Do lobsters have lips? I’d swear they do for all too often I have seen them smiling at me. During the off-season they definitely look at me with that “can’t touch this” grin and I think I can even sometimes hear them snicker. But during the season it is really upsetting. They crouch back in their deep holes just a smilin’.

I have not done well the last few lobster seasons. Now granted, I often have a camera in my hand and it is difficult to handle a thrashing lobster and take pictures at the same time but still, they seem to be mocking me. Perhaps it is because they know I am a hypocrite. I like to photograph and eat them too. I know this seems a bit barbaric, but I have been known to take the picture and then grab them, shove them in my bag, which eventually leads to their demise. Is this wrong? My taste buds tell me no. Besides, I’ll have a great photo to remember my dinner.

I definitely know they have teeth or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. I know because I have been bitten. And it hurts! Keep your hands away from their mouths because they will give you a painful nip, especially the big ones. But do they have lips?

This season I am going to look closely at that crusty crustacean hunkered down in a hole where I can’t reach him. Will that bug be smiling? But watch out you guys. If you are out in the open I make take a picture of your silly little smile, then take you home to eat because I am, after all, a barbarian–a hungry barbarian.

For a Successful Lobster Hunt:

1) Dive at night. Lobsters are nocturnal and come out to crawl about the reef at night. While you can still catch them during the day, it is easier at night. Take a night diving course to better indoctrinate yourselves.

2) Cover a lot of ground. The best lobster hunters move around a lot. If a lobster is not in one hole, or is too difficult to reach, move on to the next.

3) Wear good tough gloves. While our West Coast lobster do not have big claws, their backs are spiny and sharp and can poke through thin weak gloves.

4) Go where the lobsters are; the more remote the least dived, the better, although the frontside of Catalina is still always a consistent producer.

5) With lobster out in the open, go for the pin, not for the grab. If they are in a hole, get a grip on the body or base of the antennae; the antennae themselves will just break off as will the legs.

6) Get a good bag and learn how to use it. In my opinion the best are those that require only one hand to operate and are half fabric and half mesh.

7) Have fun! We are in this for the diving, not just the lobster dinner.