Lobster Mini Season - Tropical Living

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GADGETS GALORE A couple of tools will make the season a bit easier. p12


Know the boundaries of lobster law. p32

LOBSTER DINNERS Check out some of the local dishes on the menu. p22-23




99621 OVERSEAS HWY KEY LARGO, FL (305) 451-0118

535 GREENE STREET KEY WEST, FL (305) 293-5122





In the spirit of our years past we are continuing our effort to rid the waters of lionfish while we are out catching lobster. This year’s contest is again for the benefit of Cathy McKoy, who has been diagnosed and fighting stage IV bone cancer. She needs all the help and prayers we can gather to aide in her ongoing recovery. Our non-profit tournament is also donating a portion of the proceeds to Sanctuary Friends of the Florida Keys, who monitor and maintain the moorings at our beautiful marine sanctuaries. The FWC will also be here to do studies on our lionfish collections. Our sponsorship this year is off the hook. Whether you are avid bug collectors or you just want to help out a great cause you should participate. All participants receive an awesome thermal tumbler and lionfish sting kit. Value ( over $50) We will have so many categories to win and raffles to give away, it would be hard to walk away empty handed!

4650 Overseas Hwy Marathon, FL 33050 305-743-7255 Tildensscubacenter@gmail.com

Only $35 to enter All participants receive a tournament Tumbler and Lionfish Kit All participants are entered into weigh-in party raffle ticket Categories for Men/Women/ Kiddos Over $7000 in prizes to win and give away Last tournament entry taken at Tilden’s at 9am on July 26th Final Weigh-in at Tilden’s 6:00pm July 27tth


CONTENTS MMXVII Marathon Weekly 9709 Overseas Hwy. Marathon, FL. 33050 P. 305.743.0844 F. 305.743.0866



Martin Moe knows a LOT about lobster / P. 6

Lobster and lionfish go together like PB and J / P. 24

Lobster inspire local artists to create / P. 10

Sport season law differs by region; know the rules / P. 34

Take it home: COOL souvenirs are trip candy / P. 14

At night, hunters use lights and nets to catch / P. 36

On-the-spot learning offered at FWC booth / P. 16

Key West Weekly 5450 MacDonald Ave. Suite 5 Key West, FL. 33040 P. 305.453.6928 F. 305.509.7347

Upper Keys Weekly 91831 Overseas Hwy. Tavernier, FL 33070 P. 305.743.0844


Publisher Jason Koler jason@keysweekly.com Managing Partner Britt Myers britt@keysweekly.com Editor Sara Matthis sara@keysweekly.com

Account Executives Lesley Aaron lesley@keysweekly.com Hollie Will hollie@keysweekly.com Production Manager Anneke Patterson anneke@keysweekly.com

Office Manager Charlotte Hruska char@keysweekly.com Art/Design Travis Cready travis@keysweekly.com

Staff Writers Kristen Livengood kristen@keysweekly.com Gabriel Sanchez gabriel@keysweekly.com Hays Blinckmann hays@keysweekly.com

Visit our Brewery & Tasting Rooms in ISLAMORADA & FT. PIERCE 82229 Overseas Hwy, Islamorada • 3200 St. Lucie Blvd, Fort Pierce


Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017


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Martin Moe studies diadema now, but is one of the pioneering researchers of spiny lobster. CONTRIBUTED

By Kristen Livengood Underneath Martin Moe’s Plantation Key house is his own research lab he uses to study diadema – the long spiny black sea urchins – that once populated offshore reefs in great numbers but disappeared in the ’80s. But, before he was looking at how to cultivate the spiny algae eater and reef protector, he was studying the reproductive lives of spiny lobster. Moe’s “Lobsters: Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean,” published in 1991, was the first book of its kind to delve into the lobster’s life in layman terms. “The biology hasn’t changed much in the time, although the fishery has,” he said.


He owned a marine fish farm in Marathon in the ’70s and experimented with the larval stage of lobsters, hoping to eventually open a lobster farm. “The larvae stage was so long and complicated that we finally decided it wasn’t feasible,” said Moe. “But, it stimulated an interest in their lifecycle more so than just collecting them.” Here’s some interesting lobster facts to stump your friends on the boat:

Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Phyllosoma larvae, or lobster in its first stage, more closely resemble a spider than a lobster. It took years and years for scientists to realize the larvae were lobster and not some other sea creature. In its larvae stage, lobster will eat other larvae, not phytoplankton, which is what most larvae chew on in the microscopic stage. “I saw the lobster larvae spear an angelfish larvae, capturing and eating it with its spiderlike appendages,” said Moe. Male lobster are bigger and have extremely long front legs to aid in reproduction. When the male sees a female it likes, it grabs onto her and places a “tar” spot on her belly. When she is ready to hatch eggs, she

“scratches” the spot to release his seed and inseminate the eggs. She then holds onto the 40,000 to 140,000 eggs for two to three weeks before climbing on top of the tallest coral head and releasing them into the currents. Romance ain’t dead, folks. Most of all the lobster in the Keys come here via ocean currents. “They can sense where the shoreline is and know where the best nurseries are,” said Moe. Usually when they are around one and quarter inch in length, they do their “lobster-like” molt and find a place to hangout for two years before moving to the reef. Moe’s book can be found at local bookshops and online. He is the author of 10 books on marine fisheries and aquariums.

