4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

It’s Time to Get Buggy

Lobster Season Opener Saturday

Hiding in the rocks during daytime, spiny lobsters spend their nights foraging and are usually caught between sunset and sunrise.
Hiding in the rocks during daytime, spiny lobsters spend their nights foraging and are usually caught between sunset and sunrise.

Dock Totals 9/19 – 9/25: 4236 anglers aboard 191 trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 2931 bluefin tuna (up to 240 pounds), 37 bocaccio, 93 bonito, 176 calico bass (53 released), 107 dorado, 3 lingcod, 3933 rockfish, 2 rubberlip seaperch, 45 sand bass, 413 sculpin, 153 sheephead, 45 skipjack tuna, 733 whitefish, 1615 yellowfin tuna, and 266 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Spiny lobster season begins Saturday, October 2nd at 6 am, sharp. There is no baiting or setting of hoop nets allowed prior to the official season opener just forty-five minutes before sunrise, and as spiny lobsters are nocturnal feeders that seek refuge by daybreak, Saturday evening into Sunday morning will be the first full night of “bugging” this year. In the fishing world, species-specific season openers can be a hectic thing, and in spite of the first morning starting window of less than an hour, recreational lobster season in southern California waters draws tens of thousands of hopeful hoop-netters and free-divers to the nearshore reefs and surrounding flats annually. Often referred to as “bugs,” lobster are considered an expensive delicacy today, when less than a century ago during the Great Depression they were considered a “poor man’s food.”

On average, about 33,000 lobster report cards are purchased each season. The 2020-2021 season saw an increase of over 30%, totaling just under 46,000 cards purchased. Several months of social distancing and lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic leading into last season was a probable factor in the increase, given that over half of the total cards sold last season were purchased by new lobster hunters. The fee for the spiny lobster report card is $10.54. Add to that the annual fishing license fee of $52.66, and if in waters south of Santa Barbara County, an Ocean Enhancement Validation of $5.97. Sportfishing licenses are not required for lobster hooping from public piers or for those under 16 years of age, but whether capturing lobster by hoop net or by hand while freediving, everyone targeting lobster will still need to purchase and fill out the lobster report card.

Recreationally, spiny lobster can be taken only by hoop net, or by hand while freediving. No devices, such as spears or poles, can be used. Hoop netters and divers must enter the date, type of gear, and location on their report card prior to fishing. When finished hooping or diving, changing locations, or changing gear type, the number of lobsters and how taken at each location must be entered on the card. The spiny lobster season runs through March 16, and report cards must be returned or submitted online to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) by April 30, even if the card was not used and even if no lobsters were caught. If a report card is filled completely, another can be purchased. Failure to report all lobster report cards by April 30 will result in a nonreporting fee of $21.60 when a lobster report card is purchased next season. Lobster report cards can be purchased at most fishing supply retailers, and online at the CDFW website. Cards purchased online cannot be printed, it will take about 15 days to receive them in the mail.

No more than five hoop nets per person can be used from a boat or kayak, and no more than ten total hoops can be on a vessel, regardless of how many people are aboard. If hooping from shore-based structures, including public piers or jetties, no more than two hoop nets per person can be used. To be kept, lobsters must be at least 3 ¼ inches long, measured in a straight line on the midline of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell. Lobsters are strong and often difficult to accurately measure, so having a device on hand to do so is required. Most sporting goods retailers sell an inexpensive lobster gauge to easily check for legal size.

The daily bag and possession limit is seven lobster per person. There are a lot of legal hoops for lobster catchers to jump through before baiting and setting their hoops, and once those are met, one more regulatory concern is knowing exactly where the protected areas are and staying out of them. If in doubt about the exact boundaries, the CDFW website features an ocean sport fishing interactive map with exact coordinates.

