This Week, Lido; Next Week, Lobsters!

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Ahoy!

The 33rd Annual Lido Yacht Expo is in full swing and vessels look great in the water this year. This is the biggest show west of the Mississippi, where will you see a collection this large of the latest big yachts, and you will have the rare opportunity to step aboard these boats. At the show, you can see the new 2012 models, along with ocean-tested brokerage powerboats and sailboats that come already equipped with more amenities then in my house

The show is at the Lido Marina Village, and you only have this weekend to visit the Lido Yacht Expo. Remember, there is free parking and a shuttle service this Saturday and Sunday from the Hoag Health Center on Superior Avenue. The remaining show hours are today until 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and free for children 12 and younger. You can go to www.boathousetv.com or www.lidoyachtexpo.com for more information.

Our local lobster season begins next weekend on Oct. 1, and I cannot wait to savor the lobsters as I love to eat Panulirus interruptus, which is the species of clawless lobster in our coastal waters. The California spiny lobster season will end on at midnight on the first Wednesday after March 15, or March 21, 2012, in the current case.

Before you head out lobster hunting, I have an overview of the regulations – and remember that there are different regulations for the commercial guys.

First, make sure that you have a current fishing license, the lobster report card, and your gauge. Remember, that you may only catch lobsters by hand or a hoop net, and the minimum size is 3 ¼ inches measured in a straight line on the midline of the back from the rear edge of the eye socket to the rear edge of the body shell. You can bring a lobster to the surface for measuring, but by no means can an undersize lobster be brought aboard any boat. Thus, you must measure immediately, and all shorties (the term for undersize lobsters) must be released immediately into the water.

Also keep in mind that the recreational fisherman may not use any traps to capture lobster. You can only use your hands or a hoop net. If you catch a lobster by a hook while fishing then you must return the bug to the water immediately. Additionally, California Fish and Game Code Section 5508 states, “It is unlawful to possess on any boat or bring ashore any fish upon which a size or weight limit is prescribed in such a condition that the size or weight cannot be determined. Separating the tail from the carapace (body) makes it impossible to determine if the lobster was of legal size, so the animal must remain whole until you are ready to cook it. If cooking for immediate consumption while at sea, retain the carapace until the tail is consumed.”

If you use hoop nets off a boat then only five baited hoop nets may used per person, and no more than 10 baited hoop nets may be used off of any one vessel. The daily bag and possession is seven lobsters per person. State Fish and Game has a very helpful lobster information card at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/lobster.asp

Tip of week is that when lobster season arrives boaters need to be careful transiting the harbor entrance. Lying just outside the jetties are many lobster traps with their marker buoys floating on the surface. Also, up and down the coast there will be marker buoys, most likely within a couple miles of the shoreline. I recommend navigating a straight course from Newport Entrance Mo Buoy to the jetties and not trying to cut the corners, especially in the dusk or dark. Wrapping a lobster trap line around your propeller can actually break some shafts, and the line can damage transmissions.

If you do wrap a line, first try reversing that prop slowly, and if you lose your engine(s) then be prepared to drop your anchor and set the hook to prevent your vessel from drifting ashore. Lastly, after a storm or heavy seas some of the traps may drift directly in front of the jetty so keep a good lookout, as I am sure you always do.

And don’t forget: Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, Capt. Mike Whitehead’s Boathouse Radio Show, broadcasting coast-to-coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network every Saturday at noon, Pacific Time and replayed on Sunday at 10 am Pacific. Join Chandler Bell, Craig Carpenter, and me as we talk about “all things boating.” You can find the station listings, cable TV channels, live streaming on the Internet, and now available are apps to listen to the show for your iPhone, Blackberry, iTouch, Android, Palm, and Windows Mobile at www.BoathouseTV.com or www.BoathouseRadio.com.

Until next week, Safe Voyages!

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