Bay / Harbor Jumbo Lobster Long Beach Harbor 10/6

Dec 13, 2015
Irvine, California
float tube
Took the dinghy out with my brother and our friend Wednesday night for the first lobster trip of the season, shoved off around 7pm. We originally wanted to try Dana, but the oil spill closure forced us to try up north. We were running 10 lay-flat hoops to start; 4 of these had seal-proof bait tubes that I made, while 6 had standard wire cages. We rode on the San Diego on Sunday and did pretty well on the tuna, so bait was pieces of tuna carcasses and bloodlines, as well as some frozen sardines. Our bait was still fairly frozen so it took a little over an hour to bait up and drop all of the hoops.

When we checked our first set, 5/6 of the hoops with wire cages had little or no bait in them. We eventually saw a sea lion surface and realized we were getting picked. The cages weren't crushed, but I wonder if they shook the tuna chunks out or blew them out somehow? There were at least 2 sea lions in the area, so we packed it up and moved across the harbor.

We dropped our remaining 5 hoops in a new area on some rock piles we've tried in the past. First set was empty, but the second set had a very nice legal lobster in it, with its carapace a little over 4". I believe this was bigger than anything we caught in our first season last year.

The next set was empty as well, so we moved some hoops around, keeping a couple on the spot where we caught our first lobster. That turned out to be a good idea. We came back and pulled the hoops, and the first one felt heavy. Once the hoop came into view we could see a shape taking up the entire diameter of our net. It took a few seconds to process that it was a lobster, and it was a dinosaur.

None of us had ever seen a lobster remotely this big, not even in the Long Beach aquarium. Our home scale weighed him in at 8.5 lbs. We did contemplate releasing him, but since we wanted our friend to take home the first lobster and this one was a male, we decided to keep him, although he barely fit in the cooler. Both our lobsters came off a small rockpile in fairly shallow water, probably 20-25 feet. The tail on the lobster was huge, and even the legs had tons of meat in them. Didn't have the quantity and didn't catch any shorts, but the quality was definitely there, and a great way to start the season.