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Articles » Gear Reviews » Spearfishing Gear » The Best Lobster Diving Gear for Catching Bugs on a Budget

The Best Lobster Diving Gear for Catching Bugs on a Budget

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!

how to catch spiny lobster
Me with a few bugs after a night dive.

8 Best Lobster Diving Gear Essentials

1. Lobster Gauge

Scuba Diving Aluminum Crab and Lobster Gauge with Clip for California, 5"
  • 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

SpearPro Lobster Bag - One Handed Secure Locking Bungee and Poly Net System for Fish, Crayfish, and Shellfish
  • 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

AKONA Bug Hunter Gloves Designed for Lobster Hunting and Maximum Protection on Palm and Fingers.Cut, Puncture, and Abrasion Resistance - 2X-Large
  • 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

SeaGator Dive Flag for Scuba Diving Spearfishing Use with Float, Buoy, Boat, Pole Diver Down 20 x 24 in Florida Legal Removable Stiffening Pole Support Rod Easy to Use
  • ✅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

Genwiss Dive Light, Diving Flashlight Underwater Lights Scuba Diving Flashlight, 1000 Lumens Underwater 80M Flashlight for Diving Activities, Torch Light with Rechargeable Battery and USB Charge
  • 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

Cressi Gara Modular, Black, 42/43
  • 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

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.


8.Weight Belt

Riffe Rubber Weight Belt with Buckle for Freediving and Spearfishing
  • 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

Hoop netting

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

LOBSTERING IN CALIFORNIA: How to Catch Lobster by Hand [Catch & Cook]

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)

Scuba Diving

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.

Lobster Regulations

Be sure to check the latest regulations before going after lobsters.

Insider Advice

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.


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Sushmita Lo
Editor

Jon Stenstrom
Founder

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