View Full Version : early I know but... tell me about the mini season
bow tie klr
03-09-2004, 12:32 PM
Me and a few buddies are going to trailer my boat down to the Keys for the Mini season in july. Can someone give me some info about it? I have been lobster diving before. I just would like a lil info. We are looking to stay in Key Largo, Islamorada, or Marathon. Probably going to be Largo. I would like to find a place to stay that has a dock and is safe to stay at for a reasonable price. We will probably get down there the sat before and stay for a week and do some exploration diving. Wanna dive the Speigal Grove ( spend at least a day there), Christ in the Abyss and a few other places.
1. Where would you suggest staying? Where should we stay away from?
2. Where can I get some acurate gps numbers for these sites as well as other coral formations.
3. Is there a map that shows legal lobstering areas?
4. When diving the areas around the coral is there mooring buoys or do you use a sea ancore? We will probably dive in rotation so there will always be people on the boat if they haev to just drift over us.
5. Are there any dive site that are a must see from a local prospective.
6. Best local dive shops and ones to stay away from. We will probably be needing lots of air and nitrox fills.
Thanks for yalls help!!!
03-09-2004, 01:02 PM
I would suggest avoiding the Keys at all costs for miniseason. You'll likely do better north of Jupiter (all the way up to Daytona/Saint Augustine). The Keys is a ZOO during mini season. People have pulled guns, fistfights, etc.
Who needs that crap?
bow tie klr
03-09-2004, 01:42 PM
No kiddin. That stinks. hmmm that is why I wanted to go early to beat the crowd and do some spearfishing off shore and see the sights...
03-09-2004, 01:46 PM
Two lane road. 800 bazillion people. MPA's everywhere. FWC everywhere. Every reef, rock, and coral head with 9 boats on top of it. Long lines everywhere you go...... Need I go on?
The Keys are bad enough during regular season, but during mini season, you couldn't pay me to put up with all of that... well.... it depends on how much you paid me. :D
Go somewhere along the east coast north of Jupiter. You will have a much better time and you'll end up with bigger bugs and less headaches.
bow tie klr
03-09-2004, 02:00 PM
What is there to dive in that area? ANy wrecks, reefs, coral formations???
btw LOVE YOUR SIG!!!:D
03-09-2004, 04:33 PM
Add me to the list, I've been to the keys for mini-season and it's crazy. They even have road blocks set up to search your vehicle and boat, and the cops are not in a talkative mood at all. Mini-season is the biggest event of the keys for the entire year. If you don't have a hotel room by now, all you'll get is crap locations along with high prices.
Hit West Palm for a diverse selection of good reefs, wrecks, and bugs. Lots of places to stay and not expensive if you plan ahead
Try it for yourself then decide.
There's alot of boats on the water, resturants are packed, roads congested, law inforcement officials are out, and the bugs are smaller,but...........
We limit out every year (you do have to work at it), the time spent waiting for a table at dinner is time spent with family, a little pre-planning helps you avoid the really bad traffic and we haven't been stopped by the officials...yet (which wouldn't matter if you abide by the law, would it?), we have yet to be shot at or even yelled at for that matter..........about the small bugs, not much you can do about that.
Then again I work in Tampa so dealing with a zoo is par for the course for me.
03-09-2004, 05:32 PM
Go to any remotely well-known reef in the Keys and it will be picked clean within an hour of sunrise.
Unless you have spots and know exactly where you want to dive, I wouldn't bother with mini-season. It truly is a total zoo.
bow tie klr
03-10-2004, 09:37 AM
I plan on doing diving from sunday to friday. SO I am sure I will scout a few places. How about ancoreing up? are there mooring buoys??? or how do you do it there???
03-10-2004, 09:46 AM
There are no Mooring buoy's except in Pennekamp park(no hunting) and on the wrecks. Everything is a drift and you need a person on the boat to follow you. You most likely will drift into another group since it's that crowded. Dive flags are a wise idea let alone the law, put a reef hook on the end of it also.
Did you find a place with a slip or are you pulling it each day. The ramps are where most of the good fist fights start.
bow tie klr
03-10-2004, 10:13 AM
I am looking for a slip. I dont want the headaces of pulling every day. and to miss the headaces I can pull it out at 3 in the morning before I head home.
Oh yea dive flag is no problem.. also will have someone in the boat to catch us... just rotate dive turns. haha
03-10-2004, 10:21 AM
We were able to find a nice house in Tavernier (south of Largo). You will also find a lot of cattle boats running theyr charters around the Pennekamp area. If you are sight seing you might be better off going with one of those charters it's only 20 dollars. Check my post "spearfishing in tavernier" you'll find some more info on rules and reefs that are off limits. Good luck
03-10-2004, 08:21 PM
Do a search on Tavernier or Key Largo on this site and you will find all the dockside hotel no tell info that you are looking for. Mini season is crazy and worth trying once. The good lobster are further up the coast past WPB as everyone from that area will not tell you:D Enjoy the trip and let us know how it goes.
03-11-2004, 09:46 AM
srew miniseason in the keys, S.P.O.R.E.S. are everywhere, the majority of the peolple have no clue what the hell they are doing, and half of those people are drunk and dangerous, just stay away from the keys durring the miniseason everybody!!
