Welcome to my backyard--the Florida Keys! I'm a travel writer, blogger and photographer with a passion for all things Florida, especially the Florida Keys. These islands are so much more than Duval Street and Jimmy Buffet. They are rich in history, culture, cuisine, nature and events--all surrounded by pristine waters teeming with wildlife. Whether you're a local or a visitor, the Conch Republic has many surprises in store. Let me be your guide.
Mini Lobster Season kicks off in the Florida Keys on July 29th and 30th. The Florida spiny lobster, known for its sweet and tender meat is smaller than its cousin in Maine. Before you go out hunting for “bugs,” as the locals call them, make sure you're prepared. Here are some tips:
1) Know the local rules and regulations. They were designed to protect lobster populations and the coral reef, as well as ensure the safety of boaters and divers. Plus, they keep you from racking up unwelcome fines. Most of the Monroe County regulations for recreational harvest and lobster information can be found in this brochure. It includes bag and size limits, proper measuring techniques, approved gear and no-take areas, such as national and state parks.
2) Get a license. You’ll need a valid Florida Saltwater Fishing License with a current crawfish endorsement. Licenses are available at most fish & tackle or K-mart stores. You can also call 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA or go online to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s site.
3) Know the waters. The Keys are famous for shallow patches, sandbars and coral reefs. All of which could add up to damage to the environmentally sensitive sea grass and corals -- not to mention a costly tow and repairs. Free nautical charts can be found online through NOAA. 4) No boat? No problem. Check out lobster dive excursions with a local company.