Snappers Oceanfront Restaurant & Bar 139 Seaside Avenue, MM 94.5, Key Largo (305) 852-5956 • www.SnappersKeyLargo.com SNAPPERS OCEANFRONT RESTAURANT offers quality dining with a Florida Keys feel at moderate prices in a casual atmosphere. Both locals and visitors alike are treated to a truly enjoyable Keys experience when visiting Snappers. Open daily from 11am, Sunday Brunch 10am. OCEANFRONT • DAILY CHEF’S SPECIALS • LIVE MUSIC

9 5


Serving natural Tropical Juices & Smoothies Traditional Cuban Cuisine & Specialty Sandwiches Cuban Breakfast & Pastries

Macadamia Crusted Florida Lobster Tail Also Offering our “Cook your Catch" Florida Lobster Special using one of our signature preparations. Offered now through July 31st

Espresso, Cafe Con Leche, Cortadito


www.restaurantmarathon.com Open Mon-Sat 7 am – 6 pm Sunday 7 am – 4 pm 2603 Overseas Highway, Marathon MM 48.5 305-735-4051

Dinner Served Daily 5 - 9:30pm 1405 Duval Street, Key West // 305.295.6550

southernmostbeachcafe.com keysweekly.com



Hear 4 U / Hear 4 Kidz is pleased to announce that we have been authorized to test the benefits of the latest digital hearing technology. This incredible digital hearing instrument processes sound differently for a more complete listening experience. Hear 4 U / Hear 4 Kidz is among a select group of hearing specialists in the United States who have been given the chance to introduce this revolutionary new product here locally. Study participants will be asked to help us determine how well this remarkable new hearing device performs in real life settings. In order to participate in this program, you will:

You should participate if… you miss out on important family gatherings. you consistently hear mumbling instead of words.

1. Receive a complimentary hearing consultation. 2. Be fit with this advanced new hearing system. 3. Wear the device daily for 2 weeks and fill out a short questionnaire.

you consistently ask others to repeat themselves.

You are under no obligation to purchase during this Risk-Free opportunity. At the end of our study, study devices will be offered to study participants at a substantial discount if you are interested in purchasing. This new hearing instrument promises users the following benefits: •

Provides clear, clean sound without whistling or buzzing.

Automatically turns the noise down so you can focus on the conversation.

Identifies, classifies and adjusts to different environments

Allows you to turn down the volume of your TV while hearing the words more clearly.

your current hearing aids fail to filter words from background noise.

Please call the office closest to you to be included in this risk-free trial.

Nearly invisible, comfortable, and featuring

We are asking trial participants to wear the hearing devices for two weeks and help us determine if they experience these and other benefits through better hearing.

Call now to take advantage of this special offer. If you know someone who would benefit from help with their hearing, please pass on this offer.

amazing sound quality • • • • •

Hear nature from every direction. Stay active – golf without wind noise! Enjoy church services, even from a distance. Join the conversation at social gatherings. Hear television at a regular volume again.

Test Trial Dates: Today through Labor Day KEY WEST 513 Fleming Street, Suite 11 (2nd floor accessible via elevator)

(305) 307-5355

We will be offering tremendous incentives, including financial, toward the purchase of any New Digital Hearing System during this special event for Florida residents! Remember, appointments are limited so please call (305) 714-9994 today!

HOMESTEAD Tower Professional Plaza 151 NW 11th Street | Suite W-301

(305) 407-3074

Hearing device benefits vary by and are dependent upon the type and degree of the patient’s hearing loss, environmental & lifestyle conditions, hearing test accuracy and ear geometry. The purpose of this trial is two-fold: first, to help evaluate innovative technology and second, to determine if this exciting new technology is the right fit for you.


Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Catch & Create

Lobster inspire us to hunt, to eat, and to create. Up and down the Keys, artists have featured the spiny creature in everything from delicate watercolors to sturdy home accessories, repurposing the wood of the trap itself. By Gabriel Sanchez

LOBSTER TRAP ART Procure the wood for your first lobster trap masterpiece by visiting your local craft store, or for a more authentic look, ask a local fisherman for materials from retired traps. Use care when knocking off pesky barnacles or keep them in place for the rustic factor. Suggested projects include art frames, canvas, outdoor coffee tables. Go, you.

PROFESSIONAL ART Lobsters are also very inspirational creatures in the island art scene. Don’t believe me? Ask Richard Blaze. In the 1980s, Blaze used the lobster as his muse when creating a giant sculpture of a spiny lobster named Betsy. Betsy resides outside Islamorada’s Rain Barrel Artists Village after relocating in 2009. At 30 feet tall, and 40 feet long, she’s become one of the more iconic roadside attractions in the Keys. A little difficult to squeeze in the suitcase, but smaller examples abound.

GO GASTRO A few years ago, Taiwanese chef Huang Mingbo created miniature motorcyles using a lobster shell. Images of his odd creation went viral. And last year, online Niconico user, Nurezokin, shared a video tutorial for how to make a replica robot suit from the Japanese animated cartoon Mobile Suit Gundam using only a ruler, handsaw, and glue. Hey, it’s your lobster.

