The Florida Spiny Lobster
The Florida Spiny Lobster lacks the distinctive large front claws of its northern cousin, the American or Maine lobster. Instead, it has feelers, or whips, protruding from its head. A warm-water crustacean, the Florida lobster is harvested for its tail meat.
Florida Lobster Season
A two-day lobster mini season takes place the last Wednesday and Thursday of July each year. This is a time when lobstering is open to recreational harvesters only. On August 1, the commercial lobstermen are permitted to set their gear and allow it to soak until the opening of regular lobster season, which is August 6. At this time lobstering is open to both recreational and commercial harvesters. This season runs through March 31.
Spiny Lobster Measurement
Spiny Lobster must have a minimum carapace length of greater than 3-inches, and the measurement must take place in the water. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding any soft tissue, and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace.
Florida Lobster Regulations
Monroe County (the Florida Keys) has its own unique set of lobster regulations, and they are strictly enforced. The bag limit is six lobsters per person per day. This applies to both the mini season and the regular season. A valid Florida saltwater fishing license and crawfish (lobster) permit are required when you go lobstering, UNLESS you are lobstering on a professional charter boat that carries the required license to cover all paying passengers.
If you are lobstering on your own, rather than with a licensed charter company, you may want to print the regulations for Monroe County.
Lobster Snorkel Charters
SeaSquared is pleased to offer Lobster Snorkel Charters for both mini season and regular season!
We offer a 4-hour trip for up to 6 people, and provide all the nets, tickle sticks, measuring devices and gloves.
You provide your own snorkel gear, including mask, snorkel and fins. If you don't have your own, you can rent snorkel gear at local dive shops in Marathon. We recommend Captain Hook's (305-743-2444), Hall's (305-743-5929) and Tilden's (305-743-7255). The cost is in the $12-$15 range. We suggest you acquire your snorkel gear prior to your trip with us so you can become accustomed to it. We DO NOT have spare snorkel gear on the boats for you to use.
One of our Crew members gets in the water with you and teaches you how to locate the lobsters and tickle them out of their hiding holes. They know the ropes and will insure you have success.
Lobster Snorkel Charters are available during the two-day mini season in July as well as when the regular season opens on August 6 through about mid-October. By that time, the lobsters are on the move to areas too deep to snorkel for them.
Scales and Tails Charters
If you’d like to add some fishing to your lobstering, our Scales and Tails Charter is just for you!
A morning 4-hour trip to the reef for some fishing for snapper and whatever else is biting, an hour long lunch break and an afternoon 4-hour trip to the bay for lobster snorkeling. Again, we provide everything you need for fishing and lobstering (other than your snorkel gear), and we will clean your fish and lobsters for you.
Now, that’s a day on the water!
Is lobstering for you?
You will be snorkeling in spots 8 to 10 feet deep in Florida Bay, and there will be some current. You need to be able to hold your breath for as long as it takes to get your body to the bottom, tickle the lobster out of its hiding spot and get it into your net, probably at least a minute. If you have some snorkeling experience, we suggest you practice in a pool or other water of similar depth prior to your trip with us. If you have never snorkeled before, this is probably not how you want to start. And, if you have any health issues at all, this is not the activity for you.
This is snorkeling, not diving.
On SeaSquared's lobster charters, you are snorkeling, not diving. You need to provide your own snorkel gear, which you can purchase or rent locally in Marathon if you do not own it. We do not allow dive gear on our boats, and do not provide dive charters of any kind.
No spearfishing allowed.
The state of Florida prohibits the harvest of lobster by spearing. For the safety of our guests and crew, SeaSquared Charters does not allow spearfishing at any time.
Will you catch your limit?
That is impossible to predict. We've experienced banner lobster seasons and dismal lobster seasons. How many keeper-size lobster you catch depends on the perfect combination of lobster population, weather and water conditions and your own ability. We will put you on the spots and get in the water to coach you. The rest is up to you and Mother Nature. WE DO NOT GUARANTEE YOU WILL CATCH YOUR LIMIT OF LOBSTER!
Lobster snorkeling is nothing like scalloping.
Many of our guests tell us they've been scalloping on the west coast of Florida. Lobster snorkeling in the Keys is NOTHING like scalloping, which we compare to an Easter egg hunt where the scallops sit in grassy areas in very shallow water and you merely reach down and pick them up. The lobsters are on the move all the time and will quickly dart away from you as you try to tickle them into your net.