Special Thanks to the The Coconut Palm Inn
How about Lobstering in the Florida Keys? Well I am gonna tell you all about it. Yes even if you have never done it before, after looking over this blog, you will be an expert, well maybe not an expert, But you will look like you know what you are doing :-) Get it, you will look like you know what you are doing :-) I just crack my self up.. Okay any way....
There are several different ways to catch these bugs ( bugs are known as Florida Lobster) so first get the lingo down :-)
One way is to go Bully netting at night. Lobsters are nocturnal and come out at night to feed and do their thing. To Bully net it must be dark out and you will of course need a bully net and good strong deep cycle battery and a couple of high powered spot lights.. Typically you want to look in Creeks and Grass beds or on the edge of chanels for these bugs (Lobster). You can either drift a long or idle around looking for these guys. Typically the first thing you will see is the glowing of their eyes.
Okay now it is very important that you measure the lobster before keeping them. You will have to buy a measuring device. About $1 to $5 dollars.
Once you get back to the dock you must twist your Lobster and break off the tip of the lobster tentacle to clean out the pooper. It is not as bad as you think :-)
If you do not clean out the poopers, you will be chewing your fresh catch of bugs and it may be a little crunchy/ gritty.
Another place to find bugs is a secret ship wreck, okay boat wreck, But Ship Wreck sounds more exciting :-) I know this spot in the back bay where the bugs hide really good and it is a bear to get them out from under the wreck. It takes practice and proper technique, but it can be done. ..Oh and part of the fun is the scenery and adventure getting there.
We did well at the wreck. About this time you start to get hungry.. so why not go down to the Hungry Tarpon and eat. YOU can feed the Hungry tarpon here and you eat at the restaurant called the Hungry Tarpon..
After Filling our bellies and the Tarpon's bellies too, we headed out to search for more bugs. This other way we search is by dragging behing the boat a long the creeks and looking up under the ledges for bugs. It is challenging and the bugs hide way up under these ledges.
This is really a geat time and you never know what it is you are gonna see. After looking for bugs all day (Lobstering) you get kind of tired, so it is nice to go somewhere and relax in the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys. There is a place in the keys called Holiday Isle, It is a fun place to go to, but I would rather go to the Holiday Isle Sand bar. It is a beautiful place to park your boat and relax in the water. Oh and thank goodness I had my mechanic with me, just incase we happen to have some mechanical issues, which we did. Well we did not, but my buddies did. So I lent them my personal mechanic out to them....:-)
By this time we have had a full day on the water and it was beginning to get late. There was a group of us by now so we decided to run the boats over to Whale Harbor, it is just up the channel from the sand bar. Check out the website...
The kids were hungry and wanted something cold to drink and I think the adults wanted a cold beverage. Whale Harbor is a great place to visit. They have a fleet of offshore boats for fishing,back bay boats for the back country, diving, jet ski rentals, you name it. The best part are the cold beverages, food and the amazing views over the Atlantic Ocean.
Once again it was getting late so we decided to head home. On the way home by boat is a really neat place called Marker 88.
It actually has a man made beach and the kids love going here and snorkeling off the beach into the Bay. The kids begged please, please, lets stop there. I said okay, ya really did not have to twist my arm. It took about 10 minutes by boat. Well at least when you are cruising at 60 MPH in the boat :-)....The food here is outstanding and so are the cold beverages as well as the most amazing sunsets you may ever see. When looking at the photos below note the three little dots in the water starting at the left side of the photo and how the little dots work their way across the photos to the right. Yes those dots are the kids still snorkeling in the water. In the photo below is one of my life long friends Annie, a super great person :-)
By this time it was for real getting late the sun was setting and it was time to get home. Home, where is home. Home is at the most amazing resort in this part of the keys. If you are not staying in a great place when you come to the keys, that can ruin your whole trip. This place we stayed at is call the The Coconut Palm Inn right on the bay.
