Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Hunt The Lobster

Lobster mini season they call the next couple of days, and the pursuit of lobster is one of those divisive events that sets some peoples' teeth on edge. Other people see an influx of people as bearers of cash and that's all to the good.
It happens that commercial lobster catching starts in August and continues into the winter with tens of thousands of licensed traps scattered through the Keys by commercial fishermen and I should note they are all men for reasons I don't know, good sense possibly or intelligence.  Lobster fishing is one of those trades people do out of desire and consequently they get screwed by the middlemen who raise and lower prices depending on supply so that fishermen never make the vast sums of money they earn by hard labor. 
In the bad old days summers in the Keys were lean times when summer vacationers weren't trained to vacation in the beach-free Keys, so after the snowbirds left there was less and less money circulating. So they invented ridiculous reasons to try to attract tourists, blowing Conch shells, eating fish at festivals, imitating Hemingway, you name it, all culminating in Fantasy Fest in the leanest of months, October, at the height of hurricane season and with maximum humidity. The thing is: these crackpot ideas worked brilliantly and nowadays the Florida Keys have a ten month tourist season with some slight pause in September into November with one hair raising week for the dress up street party.  
Thus the original motivation for the Lobster Mini Season has pretty much been forgotten.  It was a way to offer a perk to locals sticking out the low tourist season and allow the population that isn't fishing commercially to have a go for a couple of days to catch  the much desired lobster. Nowadays so-called mini season leads to a massive influx of tourists hauling the Queen Mary on trailers behind their armored pick up trucks as they plan their battle orders for predawn raids on unsuspecting lobsters.
None of this cheers up commercial fishermen who are poised to start  their own harvests on the water in the next week. People ashore like myself who make no tips from the battle hardened anglers, look askance on the chaos while the shopkeepers' union, the Chamber of Commerce, cheers the whole process along, as they should.
The rules are pretty simple: Lobster Mini Season Rules. Basically you can take six lobster that aren't too small and you can only take them from open water without oxygen or spears. Of course there are idiots who can't follow simple rules and law enforcement is all over the Keys on land and water like a cheap suit. 
I don't particularly enjoy eating lobster and I don't enjoy angling and I can't stand crowds so you might imagine I have no interest in or love for mini season. That last sentence goes a long way to explaining why I'm taking off in a van next April. More to the point I find mini season tedious but it's over almost as soon as it  began so the pain is minimal. Long live lobster mini season.