Wildgame hunters wouldn’t enter into the woods without the proper gear and weaponry to kill a deer, turkey, duck, or…. even a squirrel.
So the lobster mobster wouldn’t be a wise one to plunge into the ocean without having the right tools to bag those tasty bugs!
This year we are calling upon a true original conch. A man at Divers Direct and the grandson of former Key West City Commissioner Charles Percy Curry Jr., and Florida State University criminal justice major—Spencer Curry! A genuine local guy who’s caught enough lobster to give us all a lesson in bagging those bugs! He reminds us, everyone you MUST have a lobster license, which you can get at the from our Monroe County tax collector, call 888-FISH-FLORIDA, surf over to www.myfwc.com, or visit just about any local marina or tackle shop.
Good luck, and remember to be stewards of the ocean. Men make their living from caging the crustaceans and poaching their potential catch will have a notable, and negative, trickle-down effect on our economy.
Here’s a look what you should wear and the gear you should use out in the clear, blue H20!
“These help me see the ledges and the rocks.” Curry doesn’t hit the water without his Costa’s. This year he’s wearing the Corbina style with blue lenses.
These fins send you down to the bottom faster. The Gara 2,000’s by Cressi. “You can go pretty deep,” claims Curry. “They give you a lot of power. But, they’re not hard to kick. You can get down faster and stay a bit longer.”
Families who stay together… lobster together. Pictured is Spencer with his dad, Scott, mom, Vicki, brother, Connor, and sister Tiffany. The dog’s name is Marley.
Safety! The last scenario you want to unfold during the hunt is to be run over by a boat. Inflate and place an inflatable dive flag above the spot you’re submerged. This model surpasses Florida State Laws for dive flags with a giant 16’ x 20’ flag. The 22’ yellow buoy further enhances visibility and has the words ‘Diver Below’ to make it extra clear to those tourists on wave runners. The flag is easy to illuminate by attaching glow sticks or a light and deflates for easy packing. It’s simple to tow and one of our experts just recently discovered it could even hold a few water bottles for your return to the surface.
A hotel to house your critters. You have two options. 1.) a mesh bag or 2.) a mesh bag with a nylon side. Curry advises you upgrade this option and go for the one shown because the lobsters tend to tangle in the mesh. With the nylon, just slide the crustaceans with ease. Bag shown will accommodate the lobster from three divers if they reach their limit.
The proof is in the numbers! Spencer and his family and buddies hit their limit and leave lobster for the commercial fishermen! Photo courtesy: Spencer Curry
The carapace needs to measure 3”. The FWC can fine you $300 a lobster if you pull “shorties.” Begin at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace. Measurement must take place in the water.
Don’t go after the spiny tail in your dive gloves. The crawfish will tear them apart quicker than you can set $35 on fire. Instead, pick up a pair of inexpensive, mesh gloves for $4 – $7. “You don’t want to spend a lot on gloves,” says Curry. “When they get torn you can throw these away.”
The Oceanic Shadow SCUBA Mask is geared for hunters! The no-frame design reduces weight, provides one of the largest fields-of-view, and packs flat. The mask Curry prefers. “The key is to have a mask that fits the person wearing it. Come in and be fit for one.”
Divers Direct Spencer Curry may as well be born in the ocean. His grandpa served the community as a city commissioner. Curry was so young when his grandpa and dad started taking him hunting for Florida lobster, he can’t remember that far back!
Local guy Spencer Curry doesn’t just talk the talk, but nets the bugs! Head his advice if you want a successful mini season. Photo courtesy: Spencer Curry
Tampa Tourist, Johnny Wobensmith, hasn’t gone after the crustaceans during mini-season – yet. He always vacations from the mainland with his parents the week before the huntings starts to happen.
The Tusa SP 170 Hyperdry Scuba Snorkel is a piece of gear you should have in your bag. This is why. When you’re in up on the ledges this model will bend instead of breaking as will a lot of hard, plastic snorkels. Plus, has a purge and splash guard. Water will be kept out when boats run by creating a wake.
Considering our water is above 85°, you don’t need a wetsuit. Instead, Curry suggests a rash guard. “You’ll be up against the ledges trying to get the lobster out. This will keep you from getting all that algae and stuff on you who can cause itching, and the sun off you.”