2015 Mini Lobster Season
How to catch Florida Lobster
Finding Lobsters
Best Lobster spots in the Florida Keys

Order T Shirts 772-323-3474

Florida Keys Lobster Season

This years design portfolio is one of the strongest in my 20 year history of designing lobster tees in the State of Florida.

You can find them at the ALL THE SANDAL FACTORY OUTLETS in the Keys and DIVERS DIRECT in Key Largo and in Key West carries one of last years designs called LOBSTER SEASON. Seems the dive people out there had it sold out almost immediately so get yours while the shelves have them.

We print only once a season for lobster tees as the season runs from August until March but the waters cool to uncomfortable levels after December starts blowing in cold fronts and the lobsters go deeper to more stable temps which makes it harder for snorkel people but easier for divers wearing wet suits.

IT"S ALL ABOUT THE TAIL in pale yellow will be a hit as well as the tech savvy LOL shirt called LOBSTER OUT LOUD!

Hog Fish Florida Keys

Remember no lobstering while driving now!  Please try and get a few of my 2014 designs to remember your mini season exploits as well as the regular season for 2014.Remember to wear it proudly in and out of the water as it is the OFFICIAL LOBSTER T SHIRT OF THE LOBSTER MINI SEASON Since 1994 and my shirts are still being worn from that era and look as good as the day they were printed.

Florida Keys

No Chinese stuff for Captain Joe.......Enjoy the water and be safe this season and always look out for the other guy and share your lobsters with those who are not so fortunate or as skilled as you are.I do!



Below 2014 T Shirt Series

Mini Lobster Season





LOBSTERING FOR 2013

After sitting behind the Hemmingway replica sport fishing boat in Bass Pro shops World Wide Sportsman for the past 7 years and signing over 8000 lobster tees I have heard it all when it comes to excuses as to why people end up not getting any lobsters or catch only a few during the famed Lobster Mini Season in the Keys. The list ranged from legitimate excuses to “our boat was broken” to the bizarre such as, “we did not find any mangrove roots shallow enough”. To this day that excuse still stumps me and would certainly not make the list of the top 100 excuses for not getting any or just a few lobsters during the time of plenty in the land of plenty. I am no longer signing at Bass Pro shops and instead will be signing lobster and game fish tees at the SANDAL FACTORY OUTLET and T Shirt CITY in Marathon on July 27th all day and in Islamorada at the Sandal Factory Outlet and T Shirt City all day on Sunday July 28th. So all you faithful lobster t-shirt getters please come find me at these locations to get a great lobster tee and have me draw anything on the sleeves for you as I have for years in Bass Pro shops Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada. The weekend after mini season Wednesday and Thursday is the traditional days when lobster lovers do their last minute shopping and head back to their respective homes with coolers full of the delicious crustaceans, either still fresh or frozen solid. And either wearing one of my lobster designs or game fish designs or having a few stuffed in their bags to wear once they get back home.


The Florida Keys is a paradise when it comes to the Spiny Lobster. Both the Gulf side and the ocean side hold numerous haunts of lobster filled areas that are easily accessible to both snorkeler and diver alike. In the gulf one needs to simply look for the bare spots formed by limestone “holes” and drop someone in to have a look see for the tell tale antennae tips or actually see the lobsters hiding under a ledge or stuffed in a hole or a piece of debris deposited by storms or old wrecks. These places are all great areas to look for lobster and their locations are not a secret when you have a GPS device onboard. These locations have GPS numbers attached to them and these numbers are the key to those who have and those who have not. Even having great numbers does not guarantee the spot will not have been plundered as many spots are shared and numbers get traded, transferred, and yes even stolen. These places are found by accident or are simply passed down year after year by the ones who limit out every year. They are a select group who literally yawn there way their Mini Season with overloaded coolers and limits by noon. We all know groups like this. This does not come accidentally and is rather a direct result of hard work, pre-season or by having a series of numbers that consistently hold large numbers of lobsters.

There are three kinds of lobster seekers I have noticed. Those who get a few, those who catch “some” and those who “slammed em”. If you are in the last group then you obviously do not need to read anything more from here. But if you are in the first two groups (and you knew where you fall into here) then please read on.

 

I have been in the Keys for over 25 years and have dove and snorkeled for lobster every year with awesome results. As a fisherman and hunter it came easy as in lobstering there is equal amounts of both here. First you have to hunt the spots that hold lobster then once you find them they have to be taken (fished out of their hiding spots). This involves being able to hold your breath and perform a host of tasks that result in legal lobster being taken topside to a waiting cooler. It is a practiced art and saying this means very few people can go to the Keys and rent a set of fins and a mask and go blindly into the Ocean or the Bay and get a limit of lobsters. It has happened but do not bet your gas money on it happening often.

