Mid August Lobster Update

August 15th, 2014

Well, it is H-O-T!!  Great time to jump in the water to beat the heat.  Our water temps have been in the mid to high 80’s and the water has been mostly clear.  This is a great time to snorkel, lobster and spear fish.  All of which have been keeping me really busy the last week or so.

Good news on the lobstering is we are past the strongest full moon of the year.  This moon has created strong current, kept the lobster from migrating and messed up the fishing.  Now we are past this night sun I am already seeing lobster moving back into the usual areas.  Our late July Mini-Season drew huge crowds that literally stripped our grocery stores, jammed the roads, emptied local gas stations and literally wiped out the majority of available lobster.    This crazy moon followed and kept the numbers of replacement lobster low until right about now.  As the kids go back to school, we will see much less recreational pressure out there and lobstering should improve dramatically if we have a good migration this year.  I took a quick check of my ocean side lobster spots and they were full of big lobster.  If I get any guests that can dive 15-20 with 45 second working breath holds, then we can play.  Speaking of breath holds and depths, this is where I have my all too often reality check.  I try to inform and prep all of my lobstering, spearing and snorkeling customers the best I can to ensure you have a good trip.  I can get most anybody to snorkel, but lobstering and spearing have basic requirements.  These requirements are the low side of what I am expecting from you when you show up for your trip.  The last thing I want is for you to struggle or fail at something that is supposed to be fun, enjoyable and productive.  Makes sense, right?  It makes sense to me, but my reality is I am seeing waaaay too many people that can not dive 6-7 feet and have 8 second breath holds.  I’m not tricking anybody and I do NOT sell trips that require you to perform in/underwater.  If it requires work and a serious effort and you want to pay me to subject you to it…..then it is my job to take you to where it is done and show you how it works.  Basic lobstering requires you and your guests to have the ability to dive 6-9ft deep and have a working breath hold of 30 seconds.  This means you will be doing this for 4 hours and making 50-200 of these dives.  Not 5 times for 8 seconds and giving up.  If you don’t snorkel well, your guests don’t snorkel well or you have any issues that you are unwilling to overcome…please, please do not do this.  I like to have fun too, but if I am in constant crisis management mode, then I can’t do what you are paying me to do.  I have a system that is very effective.  It requires customer performance.  When I am off of my system because of time spent resolving issues, then the train comes off the rails and you are running the trip instead of me.  This is fine, but I just need to know what I am working with for each trip.  Your trip is custom and I can work with anybody doing most everything.  I like to be prepared for it.  I want you set up for the right trip.  Not a failure for you and a nightmare for me.  To be ultra clear, lobstering is a lot of physical work.  It requires a lot of physical effort and skill from everybody on board.  If you think you have 1 or 2 people to do all of the work as 4 people watch….no.  Don’t book a trip with me.  Lobstering is a team effort requiring a team effort.

My customer’s snorkel gear has been the second biggest issue.  I am going to repeat myself the same as the last 4 versions of this helpful information, but here is what is happening.  My customers don’t know how to snorkel.  They do not know how to clear a snorkel.  Men don’t shave and their masks leak.  My customers bring equipment they have not tested.  Customers bring masks and mostly snorkels that are mechanical with moving parts and valves.  Snorkels with valves fail on every one of my trips because something gets caught in the valve and it leaks profusely.  I’m even having customers reacting with salt water like it is poison.  If you don’t like saltwater on your face, please do not go into the water..  Back to equipment, scuba fins are too heavy for lobstering.  Your equipment is designed to work for you.  It you are fighting with your equipment, nothing else matters.

My last point on lobstering is this IS fun and easy.  I understand your position as a new person to this and I will work with you tirelessly to bring you up to speed.  Just let me know that you are starting from scratch and I will work with that.  If you represent yourself as experienced and you are swimming head first into my boat as another is drowning and another can’t make it to the bottom in 6ft of water within the first 5 minutes of your trip, I may need a little adjustment period to figure out what to do save your trip.  I am turning away 5 lobster trips a day and your trip is rock solid whether you can do it or not.  I have lost thousands of dollars this season by being nice because my customers were not able to meet the basic requirements of a lobstering trip.  This is no longer a mistake I will repeat because I have to run a business.  You have to meet the requirements I have set in order to perform on the day of your trip.  Excuses of any sort do not work because this is reality.  2 days ago I had a 10 year old girl catching lobster on her first trip.  A few shorts, but she also caught 2 legals by herself.  Today, I took my boat to get serviced and checked 2 of my ocean spots that have been untouched by customers because it is 15′ deep.  I limited out in about 10 minutes.  I have to match you to the activity and all of the elements you will likely encounter.  My 10 year old customer would not have caught a single lobster if I took her to 15′ deep.  Understand?  If you can’t lobster, I offer tons of other options for you to choose.  Lobstering looks cool, but it is not for everybody.

Spearfishing has been a little tough lately too.  Not sure why, but likely due to the same reasons lobstering has been tough.  Our reef water is 85 degrees plus, so many fish are deep and scattered.  Typically hogfish and mangrove snapper keep my spearos busy, but everything shallow has been small as a rule lately.  It is taking covering more water and drift dives to keep my customers on fish.  Just the past few days it looks like the moon jellies have arrived in limited numbers, which adds another element to look out for.

Rod and reel fishing has been ok to good.  Offshore the dolphin have thinned out to a trickle for a few lucky boats, but the tuna at the humps have filled in.  The challenge is to beat the crowds on weekdays to the humps 30 miles out and get your fish in quickly before the sharks get them.  According to the reports, the sharks are winning this week.  Action on the reef is good when the conditions are right.  I struggled  a but with the full moon, but the fishing should be improving for mangrove and yellowtail snapper.  The yellowtail have been picky and a little on the small side of what I expect for this time of year, but that can change ant any time.

I want to thank all of my customers the past 2 weeks.  Not every trip has been easy, but there have been so many individuals that have set records for my boat, personal records or have done something so out of the ordinary that they have surprised themselves.  I love seeing that.   Not everybody succeeds in what they are after.  Not at all a bad thing if the effort is there.  I offer challenging activities.  I challenge my customers.  The greatest rewards and memories come from this kind of scenario.  If it were easy, everybody would do it and it would mean nothing.  I don’t want the lobstering thing to  seem like I’m being bitchy, but it has to be taken seriously.  I put so much time and energy and preparation into each trip and when I have the issues that come from unprepared and unrealistic customers, it becomes a bad situation that I want nothing to do with.  I am one of the very few people that offer this for a reason.  I don’t need to go into all of the reasons because there are too many.  I have options to weed out the people that shouldn’t be doing this, but for now I keep this affordable and is open to anybody because I have faith this will work better.  Please, just be smart about this folks!!  Be safe on the water and remember what some people forget each year…..lobster are not worth your life.


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