Keys 2015

Every year my family makes a trip to the Florida Keys to do some Ocean Hunting. We do spear fishing as well as traditional fishing and lobstering.20150807_16265520150727_163855 20150727_163927 20150729_134013

The last Wed/Thurs of July is what is Lobster "Mini Season." It's a two day "teaser" to the opening of regular lobster season, which is in August. 20150729_132940

Although every year is fantastic, this year was particularly special. My 3 daughters are starting to get to the ages where they can fish and diving with us. I was able to take my 7 and 6 years old out into open water, free diving with me. They were thrilled to experience all of the life that the ocean has to offer. They helped spot Hogfish and Lobster. We had "teams." Mommy's team and Daddy's team. Of course Mommy's team speared the big fish! They learn so much. They don't fear the ocean. They know and respect that we go out, catch our dinner, clean it, cook it and enjoy it. They are in touch with where their food comes from.

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We were lucky this year. We caught tons of lobster and fishing was great! I made a list of all of the ocean life/fish that we caught and/or harvested and I count at least 20. Some we let go if we couldn't use it, others we ate or used for bait. We saw and experienced many more, but some we don't eat or they are illegal to catch/harvest, so I didn't count those.

Here is my list:

  1. Ladyfish
  2. Houndfish
  3. Mangrove Snapper
  4. Yellowtail Snapper
  5. Dolphin (often called Mahi or Dorado)
  6. Stingray
  7. Hogfish (my personal favorite to eat!)
  8. Grunt
  9. Pinfish
  10. Lobster
  11. Crab
  12. Catfish
  13. Rockfish
  14. Grouper (Red)
  15. Grouper (Gag)
  16. Lionfish
  17. Balihoo
  18. Angelfish
  19. Horse Conch
  20. Blue Runner
  21. Bonita
  22. Lane Snapper
  23. Mutton Snapper
  24. BlowFish

Each year I notice something a little different about the ocean or the life within it. This year I noticed two distinct things. First, was that there were many more Queen Conch on reef than I have seen in years. They have been protected since the early 90s and this is the first year I have seen a significant increase in numbers while diving. It is a welcome sight. Secondly, I noticed a specific behavioral change in some of the large Hogfish we were after. Typically when diving for Grouper they will hide in a hole or under a rock if they spot you. Before this year I hadn't ever seen a Hogfish display this same behavior. So Interesting! As usual though, they then still just stopped and stared at me...almost asking me to spear it. Well, I did. thank you Mr Hogfish. You were Delish!20150806_175758

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