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Lobster Miniseason Results

Published August 2nd, 2021 by Bernardo

By Steve Waters

For most South Florida divers, it took a lot of effort to try to catch a limit of lobsters during the recent miniseason, which was July 28-29.

The regular lobster season opens August 6, so to keep up with where the bugs are, as well as fishing tips from top captains, listen to The Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show every Saturday morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. live on 940 WINZ, an iHeart station. You’ll learn where the fish are biting and how to catch them. If you can’t tune in live, the Weekly Fisherman radio podcasts are available through:

Although pre-season scouting reports were good, with bunches of lobsters reported along the second reef off Broward and Palm Beach counties, the bugs, as they are known, had moved into deeper water by the time the miniseason opened at 12:01 a.m. this past Wednesday.

Fortunately for Jim “Chiefy” Mathie and his crew, he had several alternative lobster locations.

A retired Deerfield Beach fire chief, Mathie is the diving expert who tells listeners everything that’s going on under the water on the Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show, which airs from 6-8 a.m. Saturday on WINZ 940-AM and live-streams on the Nautical Ventures Facebook page.

The author of “Catching the BUG: The Comprehensive Guide to Catching the Spiny Lobster,” which is available at local dive stores and at www.chiefy.net, Mathie has thousands of dives under his weight belt and he knows where the Chiefy crew has caught lobsters during previous miniseasons.

“We had to work for them, that was the thing,” said Mathie, whose six-man crew got its limit of 72 lobsters the first day and nearly that many on the second day, which was cut short by afternoon thunderstorms, diving from Boca Raton to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

“We scouted on Monday to go on Wednesday and they weren’t where we scouted them. The good news is we always have a backup plan. We always have two, three, four other spots that, if things don’t work out, we can go over there. And that was really the key. That saved us both days, actually.”

Mathie said the bugs had been in 30 to 35 feet of water when he scouted. It wasn’t until Mathie headed out to 50 feet of water in his Mercury Verado outboard-powered center console that he and his crew found groups of lobsters. Unlike like last year, when the Chiefy crew had its limit by 8:30 a.m., all on one-tank dives, the crew didn’t complete its limit until a little after 1 p.m.

That evening, at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea’s BugFest, most of the divers who were entered in The Great Florida Bug Hunt, which awarded cash and prizes for the biggest bugs caught, as well as raffles prices with one ticket issued for each lobster weighed in, said it took them much longer than usual to catch their 12-bug limit.

The Chiefy crew’s hard work paid off in the BugFest raffle, which followed the event’s annual lobster chef competition. Gold Coast Scuba won the top chef title with its Basted Lobster Taco recipe that featured a spicy citrus slaw, lettuce and lime crema.

Mathie won an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center at the Bimini Big Game Club that includes three days of diving and round-trip transportation. Crew member Andy Rubin also was a big raffle winner, taking home an Aqua Lung Legend dive regulator.

Day 2 of the miniseason started off fast, with Rubin and Chuck Van Buskirk coming up with their limit of 24 bugs. The other Chiefy divers slowly added to that total, but the final dive of the day was stopped by lightning strikes that were coming closer and closer.

“The second day it’s all about going to a place that nobody goes to, and we were very fortunate that that’s now produced three years in a row,” said Mathie, who celebrated a safe and successful miniseason with a bottle of SelvaRey coconut-flavored rum that Rubin had gotten from his friend John at American Duty Free.

The regular lobster season opens August 6, so to keep up with where the bugs are, as well as fishing tips from top captains, listen to The Nautical Ventures Weekly Fisherman radio show every Saturday morning from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. live on 940 WINZ, an iHeart station. You’ll learn where the fish are biting and how to catch them. If you can’t tune in live, the Weekly Fisherman radio podcasts are available through:

iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-weekly-fisherman-show/id1117007850
Website: https://www.nauticalventures.com/TWF
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WINZ: https://940winz.iheart.com/featured/weekly-fisherman/about/
iHeart Radio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/53-weekly-fisherman-28270572/
You can also watch the show on Facebook Live by liking our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/The-Nautical-Ventures-Weekly-Fisherman-Show-136020173136939
You can watch past Facebook live shows at: https://www.facebook.com/The-Nautical-Ventures-Weekly-Fisherman-Show-136020173136939

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