Betsy the Lobster stands tall outside of the Rain Barrel Artists Village in Islamorada.

10 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Sharing the Water with Sea Turtles

• Watch out for sea turtles on the surface • Avoid trap ropes that may be floating • Stay alert and obey speed limits If you see a Sea Turtle in Distress:



Mon.–Thu. 7am–5:30pm Fri. & Sat. 7am–7pm

Mon.–Sat. 10am–8pm Dine in or Take out



Fresh seafood: Stone Crabs Florida Lobster Key West Pink Shrimp Yellowtail Mahi Mahi Conch Salad Smoked Fish Dip & more!

Call our 24 hr Hotline 305-481-7669 or Call FWC 888-404-FWCC or Radio Coast Guard VHF Ch. 16

We ship FedEx


w w w. k e y l a r g o fi s h e r i e s . c o m

Try our signature sandwich: Lobster B.L.T. or sample our other treats: Lobster Bites Conch Fritters Backyard Fresh Fish Baskets & Sandwiches Live Music Friday & Saturday evenings

Located on Lake Largo: 1313 Ocean Bay Drive Key Largo, FL 33037

Our factory is led by the closest relative of legendary cigar maker Jose Dominguez. He is a true visonary who brings energy, excellence, and passion to everything he touches. Point Break Cigars are offered in 10 sizes, 3 of which are only done before anywhere in the world. Cubano Numero UNO, 54x5, 54x6, 54x7 all of which are Point Break Cigar’s inventions. Every Tobacco leaf goes through 8 fermentation cycles and are a collection of what is truly iconic from around the world. The collection is produced exclusively by Tabacalera Victor Sinclair and they are responsible for the Point Break Experience.

Our retail stores are located in the historic district of Old Town Key West, FL, two on Duval Street and One on Greene Street. 403 Greene St. • 600 Duval St. • 921 Duval St. • 305.295.6110 • info@pointbreakcigars.com • www.pointbreakcigars.com



Small children are required to wear a life vest when a boat is underway. Responsible pet owners will buy them, too. This flotation vest from Good2Go is both safe and comfortable, lightweight and comes in a very violent shade of pink that is hard to miss. The sturdy handle makes it easy to pick up a dog and return it to the deck should they take an unexpected dip. From $20 to @26 at petco.com.

WEAR IT If you’re hunting under the sea, you need camouflage. Most manufacturers have more than one pattern — mottled blue for deepwater stuff and mottled blue and brown which perfectly matches the color range of shallow Keys waters. This particular Riffe rash guard is available at Divers Direct (3 locations in the Keys) and costs about $60.


GADGETS 5 must-have

tools to make lobster season a little easier

KEEP IT Thieves, even in the sleepy Florida Keys, can be brazen. The best way to protect your investment — whether it’s a trailer loaded with kayaks, Jet Skis, or a boat — is with a wheel lock. This one, by the makers of “The Club” fits over the tire and is opened with a laser-encrypted key that cannot be duplicated. The Club Tire Claw costs about $100, available at autozone.com.


Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

SEE IT The most critical piece of equipment for bully netting is the net. Second, is the lights. Or maybe vice versa. This portable underwater lighting is extremely bright, capable of illuminating all the bugs. The light can be attached to a 12-volt battery for eight hours of life, or to a cigarette lighter for endless energy. The lights cost about $200 from deepglow.com

GRILL IT There’s an easy way to grill seafood and a hard way to grill seafood. Choose the easy way with a grilling basket. This stainless steel option by E-Teching has a big basket — 12 by 8 inches, or large enough to cook a meal for three to four people at a time. Add some veggies in there, too, and call it a meal. The cooking apparatus costs about $20 on Amazon.

©2017 Sea Tow Services International, Inc. All rights reserved.


THAT’S WHAT THE LOBSTER ARE FOR Sea Tow members are always served first. Join today, our Captains are standing by 24/7. ®

Get our FREE App!

Serving all of the Florida Keys Sea Tow Key Largo \ 305-451-3330 Sea Tow Islamorada/Marathon \ 305-664-4493 Sea Tow Lower Keys \ 305-901-5744 Sea Tow Key West \ 305-295-9912 800-4-SEATOW


SOUVENIRS 5 must-have memories to take home

By Sara Matthis


MERMAID TALE $149.99 Oh my goodness, what little girl doesn’t want to be a mermaid? The Angler’s Closet in Marathon sells them in a variety of sizes and colors (blue, pink and black). Blue is by far the favorite for the garment that has bathing suit material that comes up over the hips, and a hard plastic monofin with a pending patent.

T-SHIRTS ‘N’ STUFF $25+ Locals will tell you to go looking for the cool shirts from restaurants, bars and the many attractions up and down the Keys. In Key West, head over to The Green Parrot for one of the T-shirts emblazoned with the “No Sniveling” motto. In Marathon, we love the ball caps from Onboard Band-it, a local company. Don’t leave the Upper Keys without some cool gear from oTHErside Boardsports.

