The long awaited Spiny Lobster Season is upon us. Opening in a little over a week, now is the best time to get your ducks in a row. Here are some fantastic ways to get ready for the season!
What documents do I need for California Spiny Lobster?
Spiny Lobsters are some of the state's most protected species. While hunting and catching these bugs is legal, it is heavily enforced that you follow strict guidelines.
- Obtain a Lobster Report Card from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (here). You can buy online or at most local tackle shops. It is important to note that you will also need a California Sport Fishing License as well as an Ocean Enhancement if fishing south of Santa Barbara County. In total, the license ($54), ocean enhancement ($6.22), and lobster report card ($10.80) will run you $71.02. If you plan on going to a small tackle shop to purchase a license, it is also important to note that most only accept cash for all licenses.
- Make sure to locate your GO ID and have your buoys marked properly if using a hoop net to target lobster. You may have 5 hoops per person on a boat with up to 10 total for a single vessel.
- Remember to mark the date of your trip as well as the amount of lobster taken when you are done. Keep up to date and do not forget to report!
Where should I look for Spiny Lobster?
If this is your first season or if you want to switch it up and change your favorite locations, make sure to do your research ahead of time. The first nights and weeks of season can be very dangerous. Typically, you will be out at night with many other boaters, many obstacles in the water, and even divers under the surface. It is not a great time to cruise around looking for a new spot on your graph. Here are some resources to use!
- Local forums can be the best source of information for your fishery. The presence of Bloodydecks and the countless other online conversation hubs can be the perfect starting point to your lobster experience. Getting exact spots from veteran anglers can be difficult, but there are always people willing to give a helping hand.
- Navionics : This is a major key to success if trying to research unknown waters. It has all the information you need to know about water conditions, topography, and even marked locations from other anglers. This all comes in a convenient app on your phone. Although it is not free ($25/year), it absolutely essential for anyone on the water. Navionics is highly accurate and can be the perfect backup resource should your other electronics fail.
Get your equipment prepared!
If you have been waiting to grab a hoop net, buoys, gloves, lights, dive gear, electronics, or anything else relating to targeting lobster, you might not want to wait any longer. Supply chain issues are still a massive headache. If you've waited until the last minute, we guarantee you are not alone. Supplies will run out, likely when you're headed out to the water. This does not strictly pertain to hardware. Bait is one of the hardest commodities to have on hand consistently this season. If you plan on using a certain type of bait, you may want to call ahead and see what is available.
Have a way to store your lobster!
Heading back to the dock is the worst time to be asking yourself "How am I going to store these lobsters?" Have a plan ready to go. We highly recommend our Fathom 3 for transport from boat to home. And if you do not plan on eating them that day, cleaning and vacuum sealing is the best way to keep them as fresh as possible when frozen for extended periods. There are other methods, such as cooking and canning, plastic wrap, and others, but this is what we have had the best results with!