The first day of Spiny Lobster Season was August 6, 2023. I was prepared for a glorious lobster hunt that day with my FWC saltwater fishing and lobster permit in-hand but instead found invasive lionfish. Luck was not going my way as I either found lobsters that were too small or females with eggs. Basically, I came back empty-handed. It was still a beautiful dive on the Hammerhead reef off Palm Beach. No disappointments.
But still I had dreams of making delicious Florida lobster dishes with my bountiful catch on the first day of regular Lobster Season. I was going to make homemade fettuccini Alfredo topped with lobster from the barbeque. I was even going to blog about it. Unfortunately, these dreams were quickly replaced with the reality that I need to come up with recipes for invasive lionfish instead.
Another thing I quickly realized was how much lobster hunting “stuff” I had attached to my bc. It was too much. I had a scoop net, lobster bag, probe, lobster gauge calipers (required of all Florida permitted lobster divers) – all intermingling with my bc inflator and dive computer. I gave up on carrying the scoop net and probe on my second dive and it was much better. Simpler is better. Next time I go out, I am going to bring gear to hunt invasive lionfish. Nitrox is a definite must-have on my dives.
I talked my buddy Richard Shelton into joining the dive. While he was not going to lobster hunt, he was going to take photos and videos of the dives. The raw video above was one he took while I was hunting. We came across a few invasive lionfish which are edible but have no bag limit unlike lobsters.
McGuire, M., and Hill, J. Invasive species of Florida’s coastal waters: the red lionfish. https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/SG132