Spiny lobsters move about and feed at night and return to sheltering rocky reefs during the day. But unlike Maine lobsters in the Atlantic, spiny lobsters do not return to a “home den.” They live their lives as transients, moving up to a half mile in search of food per night, and holing up wherever they can during the day. For this reason, locations near rock piles and jetties can be productive night after night. Lobsters are generally scavengers and feed on snails, crabs, clams, and decaying fish. For bait to draw them to a hoop, oily fish, such as dead sardines, bonito, mackerel, or even tuna carcasses work well. The bait is pressed into a tube with holes so the scent can spread, then the tube is affixed to the center of the hoop. Once the hoop is set, an hour or two wait is all it takes for any lobsters in the area to find the bait. Hoops are a net with an inner and outer ring that lay flat on the ocean floor. When raised, the outer hoop lifts first, creating a basket of net. A steady pull is necessary; if not raised quickly, lobsters can easily swim out of the net.

On average over the past several years, over 50,000 lobster trips have been reported annually, with two legal lobsters kept per trip. Considering cost, labor, and time involved in catching lobster, it might be better to just go out for a surf and turf dinner or buy a few chunky tails from the local fish market to prepare at home. There are those few lobster hoop netters who understand and know the lobster fishery and do well. But many more find it a very difficult task with little result. This reality comes to pass for many hopeful first-timers, as most of the activity happens early each season. Nearly half of the reported trips occur within the first month of the season, and nearly 8% of all trips and 10% of lobster taken for each season are caught within the first 24 hours of the opener. For those who would like to give hooping a shot but do not have a vessel, there are trips available throughout the season from local sportfishing landings and guides. A quick search online for “Lobster Hoop Trips San Diego” will provide plenty of results.

Fish Plants: 10/4, Lake Jennings, catfish (1,000), Santee Lakes, 10/3- 10/4, catfish (2,000)

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Copley family and the Nixons, Dr. Seuss, San Diego Magazine

Helen's turn at the throne, David's missteps, end of the Tribune, union trouble
Next Article

Property astir on El Cajon Blvd.

Lafayette Hotel, Red Fox Room, Mississippi Apartments
Hiding in the rocks during daytime, spiny lobsters spend their nights foraging and are usually caught between sunset and sunrise.
Hiding in the rocks during daytime, spiny lobsters spend their nights foraging and are usually caught between sunset and sunrise.

Dock Totals 9/19 – 9/25: 4236 anglers aboard 191 trips out of San Diego landings this past week caught 2931 bluefin tuna (up to 240 pounds), 37 bocaccio, 93 bonito, 176 calico bass (53 released), 107 dorado, 3 lingcod, 3933 rockfish, 2 rubberlip seaperch, 45 sand bass, 413 sculpin, 153 sheephead, 45 skipjack tuna, 733 whitefish, 1615 yellowfin tuna, and 266 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Spiny lobster season begins Saturday, October 2nd at 6 am, sharp. There is no baiting or setting of hoop nets allowed prior to the official season opener just forty-five minutes before sunrise, and as spiny lobsters are nocturnal feeders that seek refuge by daybreak, Saturday evening into Sunday morning will be the first full night of “bugging” this year. In the fishing world, species-specific season openers can be a hectic thing, and in spite of the first morning starting window of less than an hour, recreational lobster season in southern California waters draws tens of thousands of hopeful hoop-netters and free-divers to the nearshore reefs and surrounding flats annually. Often referred to as “bugs,” lobster are considered an expensive delicacy today, when less than a century ago during the Great Depression they were considered a “poor man’s food.”

On average, about 33,000 lobster report cards are purchased each season. The 2020-2021 season saw an increase of over 30%, totaling just under 46,000 cards purchased. Several months of social distancing and lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic leading into last season was a probable factor in the increase, given that over half of the total cards sold last season were purchased by new lobster hunters. The fee for the spiny lobster report card is $10.54. Add to that the annual fishing license fee of $52.66, and if in waters south of Santa Barbara County, an Ocean Enhancement Validation of $5.97. Sportfishing licenses are not required for lobster hooping from public piers or for those under 16 years of age, but whether capturing lobster by hoop net or by hand while freediving, everyone targeting lobster will still need to purchase and fill out the lobster report card.

