Where to go to catch lobster in the Keys?

Discussion in 'Sea Ray Lifestyle & Cruising' started by joenofish, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. joenofish

    joenofish New Member

    Dec 14, 2010
    St. Petersburg, FL
    300 Weekender
    Twin 260 Mercruisers
    I posted a question a while ago regarding trip planning for a trip to the Keys. I did get some good advice, we are getting everything together for the trip, can't wait to get underway, will post pics when we return.
    We want to attempt to catch a few lobster and actually planned this trip on the dates that we can keep them. We also want to fish for Tuna and Mahi if we learn where to look for them.
    Does anyone have any advice regarding a marina and locations to search for the lobster? We don't know our way around the keys, we know the water gets shallow! Our current plan is to find a marina on Marathon. We hope to run to Key West that week if conditions are favorable.


    Joe and Donna in St. Pete
  2. dicor

    dicor New Member

    Feb 19, 2011
    boat Barnegat Bay, NJ (hopefully) - live Bucks Cty
    270 DA 1998
    7.4 Merc w/Bravo III Drive
    Sounds like a great trip. Never been lobster trapping/spearing but I understand there's a lot to learn about it, permits, limits other peoples traps hitting a reef and sinking your boat etc... Evidently down there if you mess with someone else trap and get caught the local police will lock you up in a heartbeat, it's big thing there. I did a Google search on hiring a guide and came up with this. I do not have first hand knowledge about iOutdoor but figure maybe it's a place to start. With all the shallows and nuances involved an experienced guide may be just the ticket. my $0.02

    Lobstering in Florida:

    LOBSTER-mmm delicious! Florida’s waters are teaming with them! If you can snorkel or dive, then you can catch lobster! Lobsters are found in all depths of water around Florida- shallow and deep! The most popular place to catch lobster in Florida is the Florida Keys, but that doesn’t mean you can’t in other places! Lobster like to hide out in rock piles, under reef ledges and in pot holes- anywhere they can find a safe shelter. And that’s where we will be, ready to pluck them out!
    It is imperative to made advance arrangements with iOutdoor! Lobster fishing permits are required (which we will obtain for you), and we need to apply for them in advance! There are many rules and regulations around Lobster hunting; our Lobster Captains always abide to the local lobster harvesting laws!
    We don’t want you to miss out! Secure your spot on a once in a lifetime lobster hunt! Most local restaurants will cook your lobster for you- now that’s fresh! Call us now to secure your lobster hunt today!
    Call iOutdoor at 1-888-412-1117 to start executing your Lobster Catching adventure now
  3. JerryS

    JerryS Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    May 17, 2010
    '90 270
    454 Bravo1 4KW Kohler, AC
    The last time that we went to Marathon, we rented a house on a canal. Are you not considering doing that?
    For Mahi, we ran out to the Marathon Humps. It is about a 25 mile run out there, just short of the Gulf Stream. The Humps are basically two mountains under the water. Great fishing!
    My son and I pulled in this 42# Mahi. We pulled in a lot of Mahi and ran into several packs of schoolies - phew! wore me out! :smt001
  4. Strake

    Strake New Member

    Oct 11, 2010
    Smith Mountain Lake, VA
    250 SLX. 2007 (sold )
    496 Mercruiser 375 HP with Bravo III Drive
    Corsa exhaust
    As one who dove for lobster many times in the Keys.... when blown out for diving on the outside...... we dove under every bridge and did very well for lobster.
    To digress..... I went every Thanksgiving and several other times each year to Islamorada in the Keys to dive. We towed our boat there and more often than not, got blown out with high winds / seas for diving on the reefs and ledges on out November trips. The lobster diving was always there under the bridges any other time. We never left empty handed. The toughest battle was hitting the tides so they weren't dragging you out to sea. Visablility was ususally less than 5 feet, but that's OK for lobster diving. We also did well in the canals behind the Coast Guard station at Islamorada. We would get a get a bag FULL ...... then take them back to the motel and steam them up. Great memories....
  5. joenofish

    joenofish New Member

    Dec 14, 2010
    St. Petersburg, FL
    300 Weekender
    Twin 260 Mercruisers
    Great fish Jerry!