03-11-2004, 02:01 PM
i disagree...the keys is jammed, but the offshore reefs aint that packed...most people go to the bridges or to the gulf side...
in summerland key, our spot we use to freedive spearfish in 25 to 30 fsw only had a boat or two on it...we easily limited out both days...but liked to spearfish more...
if you look under some ledges the lobster will be stacked on top of each other, or some hid by not sitting on the actual sea floor but by hiding right under the actual ledge sitting upside down...
i had lots of fun..but dont even bother with the inshore inshore stuff...
from the sea
03-12-2004, 07:38 AM
the place is a zoo and most that come down dont know any thing about ethics and take every thing they see but it is a good place to dive if you come down stay away from the bridges and the chanles. and use a big dive flag, the minimum size requirements on flags is 24"x 24"
03-12-2004, 10:52 AM
The Keys are crazy during mini-season. Plus your bag limit in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park are only six bugs per day. During mini-season it's twelve bugs per day anywhere else in Florida. That's reason enough for me to try other places a little North. I believe in conservation But the keys are a long drive for 6 bugs a day, especially when you can get 12 at closer places. Hey its only two days a year.
03-13-2004, 10:03 PM
For us in Maryland, [ Bum*****Eygpt ] Keys Mini season in Key West is Ground ZERO for party maximus . We have time share @ Galleon and take our Boat. Great diving for us yankees, Lots of spearfishing[ grouper,snapper,hogs], BUG limits by 10 AM, Nice 1-2 lb bugs you dont even need to ga. So many bugs last yr you could pass over minimum keepers & get the meaty ones. I think we vac packed & froze about 180 lbs of fish filets to take home.Plus you're diving in the Keys & get to see the incredible undersea life.
A whole lot of nice looking Chicks in bikinis everywhere as its too hot then for bluehairs. Lots of beer.
We love it, but bring 2 or 3 VISA cards.
Pix is Team MOTLEY CREW 2003 opening day, wed of mini season
03-14-2004, 05:46 AM
From the sea , I just noticed your Tequila poster.. Thats a riot, it really cracked me up. WADE
03-14-2004, 03:32 PM
I have been going to the Keys for Mini Season for quite a few years. The lobsters are abundant and we love the clear water.
We think Mini had such a bad reputation that many epople stopped coming so now it does not seem too crowded.
I'm not sure about Key Largo but there are lots of hotels in Islamorada that offer dockage and many have kitchens.
The bay has not been very productive lately so try any patch reefes in 20-40'. If you go early you can spearfish while looking for some good patches...sometimes the smaller the better. We stay away from all major reefs.
I have never been yelled at, shot at, run over or attacked but I have had lots of good times. We usually bring our catch to a local restaraunt and have them cook it for us.
So plan ahead, go early and have a good time.
03-14-2004, 07:15 PM
last year went to duck key during mini season and on the first day i think we got around 30-40 bugs and stopped at 1 or so. but the second day we only got 10-15 mainly because alot of people went bully netting during the night. but it was crowded but not over abundant. but we went to key largo during the season and got quite a few nice sized ones but theres a marina/hotel near jewfish bridge, we werent staying there though, but it looked nice.
03-15-2004, 07:02 PM
Went for mini last year for the first time. Usually go for regular, but got use of a time share with a slip for $350 for the week. (Not available again:( )
Dove wrecks, speared, caught Mahi,went on protected reefs to sightsee, dove and ate great dinner with Keyspearfisher. Man what a great week.
We stayed on Marathon. Got our limit of lobs on opening day by 8:30 am. Second day by 10:30.
Dove wrecks and reefs in Key west with vis top to bottom @ 90 feet. Dove a wreck with Navy seals in training :p
Fishkilla, Intowin, Possibly Diverdave and others are going again this year with me. Sorry, our place is full. But keep in touch and we'll hook up on some wrecks and reefs.
As far as crowds, they didn't seem bad. Just take it easy mon!
bow tie klr
03-18-2004, 09:49 AM
Thanks for all the info and opinions guys... It sounds like it is one of those things you haev to do at least once... So does any one know of any decent time shares in that area for that week for a good price with a boat slip? Im not asking too much am I :D:D heheh
03-18-2004, 10:16 AM
as a keys resident...
keep the discouraging comments coming...that way maybe less crazies will come down :D
i hate mini cause so many people use their kids as a "person" on the boat solely to collect more bugs. and they limit out for 6 people in an hour, run back to the hotel, unload...then go out again...
it's a slaughter and downright exploitation of resources....:mad:
and sometimes it's just a contest as to who can limit out fastest.
that's all i have to say about that....
from the sea
03-19-2004, 08:40 PM
yes true true the keys are getting raped royally durin minni season
What would be the difference if they did away with mini-season and all those folks showed up for the opening 2 days of the regular season? Which would be on a Fri & Sat this season, resulting in possibly more boats on the water, assuming some folks can't get off of work in the middle of the week. Same bag limit so where's the logic?
