Is there a better time of year than the beginning of football season? Last week we kicked off the college season. This week the NFL gets underway. And, starting Monday, Monday Night Madness radio show hits the airwaves with yours truly joining the team to talk football and fishing at Sparky’s Landing in Key Colony Beach. Please drop in to watch the show and enjoy Sparky’s wonderful food and waterfront atmosphere. There will be sports trivia, prizes and giveaways, and of course, the Monday Night game broadcast on Sparky’s flat panel TVs. You can also listen in on WFFG 1300AM.
Before and after the games this weekend I recommend hitting the water to try your hand at lobstering. “Bug hunting” in the Florida Keys is a fantastic way to spend the day with your friends and family, and get a little exercise in the process. If you plan to head out searching for lobster and don’t have any honey holes of your own, a good place to start is Florida Bay. Find clear water in depths of six to 12 feet, and search for sandy patches or anomalies on the bottom, including coral heads, holes, ledges or any kind of structure where lobsters can hide. We have great success limiting out so far this lobster season, and there are still plenty of spiny tails out there for you to collect and cook up on the grill.
Things to Remember when Lobstering:
– Lobster must be larger than 3” carapace, measured in the water.
– Each person in the water must have his or her own measuring device.
– Florida Fishing Licenses and Lobster Permits are required.
– You may keep six lobsters per person in Monroe County (12 in the rest of Florida).
– You must display and dive flag while in the water, and take down the dive flag down while the boat is moving.
– Spearing lobster is illegal.
– Take your phone and wallet out of your pocket before jumping in the water!
While on your lobstering excursion, I also suggest taking a few fishing rods along. Big mangrove snappers have been making their ways back into Florida Bay, and just last week I saw several schools of three and four pound fish while out catching lobster. To target these fish, first anchor up and get the chum flowing. It shouldn’t take long for pinfish and ballyhoo to swim up in your chum line which you can catch using either a cast net, or a hair hook tipped with a small piece of shrimp or squid. Use small live pinfish or ballyhoo, or fresh cut chunks, on a 2/0 circle hook, with a two foot stretch of 15-20 pound fluorocarbon leader tied to a swivel and ½ ounce lead. You should be able to land a few nice fish that will go along great with your lobster dinner!
Elsewhere on the water, we’ve been finding more and more big dolphin offshore anywhere from 13 to 25 miles out. The fish are still scattered, but we have been able to locate nice fish, with most fish being found on weed lines and scattered grass.
On the reef, the yellowtail snapper fishing remains excellent, especially in the afternoon. The clear water has forced us to drop down to 10 pound fluorocarbon leaders, making it difficult to land some of the bigger fish, but enticing plenty of nice keepers.
Your Best Bet for the Week Ahead: Lobstering
Spend a relaxing day with your friends and family searching Florida Bay for spiny lobster. It’s exciting, it’s great exercise, and tasty tails on the grill are a great way to celebrate an evening in the Florida Keys.