Lobster diving is one of my favorite hobbies here in SoCal. It’s a fun and challenging experience, but it can also be frustrating, especially when you don’t have the right gear.
The most important thing to have is your lobster card, which you can get from Big 5 or any other sporting goods store.
After you get that, make sure you have a lobster gauge so you can release non-legal bugs. The rest of this article will go over the basic items you’ll need to catch lobsters by hand.
Below are the eight lobster diving gear essentials you’ll need to get started!
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8 Best Lobster Diving Gear Essentials for 2021
1. Lobster Gauge
- Total length: 5 inch
- Lobster: 3-1/4 , crab: 4 . For California
- Clip attached
One way to ensure a hassle-free lobster dive is to know the local fishing regulations. California Fish and Wildlife has set a size limit to your lobster catch. For your lobster to be legal, you need it to be at least three and ¼ inches long.
Fines are expensive. You won’t be able to get an accurate measurement with a ruler or other measuring device, so do yourself a favor and pick pu a lobster gauge. A few bucks here will save you hundreds in fines.
2. Lobster Bag
- The SpearPro Lobster Bag has quickly become one of our...
- The durable Poly Net and locking bungee system has made the...
- The belt fits securely around the waist and the rubber...
Lobster bags are a touchy subject as of late due to their risks. Some guys love them around their waste and others think it’s a horrible idea.
I recommend keeping your bag on your float if possible. If you don’t have a float and you want to wear it on your waste, then make sure you don’t bring a speargun so you can focus on the task at hand.
There are two styles that are common, a catch bag that has a metal handle and a lobstering bag that goes around your waste. It’s up to you to think through which is best for your needs.
3. Lobster Diving Gloves
- HUNT WITH CONFIDENCE: The Armortex palm and fingers provide...
- LIGHTWEIGHT: 0.5mm Neoprene with ARMORTEX Palm and Fingers....
- SIMPLE DESIGN: No Strap, No Velcro, nothing to go wrong when...
Spiny lobsters have formidable spines that can tear up your skin. You’ll want a set of gloves that are puncture resistent.
Protect your hands with one of the best lobster diving gloves on the market. I tend to only wear Dyneema gloves without any insulation.
4. Dive Flags and Buoys
- ✅MADE OF DURABLE NYLON. BRASS GROMMETS - Corners are...
- ✅MEETS STATE REGULATIONS - 20" by 24" with a stiffening...
- ✅COLLAPSIBLE STIFFENING POLE INCLUDED - Keeps flag fully...
In any lobster diving environment, you should always know that your safety is your top priority when fishing in the light of day or night. When diving in an area with a boat or a few thereof, it is always safe to mark your dive area.
Other divers and boaters will know and be aware of your presence under the water with a buoy or dive flags. Or, if you have a boat, make sure to put your flag on a pole for other boaters around to have a good view of it and know you are in that particular area.
It is important always to remember that safety is a must, and no lobster is worth the price of your life. If you’re diving a night, try to put some lights on your float and a glow-stick on your snorkel.
5. Lobster Diving Light
- Bright Torch: Super bright XPL- LED flashlight the maximum...
- Switch 5 Modes: High / Medium / Low / Strobe / SOS. The...
- Solid Durability: Made of high quality aluminum alloy...
Night diving requires light to hunt for lobsters. If you are under the water during the day to hunt for lobsters, you will most likely need a small light to help you see under rocks or in crevices.
When diving in California at night, the spiny lobster usually comes out of hiding, making them much easier to find.
Around 1000 lumens will work for most dives. Just make sure you have rechargeable batteries to cut down on waste.
I like to keep the flashlight band around my elbow so I can drop the light without it hitting the ground if I need two hands for something. They also make quick detach clips that are worth it so you can ditch your gear in a bind.
6. Lobster Diving Fins
- Long blade with full foot pocket system makes this a perfect...
- Interchangeable system that allows the diver to replace the...
- Very lightweight and reactive and also well-adapted for the...
Fins help you get a good performance underwater when hunting for lobsters. It propels you forward faster than your bare feet. Plastic fins are more than adequate since you’ll be diving close to structure. I wouldn’t go expensive on lobster fins.
7. Spearfishing Wetsuit
- Open Cell
- Anatomical Cuts
While diving at night during lobster season, the water temperature drops quite a bit. A 5mm wetsuit should be the bare minimum you consider.
I’ve dove for years with a 3mm and it does work. However, the loss of heat cuts down on your dive time and tires you out more. Don’t risk it, go thicker.
- 54 (137cm) long
- Can be adjusted by cutting to size
- Cam-lock buckle made with glass-filled nylon
You’ll need a weight belt to counter the buoyancy of the wetsuit. Just remember to not use too much that will cause you to sink. Check out our video on properly weighting yourself if you’re unsure.
Don’t forget to also get your weights in small size increments so you can adjust easier.
Ways to Catch Lobster in SoCal
If you want to know how to hoop net for some lobsters, check out our guide: How to Hoop Net for California Spiny Lobster.
Spearfishing and Freediving
Freediving for some California spiny is fun, but it isn’t as easy; check out our guide on How to Catch Pacific Lobster (California Spiny).
If you have a tank and the right gear, you can use scuba equipment to catch some of the bigger bugs that most freedivers can’t get.
Be sure to check the latest regulations before going after lobsters.
Try not to shine your flashlight directly on the bug. Keep the edge of the beam on it so you don’t spook it.
Try to pin the lobster down before closing your hands. A lot of times your fingers will too slow to get a firm grip before they use their tail to get away.
If you touch their antenna too early, they’ll bolt.
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