Bully Netting: The Guide to Net More Spiny Lobster
Bully netting lobster, namely the Florida Spiny Lobster, has grown into an industry of recreational and commercial fishermen competing with their bully net to get a limit of lobster tails. It’s crazy to think that lobster went from being a trash fish fed at prisons to now one of the most sought after crustaceans that crawl the sea floor. I must say - a boiled lobster tail topped off with melted butter can cause cravings that make any fisherman go crazy.
In the recent years, we've found bully netting for lobster at night to become more popular, primarily because day time bully netting requires scuba gear and jumping into sometimes muddy shark infested waters (especially in the beginning of the season when everyone is out). Bully netting at night with lights seems to be the safer, cheaper, and easier alternative to fill your bag with spiny lobster. If you don't believe me - check out this photo below a fellow bully netter sent us. Luckily he was in his boat when he saw this shark.
Where Do You Bully Net Lobster?
The most common location for bully netting lobster is in the Florida Keys. Other spiny lobster locations include California and the Caribbean, where they also utilize a hoop net or “bully net” to catch lobster. The rules and regulations vary from place to place, but there is typically a minimum carapace length requirement. The carapace is the dorsal (upper) shell of the exoskeleton of the spiny lobster.
What Time of Year is Best for Bully Netting?
The bully netting mini season opens up for two days; the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. The mini season opens at midnight (12:00 AM) on Wednesday morning and ends at 11:59 PM Thursday, or technically midnight Friday morning.
Once the mini season is over, the regular commercial and recreational lobstering season starts August 6th and continues through the end of March. The limit in the Florida Keys is currently 6 spiny lobster per person in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, but 12 per person for the remainder of Florida.
The most competitive time of the year to go bully netting is during the mini season and in the beginning months of bully netting season. As the season goes on, we've found that bully netting for lobster at night is the best time to go. The lobster are out feeding in 1 to 4 feet of water, and a quality bully netting light will do a great job at lighting them up. This is the relatively dry alternative to scuba diving for lobster, and you get the added experience of seeing all the marine life lurking at night.
What are the Best Bully Netting Lights?
Quality bully netting lights need to be bright and capable of penetrating through a variety of water conditions. The success rate of your bully netting trips will more often than not be determined by the quality of your bully netting lights and their ability to give you better visibility which leads to more opportunities to bully net lobster. The best bully netting lights have adjustable color tone to help increase visibility in both clear, cloudy, or even muddy waters. For more information on bully netting lights, we encourage you to check out this The Ultimate Lights for Bully Netting Lobster.
What do I need to know to net more spiny lobster?
Bully netting for lobster at night with bright bully netting lights is the first start to net more spiny lobster. At night the lobster are in 1 to 4 ft of water, instead of 10 to 15 ft deep, making it far easier to net them.
Spiny lobster prefer to stay hidden in protected crevices and caverns of coral reefs, sponge flats, and other hard bottomed areas during the day time. At night, they are prowling in shallower waters looking for food. They will eat mostly anything, but their primary diet consists of snails, clams, crabs, and urchins. If you're able to find a good source of their diet during the day time, it is bound to be a good bully netting spot come night fall. The lobster will often retreat back to their protected cover in deep water several hours before the sun comes back up. It is relatively uncommon to find spiny lobster in the shallows during the day time.