Jun 1, 2006

HOWTO Go Lobstering in Florida

You may be dreaming of a sunkissed vacation as this Hades-like heat descends. If you're looking for an alternative to summer leisure, consider a lobster hunting excursion in the Florida Keys. Having spent many many many portions of my life perfecting this technique, I hope you'll find the following lesson helpful.

In 15 fun and easy steps! (6 steps on this page, the other 9 after the jump)

1. Having a boat makes it much easier. A boat with a GPS marking system makes it much much easier.
2. Get a decent lung capacity and/or a hookah rig.

3. Get a stick (aluminum or some hard metal works best) and make sure it's got a cute little bend in the end. This is your tickle stick.

4. Get a small net, a pair of gloves, and a measuring stick.

5. Learn to call lobsters bugs. This will make you a part of the ever-cool lobsterman club.

6. Never ever piss off commercial lobster captains. They depend on doing this for a living and are not pleased you're doing it for fun. They often have guns on board.


7. Get a waterskiing line and attach it to a makeshift "sled" that will pull you behind your boat.

8. Put on a mask and snorkel, grab your tickle stick and net, and hop in the water holding the sled.

9. Have someone who knows how to drive a boat at 1000RPM with a pair of polarized sunglasses to look for "white spots" in the water.

10. Use your sled and lung capacity as the boat pulls you like a piece of shark bait to look for antennae peeking out from under rocks and ledges along the bottom. It's best to find a "hotel" full of "bugs" so you can "anchor up" and get a "limit" quickly (limit is 6 per person or 24 per boat, whichever is greater).

11. When you've spotted a spiny guy, let go of the "sled" and place your tickle stick in one hand and your net in the other. You'll need to "tickle" the bug out of its resting spot, place your net behind him, and then TAP him between the eyes with your tickle stick. When you do this, he'll scoot backwards straight into your net. Seal the net with your tickle stick and VOILA! You've caught a lobster.

12. With your remaining yet probably fleeting breath, carefully carry the bug to the surface and pass him off to the boat for measurement. If he's a "short" you'll have to put him back in the drink.

13. I recommend placing the legal ones in a cooler onboard. You cannot kill them while you're still out on the water. That fun is left for the sanctity of dry land.

14. When you're back onshore, you'll need a bucket and two hands. With one hand on the carapace and the other on the tail, twist like you're wringing a towel until the body and tail are separated. The tail will be flipping and the antennae will still make noise. You might feel a little unsettled.

15. Break off one antenna from the carapace and discard the rest of the carapace. You'll now use that antenna to clear out the poop chute located in the tail. Think of this as deveining a shrimp, only much larger. Discard the poop shoot, place the tail in a plastic bag. You're ready to prepare any number of recipes.

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