14 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Take home a bundle of Red Label corona cigars from Point Break Cigars in Key West. This cigar has full body flavor comprised of a Dominican wrapper and binder, and top-quality filler materials from Nicaragua, Pennsylvania, Peru, Dominica and Brazil. The factory is lead by the closest relative of legendary cigar maker Jose Dominguez. The cigars come in 10 sizes — three of which are completely unique to Point Break in Key West.

RUM $25 Take home a bottle of Key West Legal Rum. With it’s own distillery in Key West, the rum is made with Florida sugar cane and a variety of flavors to please every tippler. The operation opened in 2013, and the name makes a play on the illegal rum running operations during Prohibition.

KEY LARGO CHOCOLATES & ICE CREAM Key Largo 305-451-1500 Big Pine 305-735-4322

Islamorada 305-664-4637 Sugarloaf 305-745-1856

Marathon 305-289-5670 Key West 305-292-2923

Ke y La rg o’ s fo r fa vo ri te pl ac e

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FREE SAMPLES with this ad


Weekly 07-17


Real Estate Sales, Property Management & Vacation Rentals

MM 100 1 / 2 BAYSIDE keylargochocolates.com • 305-453-6613


The Visitor’s Center…not the island to Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club Call for tour information (305) 743-5999

History • Environmental Education • Research

Check out our keysy custom apparel!

www.onboardbandit.com 305-481-1367 • 305-923-1595


If it breaks, just BAND-IT! Daily Historical Tours At 10am, 12pm, & 2pm Environmental Education Programs • Summer Camps • Research (305) 743-5999 • www.pigeonkey.net

Spearband Replacement and Repair kit. • allotment of rubber in various diameters • cutting and securing tools • rope and stainless wishbones • & more inside a custom waterproof box!

keysweekly.com 15

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission www.myfwc.com 888.404.3922 (Div. of Law Enforcement) Fishing Licenses and Lobster Stamps www.license.myfwc.com 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (486.8356) 888-FISH-FLORIDA (347.4356). John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park pennekamppark.com 305.451.1202 Everglades National Park www.nps.gov/ever 305.242.7700 305.242.7740 (24-hour dispatch) Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges www.fws.gov/nationalkeydeer/ keywest 305.872.2239 Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary floridakeys.noaa.gov Upper Keys 305.872.7717 Key West 305.809.4700 Monroe County www.monroecounty-fl.gov 305.289.2805 (Div. of Marine Resources)


Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

VISIT THE INFO BOOTH An information booth geared to help travelers coming to the Florida Keys for lobster mini-season is to open at Key Largo's Waldorf Plaza, MM 100 oceanside, near the top of the Florida Keys Overseas Highway. Planned hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday, July 22-25. Officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary will staff the booth to show lobster enthusiasts how to measure their harvest properly and provide information on the latest lobster-catching rules and regulations. The booth is to be established in the parking lot adjacent to Divers Direct at Waldorf Plaza on the right shoulder of the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 1. Traditionally, thousands of Keys visitors and residents participate in the lobster mini-season. Wildlife officials emphasize that it's important to catch lobsters responsibly and protect their habitats. Officials also said divers should be in good health and make sure their dive and boating gear have been verified to be in good working order before submerging. Florida lobster mini-season begins at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 26, and ends at midnight Thursday, July 27. The regular season begins at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 6. Visit floridakeys.noaa/regs/mc_lobster.pdf for more details. ­â€”Contributed

Islamorada, Village of Islands www.islamorada.fl.us 305.664.6400 City of Key Colony Beach www.keycolonybeach.net 305.289.1212 City of Marathon www.ci.marathon.fl.us 305.743.0033 City of Key West www.keywestcity.com 305.809.3700 Key Largo Chamber of Commerce www.keylargochamber.org 305.451.1414 Islamorada Chamber of Commerce www.islamoradachamber.com 305.664.4503 Marathon Chamber of Commerce www.floridakeysmarathon.com 305.743.5417 Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce www.lowerkeyschamber.com 305.872.2411 Key West Chamber of Commerce www.keywestchamber.org 305.294.2587

Committed to preserving our marine habitat, addressing climate change and assessing the impacts of sea level rise.

Monroecounty-fl.gov GreenKeys.info

In 2014 Monroe County initiated a $5,000,000 series of six canal restoration demonstration projects. In 2016 we completed construction of the six demonstration restoration projects. In 2017 we completed an additional $2 Million in canal demonstration projects. To learn more about the canal restoration project visit Monroecounty-fl.gov click on “Programs” then “Canals."


Mini-Lobster Season Festivities!! Breakfast Served Daily 8AM-11AM Spend The Whole Day On Our Oceanfront Pool Deck & Have Fun At Our Poolside Tiki Sushi & Raw Bar Enjoy Fresh Seafood, Steaks, And Cuisine With A Caribbean Flair! Come By Boat And Enjoy Our New Dock And New Beach!

Located At The Foot of The World Famous 7 Mile Bridge

"Sunday Funday”

Pool & Beach Party every week!

Longest running pool party in the Florida Keys! Live Music, DJ, BBQ Poolside, Games & More!!


move to the Keys By Sara Matthis

“They just want their own slice of paradise; that’s what my clients tell me,” said Tommy Mack, a broker-owner associate of Buy the Keys which he co-owns with Rick Haskins.

