Lobster mini season, also known as sportsman season is always the last Wednesday and Thursday in July, and this year it falls on July 29th and 30th. This annual event typically brings around 25,000 visitors to the Florida Keys and Key West.
During this two day lobster bonanza, each properly licensed snorkeler and/or diver is allowed to take up to six legal sized lobsters per day in Monroe County waters.
Mini-season allows for lobster lovers to enjoy being on the water while catching a few of these critters before the opening of the regular lobster season which starts on August 6th. This can be a really fun time on the water, but that fun can quickly go south if you are not careful or if you do not follow the regulations.
The number of FWC officers patrolling on and off the water during mini season will be about twice as many as usual and will include undercover agents as well as police dogs trained to sniff out lobsters. If you get caught breaking the law in regards to catching lobsters illegally, taking more than your limit, or taking undersized lobsters, you will not pass go, you will not collect $200. You will go directly to jail! Seriously! Ignorance of the rules will not get you off the hook, so if you have questions about regulations in regards to mini season, contact the FWC.
To get you started, check out the FWC brochure on Lobster regulations: FWC_spinylobster_brochure.
So, follow the rules and be safe on the water. Use a dive flag and dive with a buddy. Personally, I stay off of the water these two days and get my lobster at Publix to avoid the boating chaos.
Oh, and if I find any of you diving in the canal in front of my house for lobsters (which is not only rude but illegal by the way) you will be getting the stink eye from me as I put in a call to the local law enforcement agencies to have you arrested.