Florida lobster sport season, known as mini season, is almost here. The two-day event will take place this year on July 27 and 28. Many people have already made their plans to go to the Keys and catch some “bugs.”
On the last Wednesday and Thursday each July, with a Florida saltwater fishing license and a current spiny lobster permit, recreational divers and snorkelers can catch Florida lobsters.
There are limits to the amount of lobster you can take home. In Monroe County and Biscayne National Park the limit is six lobsters, per person, per day. In the rest of the state the limit is 12 lobsters, per person, per day. The sizerequirement is greater than a 3-inch carapace (upper body shell), which is measured in the water. Divers are required to have a measuring gauge. Egg bearing lobster must be released.
Penalties are stiff for violators, and include hefty fines as well as possible jail time. Know the rules before you go and follow them. For more information go to www.myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lobster.
Once you have your catch, there are many ways to cook it. Most people find that simple is best, and boil, steam or grill their lobsters. Here is an easy recipe for tails that is tried and true:
Easy Broiled Florida Lobster Tails
• 4 (6-9-ounce) spiny lobster tails, split open in the shell
• 1/4 stick unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
• Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat broiler on medium high. Place lobster tails on a cookie sheet and make sure they are sliced open well. Spread butter over the meat, and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Broil on the middle rack for about 6-7 minutes, or until it is just cooked through. Do not overcook or the meat will become tough. Serve warm or chilled slightly, with lemon wedges and melted butter.
Leftovers (if there ever are any!) taste great cold the next day over a salad tossed with lemon, olive oil and diced avocado.
If you don’t feel like cooking many restaurants will cook your catch any way you like it, for a charge. After a long day on the water, that just might be the best way to go!