California Spiny Lobster Season runs until March of 2023. With over 54,000 lobster caught last year at an average of 2 per trip, it is both highly rewarding and delicious! It’s an exciting process, no matter how you go about it, and never gets old having lobster in the fridge or freezer! Here are some tips to get the most of this season.
Capturing a Lobster
California Spiny Lobsters are typically caught by hand or hoop net. If you have some diving experience and are up for the task, taking a dip in our inland bays at night is always an exhilarating experience. The species loves to hang around rocky flats, jetties, and breakwalls. They will sneak into any gap they can find, so move quickly! They will always avoid being in view of a flashlight by crawling or swimming backwards/tail first. When spotted, use the beam to steer the lobster away from cover and sneak your hand up from behind it.
If you plan on going the more traditional route, make sure to tag your marker buoy with the appropriate information and reflective material. The targeted depth will always change with water conditions and temperature. As it gets colder, lobsters typically move deeper. Speaking with some local anglers is the best way to get an idea of where to drop.
Bait choice is always going to differ from one fisherman to the next. Your grandfather might swear by mackerel. Your neighbor’s cousin only uses chunked sardines. Personal preference is a huge part in lobster fishing and finding your favorite is just part of the fun. If you don’t know which to try first, you will want something as fresh and oily as possible.
Depending on your location, there may be differing restrictions on fishing zones, so make sure you reach out to your local shop or visit wildlife.ca.gov for the updated rules and regulations.
What to do when you get a lobster on deck?
Properly caring for your catch from boat to table is the best way to get the most out of your lobster. Here are a few tips to keep your lobster fresh the entire ride home.
- Wear gloves when handling/sizing. They are called Spiny Lobsters for a reason! You do not want to get poked and drop your catch overboard or onto the rough deck.
- Store them in a cool location on your boat or on shore. Keeping them cool and out of the elements is important for keeping them alive as long as possible. Cooler bags such as the Opah Fathom 3 are great at holding and transporting your catch.
- Keep as cool as possible until you are ready to process. Wet newspaper or paper towels can be used as well to provide them with moisture over longer periods of time. If you are planning on a long trip home, a cooler bag with a frozen water bottle or two is perfect for the job.