Summer is Here!
With the winds dropping and the sun high now is the time to stay cool underwater. Many options exist for those willing to explore the largest environment for humans on the planet - water!
Katie Strode with a nice keeper lobster!
I often promote what we call "lookelooe dives" in reference to Looe Key, a popular Lower Keys dive location. Snorkeling and diving are prime summer activities! The water is closest to human body temp as we see all year, making it much more enjoyable! The higher water temps also allow for longer times in the water with much less danger of exposure/ hyperthermia. If you're an angler or diver the Florida Keys have year-round adventures for both.
August 6 marks the start of regular lobster season which means that the mask, fins, net, gloves and a tickle stick or a spear shaft are always in the boat! As a person who likes to have only what we need and not all the "might needs", I have a system of dual-purpose for much of my gear! I sometimes free shaft or hunt with a spear gun with no lanyard to the gun. Most lanyards have a swivel that attaches the shaft of the spear making for easy removal allowing you to use the shaft as a tickle stick. The barb on the spear shaft is a great tool for inching those bugs out of a hole. It is illegal to spear lobsters so be sure to tickle them into nets when you're hunting and spot some...shooting them is a no-no.
Most days when spear fishing I am on the lookout for spiny lobster and keep a net handy for a couple of reasons. First, when you shoot a fish and return to the boat a person in the boat can handle the catch without any knowledge other than how to open the cooler. Second, when I see a bug or two the net is handy to be your trap! I also have a measuring device attached to the net so I'm always legal lobstering! Hard to beat a slack tide dive while fishing and it's a huge bonus to bag a few lobsters to go with the steak!
Navigation during regular lobster season can be a little like dodge ball or can feel like Packman if you're tired! A few things to consider with 485,000 traps in the water, each with a buoy! First, each buoy is attached to a trap on the bottom and is some commercial fisherman's income so be nice. Trap ropes are sometimes longer than the water is deep so the poly rope is strung out as much as 20 feet up current of the float. The best way to never have a crab trap rope in your prop is to always travel on the down current side of the floats.
Pray for wind to keep the water temps down, get out and take all the goodies to have a good day on the water, and most of all be flexible. The summer midday heat will drive the fish to the cooler, deeper waters and that is a perfect place to get in and play!
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