Years ago, the State of Florida created a short sportsman season to allow recreational divers to catch lobsters before the commercial lobster season begins. Lobster mini season is a highly anticipated event every year. When the official mini season kicks off, the coastal areas of Florida are flooded with lobster hunters trying to get their share of the bounty. The mini season is always the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday in July. This year the mini season falls on July 26th and 27th. It begins at 12:01 am on Wednesday and ends at 12:00 midnight on Thursday. The regular 8 month lobster season is August 6 through March 31.There are several very important things to keep in mind before you go bug hunting. You will need to purchase a Recreational Saltwater Fishing License and a Lobster Permit. Licenses can be purchased at any county a tax collectors’ office, marinas, bait and tackle stores, and fishing equipment stores in Florida. You will need to know how to measure a lobster. A legal bug has a shell that covers its body length of 3 inches and weighs about 1 pound. Carapace length must EXCEED 3 inches in length, measured from the front edge of the carapace (between the rostral horns) to the rear edge of the carapace. Lobsters smaller than this are to "short" to take. You will also need to know how to identify an egg-bearing female. Female lobsters carry eggs (you will see them directly under the tail). An egg-bearing female is said to be “berried”. The "berries" start out orange but darken as the eggs mature. Under the regulations they must be released unharmed. During the lobster mini season, the bag limit is 6 per person per day in Monroe County and Biscayne National Park, and 12 per person per day in all other areas. During the regular season the recreational daily bag limit is 6 lobster per person in all areas.If you are planning on participating in the lobster mini-season, you will need some recreational gear such as mask, snorkel, fins, dive flag, tickle stick, catch bag, net or lobster looper, and gloves.Please visit http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/lobster/ for rules and regulations. Dive down and grab yourself a lobster!