Lobster, langastino, langoustine, bugs, crustacean, coquillage, limpet, grasshopper, spiny; whichever moniker you use for it, tis the season for lobster in the fabulous Florida Keys. Yes, it is indeed that time of year when these succulent creatures of the sea are once again being offered as gifts to us for the taking.
Few places offer both such prolific breeding grounds as well as easy access to these crawlers – who can be found either day or night, crawling along the ocean floor, or hiding in their caves. Ok, maybe the access is not always that easy, I have been outwitted many a time by wily lobsters who have been much more in tune with their watery environment than me. Usually we humans are outfitted with a lot of extra appendages, or gear, to catch our nimble bugs. I find too much gear gets in the way and is almost humorous in a desperate kind of way. And even with the best of gear, any murk being brought up from the bottom sand will cause immediate loss of close visibility, which of course is tantamount to catching them. And this is good – we want a whole lot of them to escape being a meal each year, so there will be that many more to come in the future.
It doesn’t really matter whether you are out in a big boat, or a little skiff, or a canoe, you can be resourceful with any vessel as long as you are patient, and quiet – and of course respectful of other divers. The whole drama of preparing for this theatre of tradition is great fun from the moment you awake until you are melting butter for your feast with the sunset.
Each island of the Keys boasts its favorite lobster spots. You can research these areas online through Florida and Florida Keys Lobstering Guide, How To Catch Lobster In The Florida Keys and numerous other sites that you can find through an online search around the various islands.
Our gorgeous ocean here is chock full of the best seafood in the world. The only fish that I consider to be every bit as delicious as lobster is the elusive hogfish. One season I had the good fortune of feasting on so many delicious morsels of both lobster and hogfish that I was at a cook out and had the dilemma of choosing between the two – what a Keys specific quandary! Naturally, I had a bit of both. There are as many ways to cook this candy of the sea as there are Bubba Gump’s shrimp. I advocate safety, kindness and environmental awareness in your search – bon appétit!!