Lobster hunting advice from one novice to another

Now that you know the best way to eat lobster, you’ll need a little advice on how to catch yourself a Bahamian crustacean. You should go lobster hunting if you are a strong swimmer, you like a challenge and you have always wanted to know what the hell is a lobster hotel. I guarantee, the lobster will taste better if you catch it yourself.

Here’s my advice for fellow novice lobster hunters.

  • 1. Lobster fishing is a bit tedious. It requires patience. You drive around navigating by GPS to find marked lobster habitats, otherwise known as lobster condos or lobster hotels. Once you locate the spot, you drop anchor and hop overboard to inspect the hotel. If it’s empty you pack up and head to the next spot. If it’s occupied you get to work. You repeat this routine over and over. Tip: Bring a friend and carry snacks. 
  • 2. The solution to the tedium is catching a lobster, but there are no guarantees. The sense of satisfaction you are filled with when you finally spear a lobster makes all the waiting and working worth it. Unfortunately, you do find hotels that are empty: some will have been cleaned out by other fishermen and some locations may simply have been unattractive to the lobsters. You also find hotels with only baby lobsters, which are illegal to catch. Tip: Get the lobster out on the open plain. When you disturb the lobster hotel, some of them will swim out. Don’t worry, they are not going far. Set the tip of your spare as close as you can before you release.  
  • 3. You don’t need to be an expert, but you do need a bit of athleticism. Spear fishing is hard on your wrists and arms. If you don’t exercise regularly, have sports rub close by because your muscles will be sore the day after. Tip: Practice makes perfect. I almost gave up after my 10th attempt. With each try it is harder and harder to hold your breath, because you’re body gets fatigued. Just persist. You can do it. (And in my defense, I was fin-less, which makes it extra hard fighting against ocean currents.)
  • 4. Don’t carry home dead weight. The only edible part of the lobster is the tail. The head is a big hollow shell that houses a few organs. Fishermen will usually twist off the tails and leave the heads behind. TipThe special technique: Bend the tail back, grip and twist; apply brute force to begin and then finesse the tail at the end so you get all the meat. Lobster heads are great to chum water if you’re going hand line fishing. 
  • 5. Watch a master at work. If your success rate is anything like mine – 15:1 – then you’ll be so exhausted by the time you catch your first lobster that you’ll want to put down the spear shortly after. No worries, you can always watch a professional at work. The professional fishermen often use a double sided metal hook to catch lobster. They hook the lobster underneath the belly, grab it in their gloved hand, and then jab it with the flat spear on the other end of the hook. Have your go pro ready. Tip: Go fishing with a master. I traveled with Tavares Thompson of Me and My, as in me and my favorite fishing guide from Andros. 

Next time you’re feeling hungry for lobster, remember the best way is hand-hunted, fresh from the sea. But you’ll need advice if you plan to take on this adventure as a novice.

The reward: Sweet Satisfaction.