Caribbean Lobster Season

Caribbean Lobster Season

Caribbean Lobster season started on December 2nd, and even though the locals have been grabbing them for the last six months on the sly, there are still massive Lobsters exploring the reef in front of our place. Last Friday night there was a Lobster that was about 3 feet long sitting in the case at the Edge… It must have weighed 6 pounds!

I took a photo of it for the folks back home it was so big.

Anyways… as far as Caribbean Lobster Season goes:

This season, I plan on catching and eating a bunch of the creepy bastards.

There are some obvious tips for a successful lobster hunt. One includes night diving. Lobsters are nocturnal and venture forth from their rocky lairs under the cover of darkness. They are much easier to capture when out in the open. Some tips are not as well known and were picked up by chatting with local fishermen. For example: the little known fact that Lobsters swim “backwards” or tail-first… so it’s easier to catch them tail-first… they swim right in. Here’s a small list of tips and tricks that I have picked up in my elusive hunt for these tasty critters:

  • Go at night. They are easier to catch and it just plain sounds cooler and more dangerous.
  • Use your light as a weapon. So you can see in the dark, of course… but also because Lobsters tend to freeze when they get hit with blinding light. Most animals do, I guess. I know I do.
  • Pin them down. If the lobster is out in the open, don’t grab away at it… pin the fucker. Come down on the Lobster like Hulk Hogan and pin him straight to the bottom with your hand or spear. If you go for the grab, chances are good that the lobster will be gone before you even decide to try to close your fingers around their spiny torso.
  • Wear good gloves. Caribbean Spiny Lobster lack the large pinching claws of their famous, Maine relatives. They do, however, have a lot of very sharp spines (they are called “spiny” after all). Most of these spines can easily penetrate cheap dive gloves and puncture flesh. It fucking hurts. Badly.
  • Shake the bastards. During the daytime, and all too often at night, lobsters hide backed under the reef with just their heads sticking out. How you get them out of the crevice is perhaps the most difficult challenge you face in lobster hunting. Lobsters are stupid and curious but also very quick. This means that they will often venture forth from their holes to see what the hell is happening… but the moment they sense danger they’re gone.
  • Hesitate, and you’re lost. It’s important that you don’t hesitate to study the situation too long. Move in quickly, hopefully getting a hold of the head. The base of the antennae is also good (sometimes called the “horns”) as these will not break off. The lobster will do what is known as “locking-up”… by pressing its legs down and body up it will wedge itself like a fucking anchor into the reef. If you give the Lobster a good shake, chances are good you can thrown off it’s equilibrium. They’ll let go, and slide right on out.
  • Lobsters are social. Find one, and there are probably more. Often, you just swim along and see hole after hole with no lobsters… Then all of the sudden, there they all are. It often seems like lobsters choose their holes by committee. You see all these empty holes that could put 100 lobsters out of reach and they will all be empty. Then you find fifteen in a hole where they have no where to go.

This is an excerpt from The Iguana Diaries, a book about our adventures living in The Cayman Islands.
To read the entire book, click here.

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