Get ready for lobster miniseason

Published July 1st, 2022 by Bernardo

The annual two-day season will be here before you know it, so divers need to prepare now

By Steve Waters

With a month to go before lobster miniseason, now is the time to prepare if you haven’t already started.

South Florida’s unofficial summer holiday, miniseason is July 27-28. It gives recreational divers the first crack at lobsters before the regular lobster season opens on August 6.

“Make sure all your equipment is functional,” said Jim “Chiefy” Mathie. “Make sure your tanks are VIP’d (visually inspected), make sure your regulators are working.”

Mathie, a retired Deerfield Beach Fire-Rescue division chief, is the diving expert on the Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show that airs from 6-8 a.m. Saturday on Fox Sports 940 Miami and live-streams on the Nautical Ventures Facebook page.

He dives year-round and loves to hunt for lobsters. He wrote the lobstering how-to book “Catching the BUG: The Comprehensive Guide to Catching the Spiny Lobster,” which is available at dive shops and at

He noted that a few days before miniseason, dive shops become packed with desperate divers hoping to get their scuba gear repaired in time.

Those who plan to go out for miniseason on a charter dive boat can make their reservations now. The advantages of going with a charter boat include being dropped in the water where lobsters are known to hang out and knowing that the charter operators will check that their gear is ready.

“Usually we’re pretty on them before they get on the boat. Most of your charter boats are,” said Jeff Torode of South Florida Diving Headquarters in Pompano Beach, who also has appeared on the Weekly Fisherman show. “We make sure they have all their dive equipment, all their lobster equipment and all their licenses. We’re going to make sure that they have what they’re supposed to have.”

In addition to readying your dive gear, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are in shape for miniseason. If you haven’t been diving for several months, get back in the water before miniseason. If you haven’t dived since last miniseason, or longer, you might want to take a refresher class.


“We’ll put you in the pool and take you out for a dive trip and get your skills back up to where they should be,” Torode said.

Spending time in the water before miniseason also gives you an idea of where lobsters are located.

Since the regular lobster season closed on April 1, Mathie and his dive buddies have been spearfishing for grouper, hogfish and lionfish while keeping an eye out not only for lobsters, but places where lobsters might be during miniseason.

“We’re always looking for potential spots,” said Mathie, who marks a spot by pulling down his dive flag several times, which tells the driver of the boat following him to hit the man overboard button on the GPS chart plotter.

“If you find a hole with a lot of marine life, sometime during the season there’ll be lobsters there. And look for lionfish. Lionfish love the same habitat as lobster. If you see a lionfish, look for lobster. At the same time, if you see a lobster, there might be lionfish there, so take your lionfish weapons (such as spearguns) with you.”

As he wrote in “Catching the BUG,” some spots that have lots of lobsters now might have only a few when miniseason begins, like the spot that had 20 bugs a few days before miniseason and only two on opening day.


Then there was the time Mathie found a spot loaded with lobsters two months before miniseason. He checked it on a regular basis and it remained loaded. On the first day of miniseason, he and his crew all got their 12-lobster limits from that one spot.

For more lobster-hunting tips, as well as the latest information on where the fish are and how to catch them, listen to The Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show every Saturday morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. live on Fox Sports 940 Miami, an iHeart station. If you can’t tune in live, the Weekly Fisherman radio podcasts are available through:





Fox Sports 940 Miami:

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You can also watch the show on Facebook Live by liking our Facebook page at:


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