklist

Photo by: Michael Whitacre

Are you new or thinking about getting into Kayak fishing? If so, there are a couple of things to think about and a few basic items you will need. The below list is a Kayak fishing checklist. It is a good idea to print out a list for quick reference of things you don’t want to forget. We have all had that “oh crap” feeling when we are out and realize we forgot something! Don’t be that person…

Tip: if you store and load your items the same way every time, they are easier to track and makes running through your checklist much quicker.

Kayak Fishing Checklist

Kayak of course

We are not going to spend a lot of time on this one. It is pretty obvious that you will have your kayak but you would be surprised… I’m assuming you already have one. Just make sure it is loaded before pulling out lol.

Paddle

You paddle is another pretty obvious item but this one can get left behind a little easier. We suggest a lightweight paddle that has a way to attach it to your Kayak for transport. Remember, the best thing you can learn is to set yourself up for success and make travel/preparing as easy as possible.

Safety Gear

You would be surprised on how many people do not pack the correct safety gear. It is not only irresponsible for you, it also would affect you family if you actually needs it.

  • PFD (personal floatation device)
  • A emergency whistle or airhorn
  • Sun block
  • Something hunter orange like a hat (in case you need to be spotted)
  • Headlight if you will be fishing at night
  • Knife
  • Paracord, they make knives and bracelets made with paracord. Search for survival bracelets or knives.
  • If possible and you have room somewhere, it is advised to take a small first aid kit

Portable GPS

Photo by: kayakbest.com

Many people do not think about using GPS while out kayaking but it really is a smart idea. You may think you know your local waters but they can serve couple ways. 1. of course is to know where you are. 2. You can mark honey holes or a turnoff you may not have time to explore but may want to in the future. 3. as a safety device so you can let someone know your exact location if you get into trouble. KayakBest has a good list of the top 5 GPS systems you can find here.

Tackle and Storage

So you will be in a Kayak with limited space, where do you keep your tackle, power bars and water? You want something easy to store and in the limited space you have. This of course depends on the type of fishing your doing.

Engel cooler makes a nice device that has multiple uses. It is a live well if you are using live bait or it can double as a air tight cooler for water and food.  Did you catch it was air tight? The lid locks tightly so if you do capsize and end up dumping it, the cooler stays shut and protects everything in it. Great place to put your phone!

If you don’t want to put your money into one of those, I have two words for you. Milk crate… I have seen many people use these and they make an awesome storage spot. Easy to store and think of how much stuff it can hold. No worries if you have a small tackle box you want to take.

Lastly, think clothing. A cheap fishing vest or cargo pants give you a lot of room to keep lures, etc.

Camera

A camera is a must when fishing these days. When fishing by Kayak, using your phone camera is not the best choice. I always suggest always keeping them protected. We suggest something like a GoPro in a waterproof case. You could attach it to your hat or arm band to get some pretty cool shots.

Fishing License

Seems like a no brainer but make sure you have it on you. We also suggest laminating it as well since you will be on the water. Keeping it along with your wallet in something like the cooler above is recommended.

Water/Snacks

Pack plenty of water along with things like power bars. You will be doing a lot of rowing in the heat. You may be able to get away with a camelbak but a gallon water jug will be just fine (if you have the room).

Proper Attire/Weather Check

Check the weather, always dress for the elements. Remember that you will be doing a lot of rowing. Always wear a hat, wear plenty of sun screen (take extra with you) and wear polarized sunglasses.

Lastly

Though you may have other things to add to your list, this is a good starting point. Just like everything else in life, you need to tailor the list to your needs. It’s a good idea to make your list, print it out. Laminate it and keep it with your gear.

I also want to stress that coming up with a packing and travel system will save you a ton of headaches. That way, it is always the same, you know where everything is and you will not lose things when your in a hurry.