03-23-2004, 06:48 AM
oh don't get me wrong on this...i'm not saying i have the end-all-be-all answer to it.
you are very right, but the thing about it is that it has gotten so huge, that it's out of hand.
and that opening day would also include the trap fishermen being able to pull traps, so they would actually be able to make a living for a change. most of them will tell you that they have trouble making the profit in a year equal to what they use to make in a month.
one thing i would really like to see is a "mini-season lobster stamp", good for those 2 days only. just to get an idea of how many people are pulling bugs those 2 days. the added revenue, say $5, would go towards management and enforcement of laws.
03-23-2004, 02:17 PM
You get there before on sunday and have a couple of days to scout out youll do ok.Lot of people but it is fun with friends
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to be an "arse" about this topic and you (being a biologist) is probably the last person I should strike up a debate with.
The statement that the trappers only make as much in a year as they used to in a month sounds as as if maybe they have helped in lowering the lobster #'s.
2 days is 2 days whether mini-season or regular. Is it that most of the backlash is from the locals and trappers. I've heard some say the locals dislike the traffic and such but what's the difference between that time of year and say spring break, labor day weekend, memorial weekend, etc.?
With all the "this is ours and you should leave" mentality lately it's a shame it has to be that way. Look at the situation between the live baiters and artificial guys down at Boca Grande. Who's right/wrong (neither).
I have never ever been against raising fees and permiting (within reasonable limits) to benifit wildlife and fisheries. As far as quotas, ok, if they were done fairly, but look at the situation with the hunting quotas. If you have 50 relatives, who don't hunt, and your willing to fork out the $ for a permit for them, you have a good chance of getting a bunch of picks, knowing you aren't going there but you can use them for trades. While the other guy can't get picked to save his life. Why? 'cuz they're tranferrable and if the FWC stopped that they loose that $. So it continues.....
Enough of my rambling....I don't have the answers either and the ones we come up with everyone wouldn't agree to anyway.
JMO don't take it personal
03-23-2004, 05:43 PM
In terms solely of # of bugs harvested Whats the difference between divers taking bugs @ mini season or traps taking them opening wk to sell to us to eat ?
Im sure trappers would harvest those bugs ASAP so Im not sure any less bugs would escape w/out miniseason. After Aug 6 it looks like you could walk on pot bouys from Key West to Marquesas.
Im aware us tourists to the Keys upset everyday life but we do provide significant cash infusion to help w/ the economics . A lot of people make $ on mini season & Lobster Fest on Duval st which has to help at least in Hurricane yrs. I have seen the lobs crated in to Duval st Lobster fest by the seemingly thousands from commercial Lobster harvesters so I know they are benefiting also from us Divers being in the KEYS.
03-24-2004, 08:00 AM
good opinions guys...this is a good discussion...lets make sure to keep it civil
even though i am a biologist, i am not in the politics of how things are handled...i just love the research....
i agree that mini-season and tourism is a major financial influx for the keys (and ohter areas), but i think my major arguement is that the way in which they carry themselves when down here.
poor ramp ettiquet, reckless boat handeling, unlawfull collection...things like that.
packing 3 adults and 5 kids (none of which are collecting bugs, BUT ALL HAVE PERMITS)...next thing you know you have 48 bugs...then after they stop buy the car or the hotel...they go collect 48 more..
i guess what i'm saying is there needs to be more enforcement, and the only way to do that is to get more funds. that is why i like the idea of a special "mini-season stamp".
another thing that i feel is that trappers are more concious of rules and regs, since they have their livelyhood to worry about. this goes for sizes, numbers, stealing, and the like. they risk losing their boat and all their trap licences.
where a tourist generally only has to worry about some fines, and they have the advantage of the enforcement being stretched thin, and not having to worry about selling small tails...they can catch some and just cook them up that nite...possibly nobody knowing about it.
03-24-2004, 04:36 PM
Enforcement??? Talk about squandered tax dollars!!!
Education is the way, when kids & divers are exposed to Bug life cycle and drilled on how important it is for bugs to make more Bugs before you eat them , that may help.
Where do all the short tails come from I see served so many times in restaurants. Are all of us tourists selling these shorts? Reality Check Here.
With out a doubt too many people pull Asshole @ ramps etc. So I do agree w/ you on something.
The volume of traps I see in Key West leads me to believe that if the Griswalds miss any bugs ,stragglers will be traped & sold tomorrow. Theres no doubt about this, proofs in the gazillion traps in the water.
Last yr in KW @ miniseason Coast guard came out and Boarded EVERY dive boat in the gulf. I was there.Lots of boats got lots of tickets[ Branch Office didnt get fined as our limit was all nice fat bugs. ] They checked us all. So why in the world are you thinking of more enforcement???
from the sea
03-25-2004, 02:15 PM
most of the shorts sold in restaurants are imported from overseas. you are right we need more education for the public, but there also needs to be more enforcement, just becuse one spot has a lot of fwc does not mean that other spots do, kw is a high trafic location so they do have lots of law enforcement down there but if you go near big pine and the middle keys the fwc is not nearly as thick making it easer to get away with stuff.
bow tie klr
03-29-2004, 11:57 AM
I dont want to ghet away with anything. I just want an enjoyable time on the water...
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