Lobstering

 

New Rate $850/4ppl.  Nobody is hearing me.  8/6/2022

The Florida Keys is the perfect place to “get your feet wet” on your first experience of

Lobsters

Kevin with Lobsters

catching your own lobster.  Our shallow waters draw hundres of thousands of visitors every year in search of the spiny lobster.   Lobster season opens for “mini season” on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday at the end of July and again the regular season opens August 6th and closes on April 1. I no longer offer Mini Season trips starting 2023.  Lobstering is a CHALLENGING and fun family activity, where all that is required is some snorkel gear, a good breath hold, a stick and net and a lot of energy!  Lobster are found in natural ledges and holes in the Gulf Of Mexico and on hard bottom areas and reefs on the Atlantic side of our islands. Typically you will be freediving bayside in 8-12 feet of water and holding your breath for 20-40 seconds.  DO NOT BOOK THIS EXPERIENCE if you don’t prepare your entire group 100% for this trip!  Fill out mt “Notes” section on my reservations page thoroughly.  There is no way to cheat my minimum requirements for what you need to do.  Cheating reality is not possible.

A very specific technique is involved to “tickle” a lobster from the safety of its home and stealthily maneuvering it into a small net…all while holding your breath!  As difficult as it may sound, this is a great activity for anybody in good shape with moderately solid snorkeling skills.  This is not for you if this is your first, second or third time snorkeling.  It is almost guaranteed you can catch a lobster, but catching a limit of legal sized lobster is not realistic.  The appeal of this activity is discovering the “survivor” instinct in you and capturing an elusive and tasty creature with your own hands and skills!  The best lobstering is in the warmer water months close to the opening and closing of lobster season. The end of October (Halloween-ish) usually is the end of my lobster trips.  Weather, water clarity, current, water temperature, seaweed, cycles and seasonal patterns will have a significant influence on the level of difficulty or ease of activity of lobstering.  Every year there are less legal lobster than the year before.  Every year I see more unrealistic people with less ability to do this.  A 15 second breath hold will get you nothing.

Lobster diving is an earned experience.  The lobster don’t care about your feelings, don’t care that it is your first time, nor swim into your net because you booked a lobster diving trip.  Lobster beat poor technique 99% of the time and beat my technique 1% of catch scenarios.  I can teach most everybody to do it, but it is not at all for everybody.  My customers range from 13 year old girls to men in their mid 70’s. What IS required:  You need a 20-40 second working breath hold and you MUST watch 1 hour of You Tube videos of people catching spiny lobster before your first trip.  The amount of customer preparation is always reflected in the catch ratios during the trip.  I’ll say it again, your preparation equals your success on these trips.  When you do it wrong, you are 100% your worst enemy.  I do not enjoy having a trip where I watch my customers struggle endlessly. This is your experience. Understand what this is, educate yourself, over-prepare and success will come.  My 2021 season, most of my groups tried to cheat my rules.  My rules were “lengthy” and those conversations eluding to my rules came from my guests that found out why my lengthy rules exist.  I have learned to be ok with you learning to snorkel on your lobstering trip.  So feel free to do so.  It is still the same price as a lobster trip.  2022 mini season led to no more future mini season trips.  My customers have failed out of me ever wanting to do that again for all of the reasons mentioned above stuck on repeat for years now.

The cost of a regular season 4 hour lobster trip is $850 for up to 4 people.  Add $50/person 5 and person 6.  Payment is due before we leave the dock.  4 people is ideal, I recommend adding additional time for groups over 4 people.  Typically you will be working in teams of 2 to save your energy and entry/exit time.  Your team strengths will be budgeted for efficiency and effectiveness.  Included is fuel, light drinks, cooler/ice, licenses and all lobstering equipment except snorkel gear and gloves.  I can arrange rental snorkel sets for $10/pp.  Please bring your own properly fitting gloves.

