By Ted Lund
For many in Florida — especially the Florida Keys — lobster mini-season is a rite of passage. During the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of every year, thousands of free and SCUBA divers converge on the Florida Keys in search of this tasty crustacean.
Although some shorebound anglers can get in on the fun, it's better with a boat; and few boats compare to the Carolina Skiff as the ultimate lobstering platform as the DLV Series from Carolina Skiff.
Available in five different sizes (178, 198, 218, 238 and 258), the DLV features a wide-beam and open layout that makes it perfect for getting in on the bugging action. And it's easy to spec a boat out specifically for your purpose by visiting Carolina Skiff's website where you can virtually outfit your dream lobster caddy.
Whether chasing lobster on coral heads of the Florida Keys Atlantic side on the submerged wrecks and ledges of the Gulf, the DLV's modified Tri-V hull will get you and the family to the lobstering grounds and back with a dry, comfortable ride, even in the event of a fast-developing summer thunderstorm. Plenty of live well and cooler capacity throughout the entire DLV lineup means you'll have plenty of space for limits of spiny lobster.
But now that you've got your platform figured out. What next?
It's always a good idea to get into town a few days early to scout out spots. Trust me; everybody else will. Make sure to book your reservations well in advance as this is one of the busiest weeks for hotels and restaurants in the Florida Keys.
One of the greatest aspects of lobstering is it truly is a family affair. Whether it's chasing or tickling lobsters out from under rocks, to measuring them and counting on board to make sure everything is legal there's something for everybody.
Each person participating must have a Florida Saltwater Fishing License as well as a lobster tag, available at www.myfwc.com or most tackle shops and marinas.
Rules for the Keys are a little bit different: although anglers throughout the rest of the state can take a daily limit of 12 per person; in Monroe County and the Florida Keys that limit drops to 6 per person.
But just like other parts of the state, the lobster must be landed in whole condition, and the carapace (head) must measure longer than 3 inches in length. Possession and use of a measuring device are required at all times. Separating the tail from the body is prohibited in state waters.
You'll also want to notice whether or not the bugs are bearing eggs. If they are — meaning they are pregnant — they must be released. And it is illegal to harvest (or attempt to harvest) using any device that could puncture, penetrate or crush the shell or flesh of the lobster.
Even if all the hotels are booked and you have to make a day trip, there is no better way to experience the mini-lobster season in the Florida Keys than on your DLV Series skiff from Carolina Skiff.
Boaters know Carolina Skiff is the most durable, versatile, stable and economical boat on the planet — and they've maintained their reputation for more than 30 years. From fit to finish, Carolina Skiffs provide the most features and the best functionality available on the market, giving boaters and anglers the best value in both performance and comfort. With more than 60 models across the Carolina Skiff, Sea Chaser and Fun Chaser lines, you are sure to find a boat that meets your personal recreational or commercial needs.