Recreationally, spiny lobster can be taken only by hoop net, or by hand while freediving. No devices, such as spears or poles, can be used. Hoop netters and divers must enter the date, type of gear, and location on their report card prior to fishing. When finished hooping or diving, changing locations, or changing gear type, the number of lobsters and how taken at each location must be entered on the card. The spiny lobster season runs through March 16, and report cards must be returned or submitted online to California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) by April 30, even if the card was not used and even if no lobsters were caught. If a report card is filled completely, another can be purchased. Failure to report all lobster report cards by April 30 will result in a nonreporting fee of $21.60 when a lobster report card is purchased next season. Lobster report cards can be purchased at most fishing supply retailers, and online at the CDFW website. Cards purchased online cannot be printed, it will take about 15 days to receive them in the mail.

No more than five hoop nets per person can be used from a boat or kayak, and no more than ten total hoops can be on a vessel, regardless of how many people are aboard. If hooping from shore-based structures, including public piers or jetties, no more than two hoop nets per person can be used. To be kept, lobsters must be at least 3 ¼ inches long, measured in a straight line on the midline of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell. Lobsters are strong and often difficult to accurately measure, so having a device on hand to do so is required. Most sporting goods retailers sell an inexpensive lobster gauge to easily check for legal size.

The daily bag and possession limit is seven lobster per person. There are a lot of legal hoops for lobster catchers to jump through before baiting and setting their hoops, and once those are met, one more regulatory concern is knowing exactly where the protected areas are and staying out of them. If in doubt about the exact boundaries, the CDFW website features an ocean sport fishing interactive map with exact coordinates.

Spiny lobsters move about and feed at night and return to sheltering rocky reefs during the day. But unlike Maine lobsters in the Atlantic, spiny lobsters do not return to a “home den.” They live their lives as transients, moving up to a half mile in search of food per night, and holing up wherever they can during the day. For this reason, locations near rock piles and jetties can be productive night after night. Lobsters are generally scavengers and feed on snails, crabs, clams, and decaying fish. For bait to draw them to a hoop, oily fish, such as dead sardines, bonito, mackerel, or even tuna carcasses work well. The bait is pressed into a tube with holes so the scent can spread, then the tube is affixed to the center of the hoop. Once the hoop is set, an hour or two wait is all it takes for any lobsters in the area to find the bait. Hoops are a net with an inner and outer ring that lay flat on the ocean floor. When raised, the outer hoop lifts first, creating a basket of net. A steady pull is necessary; if not raised quickly, lobsters can easily swim out of the net.

On average over the past several years, over 50,000 lobster trips have been reported annually, with two legal lobsters kept per trip. Considering cost, labor, and time involved in catching lobster, it might be better to just go out for a surf and turf dinner or buy a few chunky tails from the local fish market to prepare at home. There are those few lobster hoop netters who understand and know the lobster fishery and do well. But many more find it a very difficult task with little result. This reality comes to pass for many hopeful first-timers, as most of the activity happens early each season. Nearly half of the reported trips occur within the first month of the season, and nearly 8% of all trips and 10% of lobster taken for each season are caught within the first 24 hours of the opener. For those who would like to give hooping a shot but do not have a vessel, there are trips available throughout the season from local sportfishing landings and guides. A quick search online for “Lobster Hoop Trips San Diego” will provide plenty of results.

Fish Plants: 10/4, Lake Jennings, catfish (1,000), Santee Lakes, 10/3- 10/4, catfish (2,000)

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Borrego Days Desert Festival, Movie In The Cemetery: Hocus Pocus

Events October 23-October 27, 2021
Next Article

Tom Morey – the Boogie Board's early years

"I don't think it's just a fad"
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close