Look for lighter lime greenish areas that stand out of the normal grass colored darker bottoms. These lime colored areas are usually sand circled lobster hide out of limestone or coral formations that attract and hold lobsters. Also, get a few beers in some local people and ask for only one number. Most locals want you to succeed but will not give away the farm so does not even ask. Be honest and tell them you usually do not do very well but you love it and if they had a spot to give you it would be held confidentially. Most locals have HUNDREDS of spots they can go. It is about how you ask more than whom you ask.


Instead here are some proven tips for those of you who want and in some cases, need to do better.Be sure you have a marker jug with at least 12 feet of twine and a heavy weight attached to it. When looking for lobster holes throw it at anything that look suspicious to mark the spot. In the Bay the water is rarely over 12 feet deep in good lobster habitat and if you are snorkeling it is where you can operate best. Any deeper and you should consider a hookah rig or a tank of air. Many times the spots are small and with tides running in the Bay the boat can drift off a spot in no time at all and then all of a sudden that lobster looking spot is simply “gone”. It even happened to me until I learned it pays to have a marker jug person on the boat that has the job of throwing the jug in the area where someone sees a likely looking spot.

Secondly, when looking for lobsters in the area of your marker drop in away from the area and approach slowly without a cannon ball off the bow. Too many times the spot gets silted up and then it reduces the visibility and the lobsters there sense a threat and back into he farthest reaches of their hideouts making it far more difficult. Also, drop in with a spear gun and most lobster hideouts have a resident grouper who hovers nearby and over the hole. A soft entry insures filets with your tails at days end. Splash down like a space capsule and you will never see that grouper. If lobster are present SLOWLY start taking them one by one and do it in an unhurried pace. Thrashing around with a stick in the hole will spook the lobsters into leaving where they disappear easily into the deep grasses that surround the holes. Tickle sticks are meant to tickle them out of the holes not thrash them to within an inch of their lives. You should softly touch the undersides of the lobster to get him out into the open where you can put your net behind him and then tap the front area of the lobster so he shoots in the net waiting behind him. They swim in reverse you know.


ONCE IN THE NET TWIST IT SO IT SEALS ITSELF SHUT THEN SLOWLY SWING IT TO THE BOAST WHERE THE BOAT HELPER TAKES THE NET AND ALL THEN TAKES THE LOBSTER OUT OF THE NET.I CAPITALIZED THIS BECAUSE IT IS THE NUMBER ONE REASON LOBSTERS GET AWAY. The transfer from the net to the boat person is not needed. Simply hand the lobster getter a new net and take the one he has the lobster inside. Measure it to be sure it is legal and if it is them stash it and if it is not return it to the water immediately. Game enforcement does not mess around with short lobster takers and fines are awful ways to ruin a mini season. D o not do anything illegal, as the fines do not even come close to the risk.


Florida Keys Mini Lobster Season
Spiny Lobster - Panulirus argus




2014 Lobster Season and Mini Season Dates
 
The 2014 mini lobster season like all lobster mini seasons is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. Next year the mini season falls on July 30th and 31st. Make sure to always verify dates and regulations with Florida Fish and Wildlife It begins at 12:01 am on Wednesday and ends at 12:00 midnight on Thursday.

The regular 8 month lobster season is always August 6 through March 31
.


  Florida Keys Lobster T Shirts

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BELOW - 2012  Artist Joe Suroviec with loyal fans at the Bass Pro Shop Islamorada, Florida.  Joe personally remarques all requests for his loyal customers. 

2013 Meet Joe and have him personally sign your 2013 Lobster Mini Season t shirt.  Joe will be at The "Sandal Factory" All day Saturday and Sunday in Islamorada July 28th  and Marathon July 27th and 28th.  Stay tuned for details.      

 


Joe Suroviec at Bass Pro Shop Islamorada with his 2012 Lobster Season T Shirts. 
Joe signs over 1,000 shirts every year for his loyal lobster divers.


 
Bass Pro Shop Islamorada, Joe Suroviec's Lobster Season T Shirt floor display.  




 
  "Got Butter" - Back by popular demand for the 2013 season


 Florida Lobstering


 Mini Lobster Season in Florida


 
Florida Mini Lobster Season


"Click" - Go to Spiny Lobster Season Florida Regulations

"Click" READ
Lobster mini-season is a special time in the Keys
BY CAPT. PETE PETERSON Citizen Fishing Columnist

Spiny Lobster Madness in Florida 

 

By J. Suroviec (Florida Spiny Lobster)

What makes grown men cry and scream? What makes people go crazy each year and swear they will never do it again and yet every year as I sit at Bass Pro shops in Islamorada, I see them stop by the back of the re-created fishing boat the PILAR there and get a few tee shirts that have my lobster designs on them. Off they go and I do not see them until the Saturday or Sunday after mini season is over. That weekend is when the throngs that invade Keys waters each year drive back and it is a tradition to stop by Bass Pro shops and get a lobster tee for the road and have the artist sign them or draw a small sketch on the sleeve. Coolers laden with fresh Spiny Lobster tails and maybe some hogfish filets or mangrove snapper filets are out in the cars guarded by the one who hates shopping the most.