The Coconut Palm Inn is an amazing place. When you pull up to the property and walk on to the beach and look over the Bay, Your blood pressure drops, your heart rate slows and you instantaneously are put into relaxation mode. For those of you that know me, I never ever relax and sit still, I am always on the move, always busy doing something. I even sat in one of the many Hammocks laced between the many palm trees and just watched the water. It is amazing what you see when you sit still and listen and watch. In a matter of 15 minutes, I saw a huge Manatee cruise on by, I saw Tarpon cruising by, I saw fish jumping all over the place, watch hermit crabs and snails crawling on the bottom of the bay. Blue crabs cruising around, more Snapper than I could count. I watch lizards and these iguana looking lizards running around the property. There were more aquatic birds flying around, feeding, doing their thing. I know I have said this before, but, it is just a magical place. The staff here is awesome, ask for Dana or Kathryn. They will make your stay most pleasurable. Rene and Hector do a great job keeping the property pristine and everything working properly. Yaima and Arelys keep you rooms clean, beds made, fresh towels and whatever else you may need. The continental breakfast is great too. Get your food and sit in a Hammock and enjoy the view. My favorite part is there are two large boat docks on the property for parking your boat and a boat ramp just next door. This is so convenient. It is a short boat ride to some of the best back bay fishing you can have. I have some life long friends who have been Back Country fishing guides for years. I will gladly give you their names and they will take you out for a great day of fishing. If you want to go Ocean Blue fishing or diving and snorkeling on the reef. You are only a few minutes to Tavernier Creek which leads you to the stunning blues/green waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Okay back to Coconut Palm Inn. It is only a mile or so to the food stores, shopping, some of the best restaurants you can eat at. Made 2 Order is an excellent place to go and get breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. It is right on the water, We prefer to go there by boat for breakfast. It is the best breakfast ever. Yummy, Yummy.. Home made Pastries.. mmmmmm Check out their website....
For dinner .. Go to Old Tavernier which is only a few miles drive by car or YES, you can go by boat. The food here is outstanding as is the service. You will love it here.
Okay now lets get back to Coconut Palm Inn, again. By the time we got home we were exhausted from boating all day. We ate and went to bed. We woke up the next morning... sadly this was the day before we had to leave here and we had one more day to go out and catch some more bugs. We talked about the Bully netting, snorkeling the ship wreck (okay,sunken boat), dragging behind the boat along the channels. This other way we find bugs is my most favorite
Okay, another way to get bugs (Lobster)is going out to the patch reefs. This is really fun, cause the reefs are so amazingly beautiful. Lots of sea life, fish, crabs,Lobster, tropical fish, turtles, corals sharks, just really cool..What you do here is look for good coral filled bottom, when you see it, stop the boat and someone jumps in the water with a mask to survey the area. If the bottom looks good, carefully set the anchor on the ocean floor, NOT on top of the coral or sea fans. I prefer for my son or whoever is in the water and go hand set the anchor in a sandy patch. Another way to find good bottom is to drag behind the boat and when you see some good bottom, let go of the rope and dive down to check it out. If the driver of the boat likes you he or she will turn around to get you, if not they may just keep on driving away.. Ha Ha,, kidding.. These bugs camouflage themselves really good, so they are hard to see. You must look really carefully. While looking for the bugs you are going to see some really cool stuff.
Last but not least, My son Wade. He said, Dad, I want to ride on the back of that shark I keep seeing. I said, Wade unless you are trained professional like me. HA HA... I would not do it. Wade said, Dad can I touch his tail, I said if you would like to. Wade said, Dad what if he bites me, I said then do not grab his tail. Wade said, Dad, I want to. I said then son, be very careful and grab his tail. So what does Wade do.....??? Look below and see for yourself :-)
No, Wade did not get bit :-) and he got to touch the sharks tail. :-)
What a great Lobstering trip to the keys and all the fun places to go to while visiting the keys. I hope you enjoyed this edition of the boating guide and if you have any questions on places to go, charter captains, lodging(you know my favorite place to stay :-)) or looking a Great Realtor besides my self, is my step Mother Kelly Wilson. She knows properties in the keys, whether it be a rental or a purchase, she is awesome :-) or you need a great building contractor? My Dad Bill Wilson who also lives in the keys. He can build the smallest to the largest McMansion you have ever seen.
Until next time make time for your family and friends. Come and enjoy this paradise that we live in. Like Nike says, "Just Do It!!!!"
For more details and photos on the Lobstering in the Keys as well as the Coconut Palm Inn , go to shanewaterfrontwilson.com and click on the boating guide.