The only thing better than a nice restaurant-served lobster is a delicious crustacean that you caught yourself! Florida’s waters are full of big lobsters that will taste great at your dinner table. Although some regions are better than others, you can find lobster on almost any Florida coast. Here is your guide to catching lobsters in the Sunshine State.
This area is popular for lobstering, even though it’s not the best. In the Panhandle, look for lobsters in the reefs. There aren’t too many lobsters offshore, but the ones you find are pretty big. To get lobsters, you need to go ten or more miles offshore and search in reefs at least 100 feet deep. You’ll find a lot more shiny lobster than spiny ones in this region. If you don’t own your own boat, charter a boat or join a lobstering tour. You might get some big ones!
The Keys have the best lobster catching areas in all of Florida. However, there are many restricted areas (including parks and preserves), so know where to go! A couple good reefs to try are Pelican Shoal in the Lower Keys, and the Garden, Fishbowl, and Thunderbolt in the Middle Keys. Check out the various shipwrecks in the non-restricted areas, as these provide a haven for lobsters. You’ll encounter plenty of Caribbean lobsters in the area—yum!
Central West and Southwest
Lobster catching is not a huge deal in Central West Florida, mostly because there aren’t that many there. However, you can find a few in deep reef and around wrecks. You’ll have better luck elsewhere, though. The Southwest is even sparser.
You can find lobsters almost anywhere in the Southeast. Take a short swim 50 yards out for shallow catches in the reefs and wrecks, or go a little further to find bigger, tastier bugs. Lobsters like to hide in holes, so be sure to check in any nooks and crannies for lobsters in the shadows. With the proper outfit and tools, you could snag a huge catch that will taste great drowned in butter.
Central and Northeast
If you’re looking for massive lobsters, this is the region to hunt! Check out Wabasso Beach and Monster Hole for big bugs. For sites with less pressure and more adventure, you can go a few dozen miles offshore to dive.
Wherever you choose to go, be sure to check regulations and talk with locals to find the best places to hunt. Most importantly, have fun and be adventurous! The reward will be worth its weight in lemon juice and butter.