Moving to the Keys? Here some things to consider: • High Season or Low Season? Before buying, visit a couple times of year. Mack said some of his clients love the hustle and bustle of February’s high season with tons of events every weekend, while others like the quiet of September. Preferences could also dictate neighborhood — some are sleepy burgs, others a mecca of activity. • Beach-y or Boat-y? Jo Ann Cook, broker with Re/Max All Keys Realty, says there’s a difference. “About 30 percent of my clients who move to the Keys just want to walk outside their door and stick their toes in the sand. The other 70 percent want to have a boat in their ‘back yard.’” Then things like canal depth and width become important. • Gulfside or Oceanside? For fishermen and divers, this makes a big difference. Cook said she’s had some clients who state clearly they have no interest in Oceanside properties, because all their waterbased activities take place on the Gulfside. Where the sun sets matters too — some fishermen prefer the afternoon shade while filleting the day’s catch. Other purchasers have to see the sunset. • Now or Later? There are plenty of families moving to the Keys right now. Homes are selling at a good pace and there are a fair amount of homes on the market. Some buyers, however, are taking advantage of the market while not quite ready to make the full-time leap into island life. The Keys have a strong supply of vacation rental properties to rent out weekly or monthly to cover the insurance and taxes.


7 Knights Key Boulevard • MM 47 (At the Foot of the 7 Mile Bridge, Ocean) 18 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Local Realtors say there are many reasons want to move to the Keys: a relief from the daily grind, the tropical vibe, to get away from crime, or just to live in a close-knit community. Hands down, though, it’s all about the environment — blue waters, warm breezes.

Looking for a new home? Don’t be Bugging! Call Super Agent Ben Daniels today! Outboard shafts fixed on boat. Inboard props repaired up to 60”.


31 S. Conch Ave. 2 bed/1 bath, 1280 sq. ft Conch Key


Emergency Services Available In water Prop Removal Dyna Balance Coming Soon


800 50th Court, Gulf 2 bed/1 bath, 1,170 sq. ft Marathon

305-292-0012 6003 Peninsular Avenue Key West, FL 33040

In Business Since 2004 propdrkw@gmail.com


227 S. Anglers Dr., #404 3 bed/ 2 bath, 1,575 sq. ft. Marathon


611 101st St., Ocean 3 bed/2 bath, 1,672 sq. ft. Marathon T JUS


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58622 Overseas Hwy. 6 bed/6 bath, 3,876 sq. ft. Grassy Key

The Real Keys

Waterfront Dining Experience Best in FL Keys $11.99 Cook Your Catch – Lobster or Fish

Open Daily

Homemade BBQ and Fresh Local Seafood BBQ Smoked Daily on premises

7 AM - 11 AM

(Smokehouse Breakfast) 11 AM - 10 PM (Lunch/Dinner)

Live Entertainment Happy Hour 3-6 PM Daily Beer/Wine/Well Drinks/Mojitos Pet Nightly 6-9 PM Rum Punch and Happytizers Friendly Daily Specials 10% Local Discount

Homemade Desserts


Facebook.com/PorkysBaysideBBQFLKeys MM 47.5 Bayside in Marathon • 305-289-2065

keysweekly.com 19





Tommy Mack Owner/Broker Associate


19570 Mayan Street Sugarloaf Key




6810 Front St 1, Stock Island

827 Caribbean Drive Summerland Key

1501 White Street Key West

702 Florida Street Key West

1411 Truman Avenue #3 Key West

371 Avenue C Big Coppitt

13W Cypress Terrace Key Haven

#1 Agent In Completed Transactions throughout the Florida Keys. • $40 million sold in past year • 32 Successful Closings in 2017 • 100’s of Happy Clients If you are thinking about listing your home, shouldn’t you list it with an agent who has a successful closing each week?

Luxury Island Real Estate

Call today 305.731.7910 D


$704,500 914 Windsor Lane Key West

Tommy Mack

Owner/Broker Associate 305-731-7910

Emily Lombard Sales Associate/Realtor 305-433-1900

Buy The Keys


3685 Seaside Drive Key West, Fl 33040




$1,280,000 1406 Pine Street Key West

$1,200,000 3636 Dolphin Street Big Pine Key

KEY WEST Southernmost Beach Sit on the beach at the Southernmost Beach Cafe and enjoy gourmet fruits of the sea. The Cafe offers a delicious Macadamia Crusted Florida Lobster Tail drizzled with fresh pineapple and poblano salsa and passion fruit beurre blanc. Atop coconut rice, it’s Florida lobster at its finest. Cafe Sole Cafe Sole’s Lobster Bouillabaisse is lobster done with culinary flair. Chef John Correa has created a classic, romantic French stew filled with shrimp, mussels, scallops, grouper, fresh vegetables and homemade broth. It’s an intimate eatery, and considered one of the island’s finest. Two Friends Satisfy lobster cravings at Two Friends Patio Restaurant. Try the combos — broiled Florida lobster tail paired with grilled gulf shrimp and broiled scallops, or the classic Surf ‘n’ Turf with a tender 8-ounce New York strip. Two Friends is located in downtown Key West, next to all of the action. DJ’s Clam Shack DJ’s Clam Shack brings New England to the Keys; it imports fresh Maine lobster for locals and tourists alike. Take a break from Florida lobster and enjoy a northern specialty — the classic Lobster Roll. At The Shack, the fresh baked roll is slathered with seasoned mayonnaise and the meal is served with a side of slaw.

