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| Spiny Crawfish Biology
| Spiny Lobster Sport (Mini) Season
Bullynetting for Lobster
During the Mini Lobster Season you can't dive at night in the Florida Keys. But this does not stop the lobstering.
Lobster move at night, often many miles. They find a hole or some shelter and sit out the daylight hours in hiding. At night, they feed and continue their migration to their breeding grounds. They can be found moving across the flats, sometimes very quickly with the tide. With a good light or lights and water shallow enough to reach the bottom with your Bully Net you can catch your limit of bugs in short order. All it takes is the right equipment and a little technique.
That equipment would include lights, to light up the seabed and spot the lobsters, and a good bully net. What is a Bullynet? If you took a normal net, about two feet in diameter, on a pole about ten feet long, you have the makings of a bully net. Simply bend the ring of the net to a ninety-degree angle with the pole. The idea is to use the pole to jam the ring of the net right over the lobster. The lobster will often kick its tail raising up from the bottom and into the net, and you simply sweep the net forward and lift him aboard the boat.
Sometimes the lobster just sits there. If this occurs you will need to carefully slide the net across the bottom until the lobster is in the net and proceed as above.
Underwater lights work extremely well, lighting up the bottom without annoying other boaters. There are many specially made light rigs as well as kits and instructions for do it yourselfers. You can also use powerful handheld spotlights.
An easy way to search for the traveling lobsters is to allow the current to drift you across the flat. This can be Grass or Sand Flats. Watch the bottom and be prepared to work fast, you may only get one chance. The best water depth is 3 to 5 feet. On shallower flats you run the risk of running aground and getting stuck on an outgoing tide. Deeper water increases the difficulty in manuvering the net.
When drifting across the flats it is a good idea to occasionally check the water depth. This can be very deceiving in the clear Florida Keys water and you can suddenly find yourself very shallow water or in 10 to 15 feet of water and that lobster you just spotted is out of reach.
It is a good idea to wear life vests, with attached portable lights, just in case someone gets over zealous and goes overboard. This is something that can be much more hazardous when it occurs at night.
An added feature to gliding across shallow flats in the Florida Keys at night are the many other creatures frequent the flats at night. They include snapper, crabs, stingrays and sharks, some which can be enormous.
If you think this may not be a very productive method to catch your lobster this may wake you up. The Commercial Vessel limit for harvesting with a bullynet is 250 Lobster per vessel per day statewide!
Bully netting for lobster can also give members of your party, who would not be able to otherwise get involved in lobstering due to limitations on diving, a chance to join in the fun. Just remember everyone actively engaged in harvesting lobsters must have the required licences and lobster stamps.
Here is the perfect light to use for your BullyNetting experience. Brinkmann Starfire II Underwater Fishing Light . 250,000 candlepower, 12 volt DC, 10' cord with battery terminal clips. Can be used from a boat or off a dock. Attracts most baitfish, Squid, Crappie, Bass, Walleye and Shrimp. Light must be lowered below the surface of the water before connecting to a power source. Leave the light in the water at least a minute to cool after disconnecting the power. Hurry and get yours before they are all gone!
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