A Beginners Guide To Lobster Diving

By David Fialkoff •  Updated: 03/24/21 •  6 min read

Lobster diving is becoming more and more popular among underwater hunters, as you can catch a delicious dinner and have a blast while doing it. So let’s learn more about it!

What Do You Need For Lobster Diving?

It is essential to get the right equipment when going out for lobster, as it will make or break your lobster diving experience. Professional gear allows you to avoid troubles and spend more time hunting, so it is worth buying it. Now, let’s find out what diving equipment you will need when lobster diving.

The typical lobstering gear includes a tickle stick, a lobster gauge, lobster bags and nets, rubber gloves, freediving fins, mask, buoy and scuba flag, body weights, and a quality dive light. Depending on whether you are a scuba diver or a skin diver, a more specific gear may be required.

Lobster Nets and Bags

Lobster bags and lobster nets are two essential tools that can make the sport of lobstering much more enjoyable. There is no need for anything fancy here; even cheap aluminum nets and traditional dive bags would work great.

Lobster nets are quite similar to fishing ones. However, you need to be careful when using them. Lobsters can easily get out of the net, so it would be a good idea to trap them against the ground.

When it comes to lobster bags, it is worth choosing ones with circular one-way-opening or wide mouth nylon bags so that you can drop your lobster straight into it and go looking for more. Also, you need to ensure that the bag is made of puncture-resistant mesh and has a sturdy handle.

Lobster Tickle Sticks

As any lobster diver knows, getting a lobster out from tight places or underneath rocks can be extremely hard and tricky. For this reason, every professional lobster hunter has to be equipped with a tickle stick.

This tool is usually made of aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum sticks are lighter, so they can be a better option. Besides, there are two types of tickle sticks – straight and bent at the end. The straight ones are more comfortable to use since they will not get caught on the rocks when pulling them out.

Again, you don’t need anything expensive here, as even the simplest sticks will do the job just perfectly.

Lobster Gauges

A lobster gauge is one of the most crucial things you will need. If a lobster you caught doesn’t meet the length requirement, you are not allowed to take it out of the ocean.

It means you cannot measure lobster on the boat or onshore. For this reason, lobster divers usually use specific lobster gauges so that they can measure their lobster while in the water.

The length requirements, as well as other regulations like the daily bag limit, vary from state to state and from country to country. Therefore, different rules may apply at the same time. For instance, in Florida, to keep a lobster, it must be 3 inches or greater.

In California, you can keep a lobster only if its length is greater than 3.25 inches, measured from the rear edge of the body shell to the rear edge of the eye socket. You can find the needed information on your state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

How To Catch Lobster By Hand

Catching lobsters by hand is probably the most exciting way to catch them. You can do it at any point of the day during the “lobster season.” In the southeastern part of North America, it starts in August and runs through March.

Lobsters can be harvested year-round, but they are most active during the “lobster season.” Moreover, the water can be quite cold in winter, so you need to take it into account when planning your lobster diving schedule.

Catching lobster by hand is not that complicated. You need to put on your scuba or snorkeling gear and a pair of gloves and get in the water. Take a lobster net and a tickle stick and dive in, combing the ledges, corals, and rocky areas for lobster antennae.

Once you spot a lobster, guide it out of its hiding spot using your tickle stick. Next, catch it by your hands and put it into the net. Also, use a lobster gauge to ensure that the lobster’s length meets the government requirements.

Can You Scuba Dive For Lobster?

If you are wondering if you can scuba dive for lobster, the answer is yes! Still, you may need some specific scuba equipment for it. It must be puncture-resistant and sturdy enough since swimming too close to the sharp underwater rocks may be dangerous and often leads to damage to scuba gear.

You will also need typical lobster diving gear, such as gloves, lobster nets and bags, lobster gauges, and a tickle stick. Scuba diving is a much more effective way to catch lobster, comparing with snorkeling or skin diving. It allows you to stay underwater for hours so that you would have enough time to examine the bottom.

Can You Dive For Lobster At Night?

Lobsters are nocturnal animals, so the night is the best time to find them out in the open. However, you need to become comfortable diving in the dark before attempting to hunt at night. I would recommend taking a few night diving classes before diving for lobster.

Also, the night hunting process differs from the daylight lobstering. You need to hang several feet off the bottom and use broad sweeps of your light in your search for lobster. It allows you to minimize the chance of spooking them and, what is more important, to cover more ground. Covering as large an area as possible is a key to a successful hunt.

When you spot a lobster, approach from the rear and try to catch it. Be aware that they are really fast, and you need to be even faster if you do not want to come away empty-handed.


Lobster diving is an exciting way to spend your time underwater. However, it takes some practice. Don’t give up if you are having trouble at first – with a little time and luck you will quickly get the hang of it!

David Fialkoff

David Fialkoff is the founder of Spearfishing.Live, a site that's dedicated to the sport of spearfishing. He is a full-time digital marketer and loves to spend time chasing fish underwater on the weekends.