22 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Southernmost Beach Café

Half the fun of catching “bugs,” is eating them. Which is why chefs of the Florida Keys have mastered every imaginable lobster delicacy. No matter where you go, you’ll be satisfied. The only question is how you will have your lobster prepared.

LOBSTER DINNER Weekly Staff report

UPPER KEYS Snappers Snappers Oceanfront Restaurant treats visitors to two, count ’em two, juicy 8-ounce tails in its signature dish – the Twin Lobster Tails. These twins can be prepared to be identical or fraternal, and options include grilled, broiled, blackened, beer battered, or fried. Have them with the mash potatoes and asparagus and pair it with a glass of house pinot noir. Ciao Hound If you’re craving Italian cuisine, a carefree ambience, and easylistening tunes – Islamorada’s Ciao Hound is a wise choice. Among the many savory pasta

entrees on the menu is the local favorite, Lobster Ravioli. Picture it: five large raviolis stuffed full with chunks of lobster and smothered in a homemade bisque-based brandy paprika cream sauce. Oh my. Key Largo Fisheries By far the most popular item on Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Café’s menu is the BL(obster) T sandwich. The spicy mayo is spread on either a flaky croissant or Kaiser roll and best enjoyed on a hot summer day with an ice cold libation. No? Okay, then try the Lobster Philly with melted mozzarella on hearty Texas Toast.

MARATHON Steak & Lobster House Florida Keys Steak and Lobster House serves lobster specials all season. One of the favorites is the whole lobster stuffed with the restaurant’s signature crab cake stuffing. The stuffing uses jumbo lump crab meat, and then is finished with a drizzeled chipotle mayo and lemon.


The Island Fish Co. Lobster is just as good at lunchtime. The lobster sandwich at The Island Fish Co. is a succulent coconutencrusted lobster tail served on sourdough bread with lettuce, tomatoes and the house made remoulade sauce. Served with fresh hot French fries, it’s great for lunch or dinner; possibly both, consecutively.

Sunset Grille Try Florida lobster with an international flavor — coconut curry lobster at Sunset Grille & Raw Bar. (The fantastic sunset is free.) The dish is Florida lobster medallions sautéed with tomatoes, onion, garlic, and mushrooms in coconut curry cream sauce served with the restaurant’s signature coconut rice and vegetable of the day. Havana Jack’s Havana Jack’s Oceanside Restaurant & Bar in Key Colony Beach will cook and “stuff” your lobster. The tail is topped with a grouper stuffing made with mayo chives and sage and then smothered in Parmesan cheese and broiled to perfection.

Havana Jack’s

Ciao Hound

keysweekly.com 23

Lobster season is the time to try your hand at lionfishing.


Venomous spines and bright colors shouldn’t deter divers from a lobster’s best companion on the dinner the table – the lionfish. When searching for lobster tentacles swaying in the underwater currents, the invasive lionfish is usually not too far from the honey hole. While delicious on a dinner plate (especially next to a lobster tail), the big deal with lionfish is that they have an insatiable appetite – eating anything smaller than itself and as many as 20 reef fish in 30 minutes, and females spew two million eggs per year with no natural predators. To catch lionfish, a simple pole spear works best, although they can also be caught with nets and spearguns. Cleaning them can be tricky, but worth it. Marathon commercial lionfisher Rachel Bowman says first and foremost to handle them carefully and, for first timers, it’s a good idea to clip the venomous spines. Other than that, lionfish are fileted like any other fish. With no limits, seasons, or size restrictions, lionfish are slow moving targets and have a taste compared to hogfish, snapper and grouper – mild, white, flaky and delicious.

24 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

• In Marathon, Tilden’s Spines and Spiny Tournament takes place during sport season. Participants have until 9 a.m. on Wednesday, July 26 to register. Call 305-743-7255 or drop by 4650 Overseas Hwy. Marathon. • Reef Environmental Education Foundation sponsors a one-day derby on Saturday, July 29, at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, MM 102.5 in Key Largo. Participants may register by 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 28 at the park.

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JUST THE FACTS Little details matter when lobster hunting

Weekly Staff report

• Spiny Lobster must have a minimum carapace length of greater than 3-inches and the measurement must take place in the water. The carapace is measured beginning at the forward edge between the rostral horns, excluding soft tissue and proceeding along the middle to the rear edge of the carapace. All recreationally harvested lobster must remain in whole condition while at sea. • The federal bag limit cannot be combined with the state bag limit. • Egg-bearing (berried) spiny lobster and ridged slipper lobster (also commonly known as shovelhead or bulldozer lobster) must be released unharmed. Stripping egg-bearing females of eggs, and possession of spiny or ridged slipper lobster tails from which eggs have been removed, is prohibited. Eggs are an orange, yellow, brown or red mass found covering the underside of the lobster’s tail. • Gear such as spears, hooks, wire snares and any device which could puncture, penetrate or crush the shell of the lobster is prohibited. It is illegal to spearfish for lobster.

