SO I spent the weekend eating oysters, which was very exhausting. But I did have time to chat on the emails with the lovely Alison over at Fine Lobster, who not only loves lobster as much as we do, but is also engaged and allowed me to to freak out ask questions about how to plan a wedding.
Alison’s blog has some wonderful lobster content, and we’re gonna reprint a piece about WEST COAST lobster. This flavor lobster is completely foreign to us, sadly, so it’s good to get the 411.
Check it out!
California’s Channel Island Lobstering
It is hard to convince a New Englander there is a bug that a lobsterman can catch in warmer waters that rivals the Maine lobster. Many debates take place between foodies and fishermen alike, and in “Maine vs. Pacific Lobster,” we learn that some believe oversea demand drives up cost and diminishes supplies closer to home. Others think the best West Coast lobster comes out of Puerto Nuevo, Mexico, and often refer to it as ‘Crack Town’ for the lobster addict.
The truth is that spiny lobster is generally very similar to Maine lobster except they are from warmer waters such as California, Brazil and the Caribbean, have no claws, only the tail meat can be eaten and their shells have a different pattern. Many say the taste is much sweeter while others say they would never touch it, but strong opinions are held by all.
An ideal location to harvest spiny lobster is California, off the southern coast among the famous Channel Islands. While the northern most parts of the chain belong to the Channel Island National Park and are protected from commercial fishing, a few seasoned hunters who know this is a hot spot didn’t waste time getting out there to dive and hunt for their favorite crustacean.
For this year’s season opener, Foul Hole Divers certainly avoided the foul holes! In fact, it seems they hit a gold mine of huge bugs between 4 and 5 pounds a piece off San Miguel, one of the northern-most islands and the alleged final resting place for famous explorer Juan Cabrillo.
Beyond a hobby, Ted Fukumoto of Foul Hole is refining an art, the art of hunting combined with his love of the ocean. He organizes regular trips for small groups of less than 20, utilizing Santa Barbara’s Truth Aquaticsfleet and crew. Diving for lobster is quite different from what the lobstermen of New England are used to. No tools or equipment are allowed so one has to grab them by hand—a much safer endeavor since they do not have claws like their east coast cousins!
For the tourists, the most popular of all the islands in the chain is Santa Catalina, and this island’s land and water are famous for more than spiny lobster. The memories of one Catalina natives and regulars include the lobster season, as well as other critters that live on and around the island. The flying fish are not the only hazard to above-deck boaters because once on land one must also know how to avoid the wild boars!
For those seeking a new adventure and a new lobster, there are many diving companies that offer excursions throughout the spiny lobster season. However, don’t forget your gloves, booties and dry wet suit! While many think the waters off California are warm you might change your mind knowing the average temperatures top at 59 F for the season opener.
About Fine Lobster:
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