 

I see them every year. Flour white skinned non- Florida Keys natives who turn red like a fire engine from two days of snorkeling or diving for the tasty treasures that have an uncanny knack for eluding even the most seasoned veterans. However you can bet the veterans are the ones that bring their own butter. Most stores are sold out so it is wise to bring extra butter with you. As good a job as Publix does, and even they sell out. So be sure to make a note of that. I CAN”T BELIEVE ITS NOT BUTTER” turns into I cant believe I’m without butter instead.

 

I have been designing and selling lobster t shirts since 1990 and I believe I have the best ones going and every year I have a few favorites and a few new ones I hope to pass up the favorites with. GOT BUTTER and LOBSTER PIRATE are synonymous with Florida Keys Lobster season and you can get these designs at most good places in the Keys. Even stop by Bass Pro shops the week of mini lobster season and I would be happy to sign them for you and chat about fishing or lobstering or sinkers for that matter.

I think that TAIL GUNNER is going to be a hit this year and may replace one of the favorites but that remains to be seen. I want everyone to remember to be respectful on the water and be sure you stay within the framework of the law as out FDNR officers are very resourceful in their pursuit of the people who think shoes and shorts are acceptable. NO SHOES, NO SHORTS, NO JAIL OR FINES

Try and find a native or a charter guide to take the group out for a sure fire way to use that extra butter you have stashed and be sure to thank him with a few extra tails for his or her hard work. Most captains are very grateful for some spiny lobster tails as a tip builder. Also, you can learn quite a bit the first day then tackle the lobster scene yourself the second day once the freezer has some tails put away.

Be sure to say hello as I will be the one without any lobster tails and will have a left handed that is marked up with the color of the rainbow from the markers I use to sign tees and sketch scenes for people on request each year at the Bass Pro shops WORLD WIDE SPORTSMAN STORE in Islamorada. Stop in and see the exhausted but entertaining man behind the boat whose hand is a blur as people stand three deep in the turn to get their lobster t shirts signed each year. I hope to see you all there and if you get too many tails I know of one artist that would LOVE to help you get rid of a few.

 Enjoy your Florida Spiny Lobster Season


Florida Regulations:      Spiny Lobster Sport Season

Season dates Bag limit Possession limit - on the water Possession limit - off the water Minimum size limit 
 

July 24-25, 2013 (Last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year)

6 per person per day for Monroe County and Biscayne National Park

12 per person per day for the rest of Florida

Equal to the daily bag limit Equal to the daily bag limit on the first day, and double the daily bag limit on the second day

Carapace larger than 3", measured in the water

Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times

Find out how to measure spiny lobster

*Possession limits are enforced on and off the water

**Night diving is prohibited in Monroe County (only during the sport season)

***Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season and in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.

 

Regular Spiny Lobster Season

Season dates Bag limit  Possession limit - on the water Minimum size limit
Aug. 6 - March 31 6 per person per day Equal to the daily bag limit  

Carapace larger than 3", measured in the water

Possession and use of a measuring device is required at all times

Find out how to measure spiny lobster

***Harvest of lobster is prohibited in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park during the sport season and in Everglades National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and no-take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary during both the 2-day sport season and regular season.

Florida Keys/Monroe County Information

Call 305-852-7717 or visit http://floridakeys.noaa.gov icon_external.png for information about no take areas in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Please call the FWC Marathon office at 305-289-2320, or check online for lobster harvesting regulations icon_pdf.gif for Monroe County. 

Other Prohibitions

  • Unless exempt, a recreational saltwater fishing license and a lobster permit are required to harvest spiny lobster
  • Lobster must be landed in whole condition. Separating the tail from the body is prohibited in state waters.
  • The harvest or possession of eggbearing spiny lobster, or any other eggbearing species of lobster belonging to the families Palinuridae (spiny lobsters), Scyllaridae (slipper lobsters) or Synaxidae (furry lobsters) is prohibited
  • No person shall harvest or attempt to harvest spiny lobster using any device which will or could puncture, penetrate or crush the exoskeleton (shell) or the flesh of the lobster
  • Recreational trapping prohibited
  • Regardless of what species you are fishing for, bag limits are only for properly licensed individuals and those people exempt from license requirements who are actively harvesting. People harvesting may not exceed their individual bag limit and take someone else's bag limit. That is, people (including children) who are not actively harvesting or are not properly licensed (if a license is required) may NOT be counted for purposes of bag limits.
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