26 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

• Bully-netting is defined as using a circular frame attached at a right angle to the end of a pole and supporting a conical bag of webbing. Possession of bully nets is prohibited in Everglades National Park.

• Recreational harvesters are required to possess a valid Florida saltwater fishing license with a current lobster stamp. They can be purchased online at www.license. myfwc.com or by calling 1-888-HUNTFLORIDA (486-8356). The stamps cost $5; so, no excuses.

• Hoop-netting is defined as using a frame, circular or otherwise, supporting a shallow bag of webbing and suspended by a line and bridles. Possession of hoop nets is prohibited in Everglades National Park.

• It is a felony to molest, damage, or take lobster from commercial traps in state or federal waters. • When divers and snorkelers are in the water, it is required to prominently display a diver flag. • It is illegal to create “artificial habitat” — cement blocks, pipes and other debris intentionally placed to provide cover and habitat for spiny lobsters.

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28 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Haggling about price with the marine mechanic who is saving your (expletive deleted) season.

Asking a restaurant to cook a lobster that’s the size of a shrimp.

Captaining the boat like a “googan” — an overloaded vessel, improperly equipped, running too fast and too near other boats and divers.



Wringing the lobsters and leaving the carcasses to fester in nearshore waters.

Touching the coral (or our women).


Using a flare gun to ward off “poachers” at “your” lobster hole.

Repurposing the hotel’s sink as an impromptu barbecue grill.


Complaining about HOW WE DO THINGS HERE if you are from out of town.

Not greasing the bearings on the boat trailer before leaving Miami-Dade, causing the wheels to lock up and generating a threehour traffic jam on the 18-Mile Stretch.



Double dipping — loading up lobsters, running home and dumping them off, and going out again.


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Weekly Staff report

Sport season lasts from 12:01 a.m. on July 26 to midnight on July 27.

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The minimum length of the carapace of a legalsize lobster.

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of all lobster commercially harvested in Florida is shipped to Asia.

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30 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Size of a tropical rock lobster caught in 2014 by Zheng Lee Pan off China. He sold it at auction for $95,325.

• Cost of annual saltwater fishing license for Florida residents. • Cost of a three-day saltwater fishing license for out-of-state visitor.

20 x 24 inches: Size of regulation dive flag that is displayed from a vessel or structure. (12 x 12 inches is allowed for a float or buoy.)


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Designated in 1990, the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the 2,900 square nautical miles of waters surrounding the island of the Florida Keys, from Miami to the Tortugas. It is protected by a special set of rules and it is against the law to hunt lobster in certain areas of the Keys. Don’t lobster in the following areas:

Special Preservation Areas (SPAs): > Carysfort Reef > Elbow > Key Largo Dry Rocks > Grecian Rocks > French Reef > Molasses Reef > Conch Reef

> Hen and Chickens > Davis Reef > Cheeca Rocks > Alligator Reef > Coffins Patch > Sombrero Key > Looe Key

Special-use recreational areas: > Newfound Harbor > Eastern Dry Rocks > Rock Key > Sand Key

No person shall remove by any means, whether by trap, diving, spearing or otherwise, any Florida spiny lobster from any waters within the Layton city limits.

32 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

> Conch Reef > Tennessee Reef > Looe Key Patch Reef > Eastern Sambo

Ecological reserves: > Western Sambo > Tortugas (not marked, refer to GPS coordinates)

Wildlife management area Existing management area



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In an effort to cut back on turf wars, most cities in the Keys have invoked a special rule to keep down the neighbor-onneighbor fights by establishing a ‘no-go’ zone.

KNOW THE WHERE’S Weekly Staff report

here are many places in the Keys where it’s illegal to take lobster any time of year. Let’s say you find a lobster poking out of a “casita,” or artificial habitat in state waters ... can’t have it. Don’t try lobstering in either Biscayne Bay or Card Sound, either; it’s against the law. And don’t look for lobster in the Dry Tortugas National Park or the Everglades National Park. And then there’s the areas within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary that are also off limits. Most are Sanctuary Preservations Areas and are helpfully marked with a big round yellow buoy, but stay out of the Special Use Research Only Areas and the Ecological Reserves, too. There’s two other areas where lobstering is verboten. The first is the tiny town of Layton in the Middle Keys. No person shall remove by any means — trap, diving, etc. — any lobster from waters within city limits during sport or regular season. (But it is okay to unload your catch at a Layton dock if it was obtained legally in another part of the Keys.) The second is John Pennekamp State Park. No one is allowed to lobster during sport season. During regular season, it’s illegal to take lobster from natural coral formations or from the park’s special “Lobster Exclusion Zones” that are marked with white and orange spar buoys. So, if you come across a fabulous lobster hole and there’s nobody else around, chances are you’ve stumbled into the danger zone. So, just don’t. Pull anchor and get.

34 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

‘No’ x 3 • Don’t take pregnant lobster. • Don’t spear lobster. (Think about it. By the time it’s been shot, it’s too late to discover Mr. Lobster is too short.) • Don’t mess with lobster traps. It’s a felony to rob a commercial fishermen of his livelihood.

