Random Jottings

Zen and the art of lobstering - part 3

Right then, are you by the side of a nice rocky reef dive on a shore somewhere with no crazy currents, easy access and egress points, all your bits and pieces clipped on? Yes? well away we go…….

In the last article I forgot to talk kit configuration, well because I dive solo on this type of dip I dispense with any octopus and everything is tied well down as you will be bumbling through kelp and you don’t want catching hazards, not that they are anything other than a pain in the ar$e but lets minimise stress!

So as soon as you get to 2m start looking for hidey holes, they tend to be in vertical or near vertical faces or fissures, work out towards a reasonable depth, say 10m max in a systematic manner and don’t worry about retracing your route, you will see lobsters that you missed on the way out, I do, you will!!!! Use your torch to scan quickly in long fissures and don’t just look at the base of the reef, lobbies will be found in cracks and holes in mid-water, remember in water lobsters are only slightly negatively buoyant and can easily crawl up and down a vertical rock face.

Hurray you have spotted your first lobbie and it looks ‘extractable’, what did you spot? Was it a pair of antenna sticking out of a hole, perhaps a claw or two, maybe even claws and a head what-ever its there! So at this stage reconnoitre his hidey hole, is there a back entrance (fnaar, fnaar)?, there is nothing worse than getting ready and set then ‘whoosh’ your prey has disappeared into the kelp and off!

Right he’s in a crack with only one way in or out….is he aggressive or spooky? I have had lots of lobsters come right on out of their hidey-holes and ‘jump’ off the bottom to try and get hold of me, obviously these are the Glaswegians of the crustacean world but they are easy to grab and bag! I know it’s a bit existential but when I have spotted my lobbie I usually dump my air extend my arms and make nipping motions with my hands, stupid but on too many occasion the lobbies get ar$ie and out they come!

Well you have gone all existential and he is sitting there saying ‘no way’ so its hook time! Now, as I wrote earlier at this stage you do not inset hook and start fighting, oh no, no, NO!!! Slowly put the hook behind the lobbie as far away as you can and then gently move it so that his tail is within the crook of the hook, at no time are you going to touch him with the hook that’s VIP. Now his sensory system will pick up something behind him so he will start moving forwards. You must make sure that there is a clear exit, don’t totally block the front of the fissure, keep ushering him forward and he will keep coming like a lamb, honest!

Now when he gets to his front door he will start to turn to see just what is behind him and he is now in the open, tilt your hook to prevent him walking back into his hidey-hole and assuming you are right handed, with your left hand grasp him squarely directly behind the head on the main carapace, at this stage if he is soft so drop him and move on, don’t worry you cannot be nipped!

Now turn him over, if he is a she and there are berries well drop her and move on, they usually flare their tales and if there is a notched V, guess what? That’s right, drop her and move on.

Well it’s a ‘him’ so with your right hand ‘shake open’ the bag, put him in tail first, usually when he is three quarters in he will try to get into this new dark hidey-hole, let him, close the draw-string and Bobs you uncle, Fanny’s your aunt! Snap your bag on a D ring and move on. Now that was the ideal extraction and it should take less than a minute!

In the final write up I will go through a few of the more embuggeration extraction techniques and dirty tricks that can be used to outwit the more cunning lobster!

Dive safe


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