Lobster season kicks off on August 1st, which means it’s time to pack up the gear and head to the Abacos with your fishing buddies. Since you’ll be on a boat from dawn till dusk loading up on the legal limit, we suggest taking Air Unlimited’s private jet to the islands to get you on the water as soon as possible. The Citation Mustang seats five, with more than enough room for all of your baggage and gear. If you’re traveling with more than four people, the King Air 200 is a better option. This aircraft seats nine comfortably with more head and shoulder space than most small aircrafts.
Unless you have your own boat in the Abacos, you will need to find a charter service to take you lobstering and typically, the charter boat captains will know all the best spots for taking full advantage of lobster season. If you are fishing off of a noncommercial boat, you will need to get a fishing permit from the Bahamian Customs Office. All Bahamian owned charter boats will already have fishing licenses but it’s always best to ask and make sure that everyone is covered.
Since it is illegal to dive for lobsters wearing scuba gear or any kind of air regulator, you will need to find shallow water to free dive in. The suggested depth is a spot where it only takes 30 seconds to get from the ocean floor to the surface. Spear guns are also illegal to use in the Bahamas, so keep your gear simple. All you will need is a mask or goggles, snorkel if desired, fins, a net and a tickle stick.
The last thing you want to do is get yourself and the entire boat in legal trouble from violating the Bahamian fishing guides, so be aware of the lobster regulations ahead of time. You are allowed six lobsters per person who is fishing (the captain doesn’t count). And you will need to make sure the lobster you are catching is not a female carrying eggs or a lobster too small for catching. This can be a bit tricky when you’re underwater and trying to gauge the size of the lobster or look under its tail for eggs while chasing it into your net. A lobster gauge is very useful in this situation. It is basically a small ruler made of aluminum, with indentations where you will need to place the gauge in between the lobster’s eyeballs and extend it to the end of its carapace. The measurement from the eyeballs to the carapace should be no smaller than 3 3/8 inches in length, or its tail should be at least six inches long. If your lobster reaches either of those measurements, it’s a keeper! If you catch a lobster that is under size or carrying eggs, just release it and move on.
To catch a lobster, you will need to find an area suitable for lobsters to live. This includes caves or artificial reefs where lobsters can hide. You will coax the lobster out of its cave by moving your tickle stick to the back of the cave and pulling it towards the front while hopefully running into a lobster. Once the lobster feels the tickle stick, it will shoot out of the cave so keep your net ready! After you catch one, make sure to measure it and twist your net to not let your catch free.
If you’re catching lobsters, hopefully you have a place to cook them. But if not, ask your charter captain for the best local restaurants that will cook your catch for you, and enjoy!
The Air Unlimited team is always ready to offer advice or recommendations for your lobster season adventure. Conveniently book your flight by giving us a call at 407-585-4300.