Catching Bugs, Island Style

Catalina Lobster

Photo courtesy of Afishinados

Catalina Island is all atwitter at the thought of catching bugs. Thousands of bugs will be caught over the next months by locals and visitors both young and old. These bugs will be grilled, sautéed or baked and then eaten with glee – and a little melted butter.

That’s right, lobster season is upon us and Avalon couldn’t be hungrier. Known affectionately as “bugs” by those who catch them, California’s spiny lobster are a bit different from their better known cousins in the Atlantic. Spiny lobsters lack the large claw characteristic of Maine lobsters. Not to worry though, spiny lobsters are still just as delicious. You’ll find these tasty denizens of the deep served up as the special in many local restaurants over the next several months or you can try your hand – or hoop – at catching your own.

Lobsters in California may only be caught by hand, which usually requires scuba gear, or via hoop net. Either way you’ll need to have a valid California fishing license, a lobster report card and a tool to measure the size of the lobster. Speaking of hoop nets, those are available on the island and are a simple way to catch supper. Simply bait the hoop (I suggest cat food – the stinkier the better, but some people prefer fish heads that have been left out to ripen) and then drop it into the ocean; the back side of the mole is a favorite spot or you could try the end of the pier.
There are any number of recipes for lobster: lobster macaroni and cheese, lobster alfredo or my favorite, grilled lobster with a little butter.

Just remember, any lobsters you catch must be at least 3.25 inches in a straight line on the mid-line of the back and you’re limited to seven lobsters per person, per day. Happy hunting.

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