I’d no more finished last month’s article (5 Lobster Hunting Secrets) and I’d thought of a few more that I could pass on. Actually, some of these were passed on to me by others. Again, some of these “secrets” are, perhaps, not-so-secret and yet others border on, well, shall we say, legend.
COVER A LOT OF REEF
Those that get the most lobster are those that cover the most bottom, its often that simple. You need to take a hit and run mentality. Leave the ones that are too hard to get at alone. You could find yourself struggling half a dive to get one small lobster when three big ones are just down the road.
CHECK FOR BACK DOORS
Lobster homes of crevices and small caves often have a back door. When you approach them backed into their hole, they often back up beyond reach. Check for a back door. Sometimes you can reach them and grab them by their spiny little behinds. Other times you can frighten them back toward the front entrance. Buddy cooperation works best with this method.
USE BUDDY COOPERATION
As mentioned above, buddy team lobster hunting can be ideal for spooking a lobster out a crevice with two entrances. It also works well for lobsters in the open. Some key points need to be covered here: first, always share the catch equally. Remember, you’re a team. Second, if night diving, keep the light out of your buddy’s eyes. If you need to signal them, flash your light across his chest rather than in his face.
More big bugs have been pulled off of Southern California breakwaters than any of the Channel Islands in recent years. The habitat is ideal with abundant caves and crevices. Lobsters are largely scavengers so food is plentiful with adjacent harbors. You do not need to compete with commercial lobster trappers as they avoid breakwaters. And lobsters prefer warmer waters which, although not dramatically, is afforded by harbor waters.
Just about any breakwater will do but some are better than others. Some have beach access, others require a boat. All DO NOT allow diving inside the harbors. Most breakwater diving is surgy and usually dirty. It can be tough diving often left to advanced divers.
CHARTER BOAT RULES
Rule #1: there are no rules*. I have seen a full boat load of divers hit the water and scatter in every direction and the last diver on the boat heads right under the boat and manages to bag the largest, most, and only lobster. Other times old pros will get skunked and a rookie will hit it big just because they head in the right direction. Here is what I have concluded: Southern California charter boat skippers, some of the best in the world mind you, will usually put you within a few yards of a nice cache of lobster. But they are not going to tell you exactly where it is. After all, 30 divers fighting over 20 lobsters on the bottom hardly leads to a pleasant dive trip. By putting you close, sometimes right on top, but not giving you exact locations, gives everybody a fighting chance, even the lobster.
*Amendment to Rule #1: Fish & Game laws will be strictly enforced by all boat skippers. If you have a short lobster, or two many, they are returned to the sea promptly. Any questions?