    My wife and I live in St. Pete. I'm told it's about a 12 hour run on our Sea Ray 300 (cruise around 24-25 knots), we want to stay on board for most of the ten days we have to play in the Keys. We are going to leave at noon the day before our Vacay starts and get as many miles in as we can that first day, then hope to arrive on Marathon Key the next day, if the weather is poor we will alter our plans.
    Am I correct to think the humps are in the Atlantic? The other issue I need to think about is keeping fish and Lobster fresh while we're there, our freezer is tiny and so is the space we have to add a freezer.
    We did trailer our 23' center console down last summer, Donna broke her ankle while we were unloading the boat (twisted it on a uneven walk), that ended our trip and Donna suffered all the way home and for weeks after. We were staying @ Bud-N-Mary's on Islamorada on that trip.


    Joe and Donna in St. Pete
  6. JerryS

    JerryS Active Member TECHNICAL Contributor

    May 17, 2010
    '90 270
    454 Bravo1 4KW Kohler, AC
    You are correct, the Humps are on the Atlantic side. I have never fished the Gulf side. And, yeah, if you go to the Humps, you need some serious coolers.
    We used to go to Cudjoe Key quit often during the Christmas/New Years holidays. Down there we fished in rather close, running from American Shoals to ?, can't recall the name of the other marker off hand. Again, on the Atlantic side. Never fished in close at Marathon.

    We used a 28' Mako, rigged out for fishing, so I guess that I am a pretty lame source! :)

    Sorry, can't be of any more help.
  7. Asureyez

    Asureyez New Member

    Apr 22, 2007
    Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.
    Sea Ray 460 Sundancer Hardtop 2001 - SOLD
    Cummins 450 Diesels
    Okay, Here is a great spot to get it done.

    Bahia Honda State Park: There used to be camp ground son the Key at the south west tip just by the Old Bridge. And a very nice beach;

    If you were to dive on the old bridge caissons during slack tide on the low end you would probably find all the keepers you wanted in the crevices between the sand and the concrete in 12-16 feet. Bring a sack, gloves and a tickle stick. The concrete is rough so a a sleeved shirt or dive suit is going to be welcome as you have to reach back under the pilings to grab your share. Get your lobsters during the day when visibility is best. THEN, bring a couple of dip nets and a lantern to hang over the side. At full dark, anchor on the Atlantic side of the old bridge as close as you can get holding for the hook. Swing that lantern over the side about twenty four to 30 inches above the surface ... gulf shrimp will rise to the light , dip your net under them and bring them in. Keep the bigg'ns and toss back the shrimps. Have the cook get a pot on the boil and cook up about a 1/2 pound Person. Chill, eat some now and then some for lunch. Tomorrow do it all over again.

    FAIR warning, do not overstay your welcome diving around those caissons. When the tide begins to run the current becomes impossible and you can be swept away very quickly.

    As for Fishing. You will catch nice Hog Snapper in the very same place, they love shrimp.

    Tuna ... Tuna are a deep water fish. I've never fished the humps but the charts tell me its a grocery store out there.

    Atlantic Dolphin, Dorado or Mahi Mahi (same fish) are best caught on days of driving SSW wind that lines up sea weed in endless lanes sometimes miles long. Troll 15-30 feet off the weed line, you will find what you are hunting. If you hook a small one do not board it, leave it on the hook under the boat 8 or so feet under the boat, the rest of the school will come and join it then its drop the hook over the side and bring in a keeper. The pictures above are of a huge bull. Queenies are still sizable but do not have the huge verticle heads. Note to file: these fish bleed like crazy when you kill them. You will need to get off shore to the east a good bit perhaps 8-12 miles, look for 300 feet or more to find the right conditions.

    That's all I got

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