Lobstering can be an entry level activity for an average person that already is a strong snorkeler, has a comfortable nature in/under the water and is not afraid of a challenge.  I deal with tons of people that lie to themselves and try to fool me.  You can fool me all you want.  You can’t fool the water.  You must be able to take direction and understand what is happening in the environment around you.  I take new lobster divers out each week of season and some people find success and some do not.  I understand your position and do my best to guide you along the way gracefully.  It is a learning process that involves plenty of failures.  It comes down to your grasp of your own abilities and the amount of preparation you are willing to invest in your time with me.  Every season I have had customers with zero snorkeling experience in near drowning distress within 10 seconds of being in the water because they do not know how to snorkel.  Please, do not come on my boat.  I have had customers with blown out knees and blown ear drums and every kind of horrible medical condition, please do not come on my boat.  I clearly understand that not all of the typical participants in my typical family lobstering trip can NOT perform the minimal requirements to catch a lobster unassisted.  This is not an issue.  If I have 6 people on board and everybody is expecting 1 person to catch 6 limits of lobster, please do not book this trip.  This is a team effort.  I do NOT sell these trips to you.  This is an elected trip that you have to decide if this is a good fit for the participants in your group.  Too many trips I have run were for groups that were completely unprepared or completely ignored the minimal requirements to catch a lobster (2022 mini season perfect example).  I expect you to be fairly solid on your side.  These are custom trips and I cater to nearly everybody.  If you are going to struggle or you are aware that you are unprepared, just let me know so I can make an appropriate game plan for your trip.  I don’t mind if you are horrible at this.  I just like to plan for it mentally.  This is specifically worded and written for too many reasons I wouldn’t try to explain.  Balance of the cost of your lobster trip is due before we leave the dock.  You can quit anytime you like and I will be ok with that.

Finally, lobstering requires fairly nice conditions for a successful trip.  Not always are those conditions present for every trip.  In these cases, you will be given the option for an alternate activity to allow the trip to operate, such as reef fishing, snorkeling at the reef or visiting a local sandbar.  I am providing a custom experience that I wish for you to enjoy.  I want you to have great results and become a repeat customer.  Experience has taught me that hours of you struggling because you are below what I have extensively described only leads to poor outcomes and eventually the end of me offering this activity permanently.  Don’t put me in that position.

a good lobster catch

Per 2022 Insurance, There is no longer coverage for you to be insured outside of my boat.  By selecting this charter booking, you release Florida Keys Reel Adventures llc. from any legal liability by participating in this activity.  All participants for activities in the water outside of my boat will be required to sign a liability release form.  Since 2008 I have proudly offered full coverage unconditionally at a premium cost to my operation.  For 2022, I can either remove lobstering entirely or offer it on these terms of unprejudiced liability release.  I can no longer compete with the illegal operations, so you can participate by releasing my liability for all participants, including minors.  I am sorry for this reality.  It is the new normal.  To my knowledge, this is standard to ALL CURRENT OPERATORS COMMERCIALLY.   In 13 years of business, I have never had an accident.   You participation is your legal release of my liability.  Do not proceed if you do not fully understand this contract.

When I stop offering this, there will be a few out there that offer lobster charters. They are likely temporary captains working for temporary charter businesses that are taking up the slack because there is demand. I get 200 plus calls a year for lobstering. I’m good at it. I know how to manage these trips. I want this for you. It’s part of a proper keys experience. I’m getting too many people that ignore the 3 miles of the merge signs and bypass all the people following the signs and cut ahead and cram in at the last 100 feet of road and create a traffic jam. That’s what I’m up against. I turn away well over 100 lobster trip inquiries each season. I don’t want the wrong people on my boat!!! Please exclude yourself if you doubt this is right for not just you…..your whole group. I don’t need to offer this to you. This is more break my business than make it. This can go away tomorrow and it would not affect my business negatively. You being awful at this and writing a negative review is the absolute death of me offering this. If you fail miserably…you beat yourself. The ocean beat you. The activity beat you. This isn’t Disney World. Lobstering is closer to a loose casino with a moderate skills test involved. I can easily catch every lobster I see, but personally I would never gamble at a casino. I know better than to go gambling, so if your water skills suck, the ocean wins and you should know better about what I have described for what lobstering is. Please don’t ruin this for those that are easily capable of enjoying this experience.