Boating Your Way to Lobsters

By: Parimal M. Rohit

Lobster season is upon us this month. As September spills into October, lobster hunters will surely be crowding local beaches, harbors and piers in search of making a big catch as close to shore as possible. On the other hand, large populations of lobsters are generally found in deeper waters, especially early in the season. With fewer lobster hunters further away from shore, it might be worthwhile to hop on a charter boat and head west into the Pacific Ocean in search of lobster just off the California coast.

In avoiding the populated shore, hiring a charter boat this lobster season might prove fruitful for one interesting reason: weather. Lobsters tend to be deeper at sea during storms. In late August and early September, Hurricane Marie and Tropical Storm Norbert have made their respective presences felt along the Southern California and Baja California coasts, meaning it is possible lobsters will be in deeper waters once hunting season begins on Sept. 27.

There are plenty of options available for those seeking to get away from the crowded beaches, harbors and piers or for anyone who just wants to hunt for lobsters in deeper waters.

Common suggestions from divers who hunt lobster: travel in a small boat with two to eight divers; look for a small and professional boat; and a reasonable budget for a small independent charter would be within $250.

One great resource listing a number of diving charters available between now and December is scubadivingla.com. Some charters are already sold out, but many are still available from San Pedro and Ventura harbors to Catalina and the other Channel islands.

Peace Dive Boat offers two lobster trips from Ventura to Talcott Shoal off of Santa Rosa Island (about 30 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara). One trip is offered in November and the other in December; both trips are $145 per person. Visit peaceboat.com for more information.

Also heading out of Ventura Harbor and toward the Channel Islands is Raptor, which offers tank and night dives to Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands. Visit raptordive.com for scheduling and pricing.

Another charter boat available for lobster hunting is the 24-foot Slammer in Redondo Beach. For information about this charter boat, please contact Redondo Sport Fishing at (310) 372-2111.

Down in San Diego, Horizon Charters will be offering a lobster dive trip between Sept. 26 and 30 at Cortes Bank. The four-day, four-night trip includes meals, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, tanks, and weights. At press time, spots on the charter were still available. Email Curtis at Curtis@scubaworldsacto.com or visit horizoncharters.com for pricing information and space availability. The charter departs Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. and returns Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.

Others offering chartering services include Breakaway Sportfishing Charters in Huntington Beach, Newport Landing Sportfishing in Newport Beach, and Marissa Dive Charters in San Diego’s Mission Bay.

As with anyone this hunting season, if you will be taking a charter boat to hunt for lobster in deeper waters, be sure to have in your possession the proper fishing license, Ocean Enhancing Stamp, and Spiny Lobster Report Card. Also be sure to have with you the properly regulated gear.

Of course, there are certainly more charter boat options available. The charters featured here are a good starting point for someone who is ready to spend a few days at sea and underwater in search of the perfect spiny bugs.

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