‘Yes’ x 1 • It is okay to snorkel or dive for lobster in front of one’s home in Key West or unincorporated Monroe County, but don’t wander out of range. Lobsterers are allowed to the center-line of the canal or 100 feet out in open water during sport and regular seasons.

Stay away In an effort to cut back on turf wars, most cities in the Keys have invoked a special rule to keep down the neighbor-on-neighbor fights and, especially, the resident-on-visitor quarrels. Essentially, it establishes a “no go” zone to keep lobster hunters away from private property. In the following areas, there is no diving or snorkeling within 300 feet of enhanced residential or commercial shoreline, any manmade or private canal, any public or private marina. • In Marathon: During sport season only. • In Key Colony Beach: There is no lobstering within city limits during sport season, plus 4 days before and 10 days after regular season begins. During that time, no snorkeling or diving is allowed in city waters for safety reasons. • Islamorada: During sport season, plus 3 days before and 5 days after regular season begins. • Key West & unincorporated Monroe County: During sport season, plus 3 days before and 5 days after regular season begins.

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The Dark Side of Lobster Season By Kristen Livengood The shallows after dark shine a whole new light on grassy beds harboring lobster as they make their nightly walks to new grounds and to feed. Done in four feet of water or less, bully netting happens at night, uses a long-poled hooped net with underwater lights, and a pair of good eyes to bring lobster on the boat. Some people can use flashlights above the water, looking for glowing eyes, but the process works better with lights under the water.

36 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

Some tips from local bully netters include keeping the net part pointed toward the fisherman’s body so the part where the net and pole connects hits the lobster’s tentacles. They suggest going slowly into the water but then pushing down fast over the lobster when right above it. The point is to hit the frame of the net on the lobster’s tentacles so it spooks the lobster and it shoots back into the net. Once in the net, pull aboard to measure.

Another tip: don’t use super bright lights, because it will reflect the silt in the water making it harder to see. The plus side of bully netting is lobster hunters won’t get a sunburn. It’s cooler in the evenings than during the day. And, usually no one has to get their hair wet. Bully Netting Supplies: • Shallow draft boat • Underwater lights • Bully Net • Lobster measuring gauge • Good eyes




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he Florida Keys hosts tens of thousands of visitors during the two-day lobster mini season. Both safety and nerves are an issue, and accidents can occur both on and off the water. Give some thought to the points below before heading out on the water. KEEP OFF THE REEF • When free diving or scuba diving for lobster, it is important to practice good buoyancy and avoid making contact with the reef. Be aware of where you kick your fins, secure any dangling gauges and regulators, and be careful not to knock into coral in your pursuit of lobster. Fragile corals can be damaged by careless divers. STASH YOUR TRASH • If your lunch or afternoon snack creates waste, be sure to keep it secure on the boat until you can dispose of it on land. Litter can suffocate or entangle marine animals. Always remember: if it doesn’t grow in the ocean, it doesn’t go in the ocean.


KNOW THE WATER • Pick up a copy of the official Monroe County lobster harvest regulations and familiarize yourself with the specially managed areas (See page 32). Also, remember this rhyme: “Brown, brown, run aground. White, white, you just might. Blue, blue, sail on through. Green, green, nice and clean.” (In other words, the color of the water is an important navigation tool.) BE AWARE OF ACTIVITY AROUND THE BOAT • The captain of the vessel should have a “swivel head” — constantly checking the maritime activity in the vicinity. Every boat must display a dive flag or device when divers are in the water, and should carefully navigate around other vessels displaying same. Be aware of the current conditions, low and high tide, and drift. The captain should keep track of his or her own divers in the water and do a head count before pulling anchor so no one is left behind.

38 Lobster Mini-Season Guide 2017

WATCH FOR TURTLES • There are five species of endangered or threatened turtles that love the Keys as much as lobster hunters. The number one thing humans can do is keep litter out of the water – both regular trash like plastic bags and monofilament fishing line are a danger to turtles because they will eat anything. Also, captains should be on the lookout for turtles who are surfacing to breathe. A high-impact crash could kill or seriously injure a turtle. If you find an injured turtle, call The Turtle Hospital’s 24-hour hotline at 305-481-7669 or call FWC at 1-888-404-FWCC. HAVE THE RIGHT EQUIPMENt • Double check that you have all the safety equipment aboard before leaving the dock — flares, horn, dive flag, life vests, etc. Don’t rely on a cellphone — know how to use the VHF marine radio. If you are taking a cell phone, invest in a Life Proof case or dry bag. You must have a lobster-measuring gauge onboard, too. There’s a good chance you will get inspected. If you’re flagged, respond to the officers with courtesy; they are just doing their job.

BE COURTEOUS AT THE RAMP • Learn proper boat ramp etiquette. The foremost goal is to spend as little time as possible launching the boat and taking up space at the courtesy dock. That usually requires two people — one to back the trailer up and down the ramp and the other to navigate the boat on and off the trailer. All preparations should be done before the boat is at the ramp (coolers loaded, straps removed) in an adjacent area. The same applies when the boat is pulled from the water: move away from the ramp to another area to tie the boat to the trailer, remove the drain plug, etc.

— Weekly Staff report

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